Monday, May 14, 2012

About Anchovies and After-Dinner Drinks

CHEF GONZALO.
San Geraldo and I went back to Catalina today for lunch. This time, Teré met us and we sauntered over together in the 100F (38C) sunshine. Teré knows Gonzalo from her restaurant but didn't know he had a restaurant of his own.

Teré, you may remember, is from a small pueblo (Conil de la Frontera) on the Atlantic and absolutely loves any kind of seafood. (Remember those little shrimps she devoured, shells and all.) But she has always hated anchovies. I told her we hated anchovies, too, and that if there was ever the possibility that she might like anchovies, the ones made by Gonzalo at Catalina would be those. At least I think that's what I said. I speak to Teré almost entirely in Spanish. She lets me know when I make a major gaff or am unintelligible, but I know she lets quite a bit slide, simply translating me on the fly as well as she can (kind of what I do with San Geraldo when he speaks English).

We had another exceptional meal at Catalina and Teré agreed that she had never known an anchovy could taste so good — not salty, not oily, just delicious. Another convert thanks to Gonzalo's anchovies!

PIMIENTOS Y ANCHOAS DEL CANTÁBRICO. DELICIOUS. TRUST ME

Now, you may be expecting, from the title of this post, that we also had after-dinner drinks. We did not. That just brings me round to another gaff. On our way home from Catalina, we bumped into a friend of Teré's, someone she has sung with professionally many times. His name is Juan and I'm sorry I didn't take a picture (but Jerry is starting to give me "the look" because I can't go 5 minutes without whipping out my camera).

Anyway, Juan was charming and warm and had joyful energy. He speaks a little English and we were joking about our gaffs in each other's languages. Jerry commented that he simply says "sí" to everything, which is how, although he doesn't drink he was almost served an after-dinner drink our second night in Spain when the bartender kindly offered to buy us two "chupitos" (shots of alcohol, in this case after-dinner liqueur). I offered the story in Spanish to Juan and said, "At the question, 'Chupitos?' Jerry said, "Sí!"

That was supposed to be the funny part of my story... and it was. However, if you change the "o" in chupito to an "a" (which is what I did), you change an after-dinner drink to something entirely different.  Juan burst out laughing and mimed it for me by way of explanation. If you know that "chupa" is lollypop, you might get the picture. It's something that could occur with one person under the table or simply on their knees... if you get my drift. Good. You got my drift. I will not mime it for you.

The problem is, I have told that story several times since we've been here. And I'm pretty sure, I have swapped the "o" for an "a" on at least a few occasions. I'm also pretty sure those were the times no one laughed at my story. Thank you, Juan, for saving me further embarrassment.

24 comments:

  1. Good story. The land mine language expert, Mitch. LOL. I am sure I would make far more blunders myself. Although I am not a friend of Anchovies my partner is, so I would let him have mine.

    Scott

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    1. Scott:
      I figure the braver you are with using a language, the more blunders you will make. And I've become very brave here. When you next get to Sevilla, you have to go to Catalina and try this anchovy dish. It is worth one last try. If you don't like these, then you never have to try another. Like I said, trust me...

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  2. Chef Gonzalo is a fine looking gentleman!

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  3. Mitch: Have you tried your café "premiado" con Anís del Mono? The best is to get it into the espresso after a meal.

    Just sayin'

    saludos,
    raulito

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    Replies
    1. Raulito:
      I haven't tried that, but it sure sounds good. Soon!

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  4. Also, have you acquired a taste for "Tio Pepe" Jerez as cold as you can get it?

    That can also be addictive, as if churros con chocolate wasn't enough...lol

    saludos,
    raulito

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    Replies
    1. Raulito:
      I have definitely acquired a taste for jerez (vino dulce). Teré steered me to Gaditano with the Gonazalez Byass label (the company that also bottles Tio Pepe). So good and I think even more addictive for me than churros u chocolate.

      Delete
  5. That was funny! You did it again Mitch!
    Those anchovies look delicious. I would have no problemo or would that be problema(?) eating those! I always thought that Catolina was the 'island of romance'!

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    1. Jim:
      Catalina is now the restaurant of romance (or the restaurant I'm having a love affair with).

      It's problema (but masculine... just to confuse me). I actually now crave those anchovies. Pretty amazing since there was probably no food I disliked more (except maybe beets... no anchovies were still the worst).

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  6. I'll add my voice to the chorus--that is one handsome chef!

    I don't think I'll ever hear the Chordettes' recording of "Lollipop" without a fond remembrance of your story. :)

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    1. Michelle:
      I wish I could get a good photo of Gonzalo, but I don't want to drive him crazy snapping away. My photos have not done him justice. He's what you would call "muy guapo."

      My boy lollipop, he makes my heart go giddyup...

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  7. I can't believe how late you eat dinner! Is that common practice? I'm wondering when you retire for the night after eating. Ah, I remember the Chordettes on the radio years ago. Recently their big hit song "Mr. Sandman" has been heard on a TV commercial. (Everything old is new again.)

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    1. Ms. Sparrow:
      Oh, Midwesterners have a really difficult time adjusting to the Spanish dinner hour. In summer, 10 pm is standard; in winter as early as 9. Dos de Mayo (the tapas bar downstairs) is open for lunch, closes for siesta, and then doesn't reopen for dinner until 8:30 (and that's very common).

      Now I have "Mr. Sandman" playing in my head... and I love it!

      Delete
  8. I love anchovies. That looks yum and Chef Gonzalo doesn't look too shabby either.

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    1. Nubian:
      Oh, I think Gonzalo could make anything taste good!

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  9. I don't see why one can't have both after dinner.

    :)

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    1. Theaterdog:
      I figured you'd feel that way (and I agree), but you probably won't be offered both by a friendly bartender (well... then again...). So good to see you back. Have missed hearing from you. Hope all is well.

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  10. Hello Mitch:
    Well, we love anchovies but Gonzalo's creations look as if they have raised the humble anchovy to another level. We are sure that the Pimento and Anchovy combination tasted absolutely delicious, but the colours look so wonderful together....good enough to eat, certainly.

    Your Spanglish does seem to be coming on at a pace but some of the mix-ups are somewhat alarming. Perhaps best for now to reserve your language skills for friends.....!!!

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    1. J&L:
      Each thing we were served was a work of art. The strength of the peppers and sauce (whatever the sauce was) are a perfect complement for the anchovies. If you already love anchovies, you will adore these.

      What I need to do is stop trying to tell stories in Spanish to people I don't know very well and instead just stick to simple conversation. (But, I love telling stories and just get carried away.)

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  11. Poor San Geraldo - George knows how he feels about the constant photography!
    The food looks ambrosial and chef looks rather handsome. 38C? We were shivering at 10C the day before yesterday. There must be a happy medium somewhere.

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  12. Elaine:
    San Geraldo should be grateful I'm not always telling him to pose for the pictures. Chef Gonzalo is even better in person. It's supposed to get up to 39 today and tomorrow. Then drops considerably back to normal Thursday to 31 and Friday to 25. 10? 10? In May? THAT"S why the UK wasn't on our list of places to live!

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