San Geraldo and I were a bit down-in-the-dumps last night (no special reason, just low energy), so he suggested we have dinner at Gonzalo’s restaurant, Catalina, to perk ourselves up. It worked. First of all, it was a cool night. The first in a very long time. Once we were outside, we even debated heading back upstairs to change into long pants. It wasn’t necessary. But it sure was nice to consider it.
|MY GIN AND TONIC (LEFT) … AND ITS LITTLE BROTHER.
MIXED DRINKS ARE POURED AT THE TABLE. THERE WAS A LOT OF GIN.
We had a fairly brisk 10-minute walk to Catalina, arriving around 10:30. We then decided to join the rest of the patrons who were sitting outside enjoying the comfortable temps. Gonzalo was there and greeted us with warm hugs and kisses, which immediately made our world a good place again. We were both in the mood for a gin and tonic, known simply as “gin tonic” here. San Geraldo doesn’t drink much. Two or three sips is usually his limit. The drinks are ginormous (a large goldfish would consider the goblet a very generously proportioned home). I suggested to San Geraldo that he just take a few sips from mine. But he really wanted his own, so we asked Gonzalo for a very small one for Jerry and the usual large one for me. He understood perfectly.
|SARDINES AND PEPPERS ON A BASE OF RUSK, AVOCADO, AND SAUCE.|
Gonzalo told us about the specials that weren’t on the menu. He started with sardines and laughed when he saw the expression on my face. Sardines have always been right at the top of my list — alongside anchovies — under the heading “Fishy Fish I Don’t Like.” But, as you may remember, I love Gonzalo’s anchovies. So, I figured if there is ever a chance of my liking sardines, it would be at Catalina. We ordered them. They were beautifully presented on a slab of black slate. A dollop of diced tomato and a dollop of sauce to the side. The large sardine was, as it had been described by Gonzalo, served on a crispy slice of rusk, with a layer of sauce and fresh avocado between. It was beautiful. It smelled delicious. I took a bite. It wasn’t bad. If you like sardines. San Geraldo loved it. You can’t win them all (although San Geraldo won this round and didn’t have to share). To be honest, it was the best sardine I’ve ever tasted (and that’s not saying much). I’ll stick to anchovies, but only at Catalina. I cleansed my pallet with a swig of gin tonic.
“Patatas bravas” is a classic tapas potato dish. The traditional version is fried in olive oil and served with a paprika sauce. To me, they’re just potatoes in sauce. San Geraldo loves potatoes and he loves sauce. I can take or leave potatoes. However, I can’t leave Catalina’s patatas bravas. Gonzalo explained to us that his are baked at very low heat for hours to absorb the olive oil and herbs. They almost melt in your mouth. He told us they had run these as a special and customers were coming back weeks later asking for them. They’re now a permanent addition. Once you’ve had patatas bravas at Catalina, there is no need to have them anywhere else.
|COUS COUS. KISS KISS. AND HOME TO BED.|
So, after more hugs and kisses, San Geraldo and I walked home happy as clams (which were also on the menu).