Monday, 9 September 2013

Caliente Carihuela

August is the time for holidays in Southern Europe. And Southern Spain in August is muy caliente. To a point that even locals take notes from the style usually favoured by the English tourists, who seem to believe clothing is optional. So even the Spaniards are walking around wearing nothing but fluorescent yellow Speedos. Sixpack or not - that's not a good look.

Even the artists behind all those sand sculptures by the paseos, beachside boulevards are dreaming of snow. Some of sand castles come with their own pool. Which in this weather is pretty much a necessity.

Exhausted by the heat we sought solace in Carihuela, in the restaurant you too know already. Relief came in this bottle, a Barbadillo white wine from Cadiz. Cadiz is, in addition to being the most important port in Spain, also the gate to the sherry country. This grape, Palomino, is the grape used for making that very drink.

The lunch itself consisted of wonderfully garlicky marinated peppers...

...and carpaccios. First up was cod, the texture of which was lovely: so meaty and chewy. The mushy tomatos gave the dish just the right amount of acidity.

Octopus carpaccio on the other hand could have used a bit more citrusy acidity. The pulpo itself was excellent and after a bit of industrial espionage with the assistance of our lovely waiter I can't wait to try this at home!

Fabe con almejas, clams with beans sounded like a strange combination at first, but worked. Without a doubt it had to do with the tomato sauce it came in, which had similar lovely, rich oceaniness to their zarzuela. The potatos though were pointless.

Food here is always good. And the restaurant is always full. This is the kitchen where Paco and the rest make the magic happen.

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