Lockdown Day 85: When Spanish Eyes are Smiling / Encierro Día 85: Cuando Los Ojos Españoles Sonríen

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

DINNER AT MESÓN SALVADOR! WE met friends, Elena and Tynan, and the “kids,” Paula and Alexander. Paula put aside her studies and Alexander, a lifeguard, came directly from working the beach all day.

The food was everything we had remembered. The service, the same. And the company could not have been better. José (the boss) was behind the bar while Adrián and Lolo charmingly worked the floor. It was reassuring to see the restaurant so busy.

The seafood case was a work of art. San Geraldo ordered grilled borriquete. We had never heard of the fish, but it looked good. José said it was similar in taste and texture to dorada. SG loved it. It turns out its common English name is “Rubber-lipped Grunt,” which is obviously why it’s known as borriquete. It’s on the left in the photo below.

I had a tragic moment at the end of dinner. We were served our chupitos (after-dinner shots) of Pionono, similar to Bailey’s only SO much better, and only available from one little village outside Córdoba. Mesón Salvador is the only place we know that serves it. Anyway, I was halfway through my chupito when I knocked it over. It was heartbreaking. Adrián saw how devastated I was. I figured he’d give me a refill. But he didn’t. He simply put the bottle on the table. I wonder if he noticed it under my shirt when we left the restaurant.

He may have been too preoccupied. Elena had told him that since we couldn’t see his charming smile through his mask, he needed to smile more with his eyes. He spent quite a bit of time on that, primarily because I kept asking for another take. As you’ll see below, he finally gave up on the smiling eyes and instead gave me the stink eye.


CENA EN MESÓN SALVADOR! CONOCIMOS a amigos, Elena y Tynan, y los “niños”, Paula y Alexander. Paula dejó de lado sus estudios. Alexander, un soccorista, vino directamente de trabajar en la playa todo el día.

La comida era todo lo que habíamos recordado. El servicio, lo mismo. Y la compañía no podría haber sido mejor. José (el jefe) estaba detrás de la barra mientras Adrián y Lolo trabajaban en el restaurante con encanto. Fue tranquilizador ver el restaurante tan ocupado.

El caso de mariscos tenía muy buena pinta. San Geraldo ordenó borriquete a la parrilla. Nunca habíamos oído hablar del pez, pero se veía bien. José dijo que era similar en sabor y textura a la dorada. A SG le encantó. Su nombre común en inglés, “Rubber-lipped Grunt”, significa “gruñido con labios de goma”, por lo que obviamente se conoce como borriquete. Está a la izquierda en la foto de abajo.

Tuve un momento trágico al final de la cena. Nos sirvieron nuestros chupitos de Pionono, similar a Bailey pero mejor, y solo disponible en un pueblo a las afueras de Córdoba. Mesón Salvador es el único lugar que sabemos que lo sirve. De todos modos, había bebido la mitad de mi chupito cuando lo volqué. Fue desgarrador. Adrián vio lo devastada que estaba. Pensé que me daría una recarga. Pero no lo hizo. Simplemente puso la botella sobre la mesa. Me pregunto si lo notó debajo de mi camisa cuando salimos del restaurante.

Puede haber estado demasiado preocupado. Elena le había dicho que, como no podíamos ver su encantadora sonrisa a través de su máscarilla, necesitaba sonreír más con sus ojos. Pasó bastante tiempo en eso, principalmente porque yo seguía pidiendo otra toma. Como verán a continuación, finalmente renunció a los ojos sonrientes y, en cambio, me dio el ojo apestoso.

My just dessert (I was the only one to have any): Milhojas (similar to a Napoleon).
Mi postre justo (yo fui el único en comer): Milhojas.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

27 thoughts on “Lockdown Day 85: When Spanish Eyes are Smiling / Encierro Día 85: Cuando Los Ojos Españoles Sonríen”

  1. Nice rubber-lipped-grunt! Sneaking the bottle out under your shirt, who says you can’t hold your drink!

    1. David,
      What a name for a fish — or anyone. It was seriously tempting to take that bottle home.

  2. Getting back to with friends and routines is the best of feelings.
    Food looks wonderful and the service ‘tip top’ as usual by the looks of it.

  3. YAYZ for open restaurants! the masks do hide those cute faces of the workers though. getting back to normal is good.

    1. Ann Marie,
      And we moved to Phase 3 today. Here’s hoping we don’t have a relapse.

  4. “Rubber-lipped Grunt” has now been entered into my lexicon of terms of derision. Thanks!

  5. Mmmm, it all looks SO good! And better than Bailey’s? I’m hopping on the next plane! *Sigh,* if only.

    1. Debra,
      Píonono is a traditional dessert from Córdoba and apparently the drink was inspired by it. Everyone we know agrees it’s better than Bailey’s. We convinced English friends to order a bottle to take home. They did. We didn’t know it came in 4-liter plastic jugs. They emptied one suitcase and brought the clothes to the thrift shop!

  6. I love the pictures and I don’t swim well…so i may require some lessons!!!!!!

    We moved to phase one. It will be awhile till I go out in places to eat or to have a cocktail. I hear it did not go well from several people. If the restaurant i finally do go to is more than half packed….ill leave. A friend of mine who works in the food industry said it will be interesting to see how long they will keep up the extra deep cleaning and guidelines. He says if people know half of what goes on in a restaurant they probably wouldn’t be back. I didn’t want to know.

    1. Mistress Maddie,
      Our restaurants had to move out all excess tables to allow correct distancing. Things have eased even more today with Phase 3, but rules were clearly not being followed everywhere. A restaurant downstairs reopened this week. They were supposed to provide paper one-use menus and napkins. They of course did not… because they tend to be assholes. And no one was policing them. Oh well. Primavera and Mesón Salvador have been respectfully following the rules. We trust them.

    1. Wilma,
      We were. And we tend to get giddy when we’re together anyway. What a great night.

  7. How great to all be reunited again. I’ve never heard of that liqueur, but it looks yummy. And I love how the guys have masks specially made with the restaurant’s name! Did you ever think you’d see such a thing? In some ways we’re getting back to normal and in some…not at all.

    1. Steve,
      These are very strange times. But I did expect custom masks at Mesón Salvador. That’s how they do things! I have never had Pionono anywhere but at Mesón Salvador. I found it for online ordering, but I don’t know if they ship internationally.

  8. Yes grunt is just not appetizing but that fish looks so fresh! The Spanish word is so much more fitting. Glad you finally got a nice visit with your friends. Be well my friend.

  9. The Rubber Lipped Grunt looks fabulous !
    Love the 2nd and last photo the side eye is intriguing

    1. Parsnip,
      Adrián can be hilarious. He and his wife own a late-night music club (flamenco) in town. Exceptional.

  10. That fish is kind of scary looking. Lucky you, going out with friends. It’s been so long since I saw a friend that I don’t know if I have any left.


    1. Janie Junebug:
      I feel like a should start singing “You’ve got a friend in me.” Isn’t Carol there? It was so good to spend time with friends, but it’s so weird to have to reel it all in and contain our normal behaviors. I wonder when this will all be in the past.

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