DOS HERMANOS DO VALENCIA
DAY TWO: THE EVENING EDITION
By 8pm, we were rested and up again for another evening of tapaering and headed out to visit and revisit a few bars fully intending to take it a little bit easy both on wallet and liver. I am not sure we can successfully say we achieved either. Particularly given our first port of call.
TABERNA ALKAZAR – well known in Valencia as one of the places for seafood, it was very very close to our hotel and set up to be the perfect starting point. So it seemed as we sat at the bar and ordered a couple of cana. They had some pulpo on the menu and it looked good, so we ordered some Gallego ( Galician style ) cooked and then served on a wooden board ( in this case on a plate ) doused in oil and paprika. It was a little tough and had none of the creaminess of that we tried on our trip up North.
With this, we ordered Calamari Fritos, which was a little tough, I am reminded by HP
Then for some reason neither of us can quite explain, HP uttered the fatal words “Tiene Percebes?” I had never tried Percebes before, primarily because the cost is prohibitive. These small barnacles come from the North west ( Galicia to be exact ) of the country and are notoriously difficult to harvest involving as it does scrambling down rock faces sometimes with loss of life.
They were weighed out with all due ceremony and the brought to the bar simply steamed ( or boiled, I am unsure ). Difficult to get the hang of at first, we soon found the necessary technique to open them to release the small amount of flesh in each barnacle.
Then the bill came. €87 for the lot! Of which, €47 was on the small plate of Percebes. Did I enjoy them? Sure. But for €47, I am not sure I would rush to order them again. More research shows that they are normally at their best in the winter months. So, maybe in Spring, they are not quite the same. We did see two or three different types in the mercado available at a range of prices up to EU140 a kilo.
I guess, one marks these things down to experience.
TASCA ANGEL – we rushed up here to bring ourselves down to earth and for a mere €8 indulged in some more of those astonishing sardines along with some rinones, small lamb’s kidneys cooked in sherry. Perfect with a couple of copas of red wine.
NOU CARXOFA – Artichokes seem to be a symbol of the city and they can be found everywhere. The name of this bar means, I think the New Artichoke. A nice place to stop for a couple of cana.
TABERNA DE MARISA – back to this bar on Cavelleros to try some more of their Nuevo tapas. Excellent. Croquetta De Iberico were creamy balls of béchamel laced with jamon. Cecina was sliced wafer thin and ChiXtora ( local sausage ) was fiery with paprika. Definitely a place to linger over a glass or two of wine, as we did.
TAVERNA CAVALLERS – a much more traditional bar on the same drag. Not worth bothering with.
By now, we were both beginning to feel a little jaded so we decided to make our last few hops nearer home base. After picking up some slightly blah helado, HP noticed a young guy playing speed chess on the street. He was drawing up quite a crowd and HP, a mean chess player himself, found the challenge too good to resist and hunkered down for a game. He did pretty well too, taking the hustler down to the last few seconds before he lost out to the clock. His opponent made appreciative noises after the game and the watching crowd gave a round of applause. Not bad considering he had not played in ages.
That seemed a suitable full stop to the evening, so we popped in to CAFÉ ASCOT for a night cap. Huge pours of Orujo Blanco and Pacheran and headed back to the hotel.
I think our last words to each other that evening were “€47?!”