I hatched a plan after my doctor described my latest blood test as “boring.”
I never wanted anything about me to be described as boring. So
I drove from the middle of Long Island, epicenter of
bland restaurants, to southern Brooklyn to
pick up the Guidepost Galloping
Gourmets. They can root
out Spanish food better than a savy pig can find a truffle.
by Ann Fox
How far would you drive in “The Home of the Brave” for some patatas bravas and other tasty Spanish food? In my case, at least four hours.
I hatched a plan after my doctor described my latest blood test as “boring.” I never wanted anything about me to be described as boring. Of course the blood sugar was normal – I haven’t had bravas or flan con extra caramelo since my last trip to Spain! The LDLs were through the floor – obviously severely lacking in chorizo and sobrasada. My liver function – excellent. A disgrace. I haven’t finished off a bottle of Rioja in months. This had to be dealt with.
So one, recent fine day, I drove from the middle of Long Island, epicenter of bland restaurants, to southern Brooklyn to pick up the Guidepost Galloping Gourmets. They can root out Spanish food better than a pig can find a truffle. From their place, it was tierra adentro.
I hadn’t left my leafy suburban headquarters since the beginning of the pandemic, so just driving through the urban landscape was interesting. Graffiti livened up some dull facades, but looked aggressive on classic diners that were now closed due to Covid.
Pedestrians all had masks on – even the children. Not so in suburbia where we count on the double threat of poison ivy and lime disease to scare the germs away.
Just after a quick view of the skyline of Manhattan, we turned a corner and reached our lunch destination, “El Born”. At first I thought this was where Bruce Springsteen began his ode to living in the USA, but no, this apparently is the name of a section of Barcelona. Good enough. As long as they didn’t overload the menu with lots of “x” words and other catalanismos. No problem, it was in English. We sat in a rear patio that pre-pandemic was probably the dumpster/garbage bin storage area. It’s amazing how creative restaurant owners have become, turning driveways, alleyways, and parking lots into usable dining areas with the help of an awning and plastic palm trees.
We asked for patatas bravas immediately as an appetizer. A tower of fingerling potatoes arrived with big blobs of hot sauce and mayo slip-sliding on the top. Kind of an ode to a Gaudi spire with a couple of tipsy angels hanging on for dear life. It was delicious. We followed this with grilled octopus, gazpacho, fried green peppers, croquetas, all washed down with chilled Mahou beer. I skipped the Rioja – I had a long ride home. The crema catalana was whipped, a bit unusual, but of course, it came by way of the Dominican/Puerto Rican/Mexican chefs on duty, each of whom added something delicious to the concoction. We ordered another. After savoring most things on the menu, we reluctantly waddled our way back to the car to start for home.
First, we drove through breath-taking Brooklyn, past the Manhattan Bridge, then the Brooklyn Bridge, with a peak at the Statue of Liberty in the distance. Then to more pedestrian Brooklyn past the Verrazano Bridge, with Staten Island in close proximity. In my Mahou-produced haze, I almost pictured it looking like EL Puente de los Franceses stetching across the Manzanares. We arrived in livable, quieter Brooklyn just as the garlic and pulpo were making peace with each other in my stomach. Another hour and a half and I would be home, almost ready for a top-off of bravas.
Considering all the driving time, if I’d been in a plane instead of a car, I’d have been more than halfway to Madrid. It’s okay. During the Covid epidemic, smaller trips have taken on bigger meaning. This felt like an exciting adventure. And wait until the doctor sees my next blood test. He won’t call it “boring.”
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