18 Mar 2009

Walls Have Tails

WHILST ARCHITECTURALLY arresting (most things seem to be made out of squares) Zaragoza must be Spain’s quietest city. It certainly lacks the culinary invention and refinement said to swathe the country. A place for religious rather then plate pilgrims. But that was fine with me. Following the traumatic, far from food meal at 'The Fat Duck' (coming soon), I craved cool cerveza and rustic cooking, preferably a la counter top.
Curiously, an actually filthy waiter at a market café brought our best lunch. Whilst scraping a crust off cutlery and trying hard not to engage with regulars who were clearly also regulars to the pre-lunch bottle, I reassured myself that the grand, station like food market was within sight. Three courses – paella, pummeled onglet and (packeted) crème brûlée - cost fewer then 10 Euros, including a perky bottle of the local Macabeo and a malty espresso.
As locals waved hankies and empty bags in support, my girlfriend cried at a bullfight, deciding that matadors murder to assert their cojones. An encore of tears flooded her face when we eventually left the ring by the gate overlooking the abattoir, where bull number six was stabbed again and strung on a hook.

On our fourth and final night a distressing aroma wafted from the bedstead. With tannin painted teeth, I attempted to enlighten the concierge in stilted (slurring) Spanish of our convinction that there was a dead rat lodged inside the wall. As we grabbed bags to move rooms, it turned out that the mal odor de rato muerto came from a bag of decomposing shells which my girlfriend had taken as souvenir from our first meal after landing...

Pictured, with all the talk of the M&S 75p jam sandwich, here is my contribition. This shabby rather than chic styrofoam style version had implants of silicon ham and plastic cheese - touch and go, sampled at Zaragoza airport.

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