15 February 2013

Valentine Dinner at Restaurante Rayuela

We chose the special menu for two at a tiny place near us in Alcala de Henares, Spain. It was classic but gourmeted up Spanish cuisine. Each plate was decorated with sauces in the shape of a heart. This was really yummy sauces in a place where sauce is rare so it was fun.

Shrimp on a stick fried in a shredded pastry like this but not sweet. I don't know what it's called.

Croquet de Jamon, homemade. It is a dried ham and bechamel sauce coated and fried. You can get these at nearly every restaurant in Spain but the homemade ones are best.

A little taste of the USA. Quesedilla of ground beef and a rich creamy melted cheese.

Salad: I can't remember all the Spanish words. It was goat cheese somehow toasted or carmelized on one side, tomato compote, mixed greens and raddichio (also unusual in a salad in the common places here), pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, and delightful mix of basalmic vinegar gel and other vinegars and oils and something slightly sweet. The flavor mix was really good.

First Course
Gula, gambas, y trigueros. That is baby eels (not real ones but think fake crab sticks), shrimp, and green asparagus, in a creamy sauce, sort of like a pasta with a sauce on it only baby eel sqigglies instead of spaghetti. This was some advanced eating for me.

Main Courses (yes there were two!)
Chiperones and yummy sauces. Here's a picture in case I can't explain. It's a tiny relative of the squid. The leggie bits have the ink in them and are a stronger flavor. Not my favorite bits. But the tiny meat steaks of the bodies were grilled and the Spanish prepare them so well. They are a common food here.

The next plate was a lovely plate of aged beef, a bit of gristly cut but again grilled very nicely with crunchy bits of sea salt on it. Very tasty and done what to me was pretty rare but that's what they call medium here "a punto" at the point of being cooked. It came with a tiny decorative dollop of mashed potatoes.

For dessert we had a rich gooey brownie with nuts and a scoop of homemade vanilla bean and I think amaretto ice cream.

Keep in mind each of these was a single plate that we shared but I assure you we did not go hungry at all. It was typical type of foods of Spain but dressed up. I understand that a more gourmet approach is coming en vogue here aand I think this was a taste of it but right here in our own corner of Madrid without going downtown.

1 comment:

  1. That sounds tasty! I have to say that I'd be a little unnerved with the fact that it appears the entire squid-like animal is presented whole rather than being modified (chopped, maybe?) in some way.

    Is Valentine's Day treated similarly in Spain as it is in the US?