She sent this to me last night and I feel it’s actually more worthy of the New Yorker than our blog here.. but lucky me.. I get to share it here first!! I love friends like this … Enjoy!!!
OK, so this really did happen to me today…
At breakfast, Frank was like, “Look what the corner newspaper guy gave me: Tunisian salad in a can !” We opened it up and it was a wonderful, spicy concoction, kind of like green chili peppers, Sriracha chili sauce, and smoky paprika all rolled into one. I quickly fired up a couple of eggs, and we slathered on the spicy sauce – delish! “So, I’ll make another egg,” I said. Fried up two more, slathered on the sauce and – what’s that? A long white hair! (Just had my hair colored last week, ladies, so I know it wasn’t mine. Bitches!). Ugh – put the eggs in the trash, and couldn’t stop think about which grizzly old man in Tunisia lost part of his beard, or whatever….
Anyway, Frank went out sailing on the Med, and since he doesn’t like fancy restaurants, I decided to go alone to one of Barcelona’s top restaurants and have their 8 course lunch. The first couple of courses were divine. Then, my skate wing came – nicely browned in a meuniére sauce…I took one bite and almost gagged. Tasted like someone had sautéed it in a pan full of “Mr. Clean with Ammonia D” cleaning solution. Seriously. The server ran over to see what the hell was happening to me – my eyes were rolling back into my head. I sputtered out in Spanish, the fish was “muy mal” and tasted like “amoníaco”. I told her to take the dish and tell the chef immediately. The chef came out and assured me the fish was caught yesterday – it couldn’t be bad. Had I ever tasted skate? The fish shows all the signs of freshness – firm to the touch, eyeballs clear, the boat just went out yesterday, bla bla bla… Little did he know I worked at Scott’s Seafood for a year in SF as a waitress boning sand dabs tableside…. This was not my first rodeo…ummm…I mean boat ride. “¡Probalo! ¡Probablo!” I kept saying, which I think means “Try it” but could mean “Try it on” – who the hell knows??? But he could see I was in distress. Finally, he agreed to go back to the kitchen and take a bite from my plate.
Upon his return, ashened-faced, he acknowledged the fish tasted like ammonia. What else would I desire? The hake? The turbot? “Beef” I said, not even trying to translate.
I could barley eat the beef shank, which was excellent, but did grab a piece of the excellent crusty bread -”pan integral” with raisins and walnuts- to sop up the sauce. OMG! A frickin’ white curly hair was cozily nestled around one of the raisins in the bread.
What the hell is happening here? Is there a army of old grannies taking over the culinary world and I’m just “out of it”? Kind of like Santa’s Elves…but doing back-of-the-house kitchen prep work? “I’ve got to stop eating!”, I said to myself. “This madness has got to stop.” The chef came out one last time and graciously comp’d my meal (didn’t have the heart to show him the bread – it was too gross), so at least I wasn’t out 60 €.
Got home and googled “skate tasting like ammonia” – since the chef was so sincere that the fish was caught yesterday…I was intrigued. Turns out you need to “bleed” skate and shark properly once killed, since they urinate through their skin – otherwise the uric acid leaches into the flesh and the fish will taste like….ammonia! So, it wasn’t old fish, just “pee pee” fish. ¡Fantastico!….
So tonight I pulled my hair back into a ponytail, had white boiled rice for dinner and promised myself never to wear my glasses while eating ever again. Guess I’ll look better too….