Golden Helmet Of Mambrino

Our part of Spain is not known for its Mexican food.

San Geraldo and I did, however, find an exceptional chain of (three) Mexican restaurants in Sevilla. Owned by a Mexican man who spent many years in Southern California, Iguanas Ranas serves the same food we remember from our years in California. (Click here to see what we experienced, the bad and the good, in Sevilla.)

We haven’t yet found that in Málaga. There’s a Mexican restaurant here in Fuengirola whose decor inside and out looks, if not authentic, at least stereotypical. So, we finally gave it a try for our friend Elena’s birthday. When we walked in the door, Elena and I both said, “They’re not putting one of those #@^*%^$ hats on my head!”

The restaurant is in an old (expanded) fisherman’s cottage and was surprisingly busy (it seemed so quiet outside). The food was decent although not exactly what we had hoped for. But it will definitely do. Good quality and low prices. The staff were warm, friendly, and noisy. The service was exceptional. One of the waiters insisted on doing what he considered, I think, a Mexican bandito yell. He would sneak up to a table and squeal like something out of a bad Hollywood Western. I didn’t like that, but I did like him. There was a ritual for every event in the restaurant.

ELENA AND SAN GERALDO.

Another waiter, one who didn’t scream, told us each time they did something that it was a tradition in Mexico. When they brought a box to the table and had us all hold hands before running an electrical current through us, he said that was a Mexican tradition also. I’m pretty sure he was making it all up. Note: We did that twice because San Geraldo didn’t feel it the first time!

Anyway, I lightened up. We even allowed them to put the sombreros on our heads. I didn’t once slug the screaming waiter (although I was tempted). We couldn’t help but have a great time.

After the electro shock therapy, I did wonder aloud what would happen if they had a customer with a Pacemaker.

The final “Mexican tradition” was when they served our complementary chupitos (after-dinner drinks). They placed a copper bowl on each of our heads, in turn, and tapped the shot glass against the metal while singing some little ditty or another. For bald men they would place a dish towel on top of the head first. Tynan didn’t know where that dish towel had been, so insisted on doing without.

As a result, I got tapped without protection, too.

THE CUTE WAITER WHO DIDN’T SCREAM…
“BUT, IN MEXICO, THEY DO THIS…”
ABOUT TO GET ZAPPED.
(THAT’S THE SCREAMING WAITER IN PINK).
RESTAURANTE EL PASO.
(SOLIDLY BUILT SO THE NEIGHBORS CAN’T HEAR.)
THE AFTER-DINNER DRINK RITUAL.
A REGULAR?
THE FACE I MADE WHEN THE SCREAMING WAITER SCREAMED.
ELENA CALLS IT MY NEW YORK LOOK.
I OFFER HEARTFELT APOLOGIES TO NEW YORKERS.

And of course a Broadway tune came to mind… 

Ron Miel… And Other Chupitos

Here in our part of Spain, a good glass of wine or beer costs between 1 and 2 euros. It’s cheaper than drinking soda. San Geraldo can splurge on his non-alcoholic beverages. Since I always like to be thrifty, I’ve been having wine or beer with my meal.


(Click any image to increase the alcohol content.)

FOREGROUND: MY VINO DE MÁLAGA (SWEET WINE).
JUDY’S VINO FINO… AT MESON SALVADOR LAST WEEK.

Many restaurants offer free after-dinner drinks. They’re called “chupitos,” which means “shots.” At Sandpiper, they’re usually Bailey’s Irish Cream. San Geraldo is a very light drinker. So, he takes a sip of his and I get the rest.

Meson Salvador usually serves Pionono (similar to Bailey’s but made in only one place outside Córdoba). Lately, they’ve been serving Ron Miel. “Ron” means rum in Spanish. “Miel” means honey. It’s delicious. San Geraldo isn’t a huge fan. So I get two.

RON MIEL AT MESON SALVADOR.

Our favorite restaurant in Sevilla (we got back there for dinner during our last visit), Catalina Casa de Comidas, serves mini-gin and tonics. San Geraldo can’t handle a full-sized gin & tonic. So he orders a mini before dinner and I then get to drink his after-dinner chupito… and my own.

CATALINA:  SAN GERALDO’S PRE-DINNER MINI GIN & TONIC.
MY GOLDFISH BOWL.

While living in Sevilla, we discovered a Mexican restaurant called Iguanas Ranas (Iguanas Frogs). Good Mexican food had been hard to find. This place is incredible. The Iguanas Ranas version of a chupito is a small Margarita. Delicious and the perfect size for me. San Geraldo drinks a bit of his. I get the rest.

When our friend Judyshannonstreetwhat (click here if you haven’t met) was visiting, I usually had three chupitos after dinner.

MINI MARGARITAS A FEW WEEKS AGO AT IGUANAS RANAS, SEVILLA

Given all the chupitos I’ve been drinking, I might cut out the one I pay for. I don’t want to wind up spending my money callin’ everybody honey…