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Observations on a New Life in Spain

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Pies de Cerdo y Caracoles

25 June, 2008 (07:41) | Living in Europe | By: admin

For a while we were eating at only very authentic Catalan restaurants. One called Su Casa is very interesting. From the front it looks like just another local cervesa y tapas joint but once you walk through to the back it opens up into a large cafeteria style restaurant. There is a kitchen with one cook and there is usually only the one waiter who is a bit beyond his expiration date as he has trouble with the larger trays of dishes and the occasional accident with a hot bowl of soup. The menu is very Catalan, we know what most of the dishes on it are now and once you know one Catalan menu you pretty much know them all. We were both on a mission to understand the menu. I would bring a tiny pocket dictionary and we would look up what words we could. Mark made it a point to try only the dishes that he had no idea what he was ordering. It worked for a while. He found some great dishes; stews, lentil beans, casseroles. I didn’t have as much luck. I once ordered the plate of ‘verduras’ (which literally means green and is supposed to be vegetables) and got a big plate of boiled potatoes, cabbage and beans, nothing green. The same meal I got my “verduras” Mark tried something called Pies de Cerdo y Caracoles. He thought it would be a stew with pieces of meat in it but what he got of course was ‘Feet of Pig and Snails’. The feet were basically just pig fat and tough skin, they were covered with empty snail shells just to make it a little more tantalizing I guess. He did his best, ate what he could, but when he turned his plate and saw a fully formed toe with what looked like a fingernail on it he had to stop. For some reason the image of eating his dog’s severed paw kept popping into his head and he lost his appetite. He sucked on a snail shell but nothing much happened. He has since learned to avoid this dish, although some locals have told us they just love it.