Today I had an amazing meal, made even better by the fact that it was a crazy good value; although maybe made a bit worse by my proximal seating to the dozens of cured pig legs/butts hanging from the ceiling by their peeling hooves.
Online last night, I read about a lunch place near the marina ports on the sea that offers a 6.50 Euro meal that comes with beer, appetizer, and dessert--awesome deal. In my few days here I've failed several times trying to locate Fodor's or online review legends, and this one sounded too special to miss. I bought a really expensive map today to secure my success. My dumb-ass philosophy is that the more you pay, the happier you'll be with the item! :D Stores like me, but Future Me doesn't. Anyways, in keeping with the harsh lessons of reason, the fancy map failed me and I wandered for an hour through fishy-smelling mini-streets until I finally was so hungry that I decided I'd settle on the next door that offered beer with lunch. The place I ended up going into had a much busier atmosphere than I've seen yet here, which I liked. It was also really crowded with working locals on their (long) breaks, so I knew that must be a good sign.
It was. I ate a five-course meal, for 10 Euros:
1. Cold beer that refilled itself throughout the meal. Fresh, crispy bread with olive oil and smushed tomato (simple and delicious--it's Spain's version of our bread baskets). Homemade cured ham (hard to stomach as I looked at the unfilled hooks on the ceiling, picturing them choppin' down one of the pig butts on the occupied hooks and slicin' it up to throw on my plate.)
2. A huge plate, and I mean huge, of cooked spinach mixed with occasional homemade white raisins and a pine-nutty-type soft nut/seed.
3. TWO lean, grilled fish (still with heads, eyes, scales, and spines, of course) which tasted light and delicious with lemon spritzed over them. A plain-tasting potato; good for cleansing the palate; mmmyessz. Mushy cooked baby carrots and green bean inch-pieces.
4. A desserty, creamy cocktail which was banana-yellow. Cake or ice cream which I couldn't fit in my stomach; so, an apple.
5. Amazing black coffee.
Plus, I charmed the waiters I guess so they kept bringing me presents, including a long-stemmed rose and a hand made clay ashtray (haha, like, wutt??) They also gave me the greatest present of all--a promise to show me where the good bars and clubs are, and introduce me to their friends! And neither of them speak English, so it's good practice.
Overall I feel like people watch out for me here. They're really caring when they see I'm unsure and alone. The ladies I bought boots from today saw the King Blister on my foot which I've been limping around with, asked for my foot, and put a band-aid on it. It makes me feel for foreigners on their own in New York City, who probably don't meet a fraction of the kind of hospitality that I've been. Plus, that wacky subway system--Uy!