We’d just finished lunch with a small group of friends. The venue for our midday treat was Parada 2, one of my favourite lunchtime haunts.
The Menu del Dia (Menu of the Day) is delicious: a hearty three course meal with wine, coffee and a cheeky chupito (small shot of liqueur) to finish; all for a very affordable 9 euros per head, plus a cheeky
1.20 for the chupito.
I'd started today’s feast with a huge slice of empanada de carne: a freshly baked pasty, filled with pieces of meat, chopped onions, saffron and spices. The pastry of a traditional Galician empanada is quite unique. It’s similar to glazed pizza bread but slightly thicker and heavier, and is baked in a bread oven until golden brown.
For my main course I decided to be a little adventurous. Sonia, the resident waitress, has what poker players call a “tell”. When one of her favourite dishes appears on the menu, her whole face smiles when she mentions its name. Today’s “tell” was codillo asado (roast elbow). I find it’s often best not to dwell too long on certain translations: pork knuckle would be a better description. Two of my fellow diners also made this daring selection.
Sonia presented our dish on a stainless steel platter. Three whole pork knuckles, slowly roasted; surrounded by peas, carrots and a mountain of chips. It looked like a banquet fit for a king. The knuckles were perfectly cooked; crispy crackling on the outside and succulent pork beneath.
As usual, the list of desserts was endless. Sonia rifled them off like a well rehearsed poem. We listened patiently, waiting to hear if there was a postre de casero (homemade pudding). Sonia has a habit of leaving this delicious gem until last. We were in luck; today’s special was pan frito con salsa de dulce leche. I wasn’t completely sure what to expect, although I vaguely remembered ordering the same pudding on a previous occasion. Suffices to say, the homemade specials rarely disappoint.
Sonia appeared from the kitchen balancing several dessert plates. She called out the dish and waited for a reply. Disappointingly, I had to wait a bit longer. She rushed back into the kitchen and returned with the rest.
‘Pan frito con salsa de dulce leche,’ she called.
‘Para mi, (for me)’ I replied, eager to see what I’d chosen.
She handed me the plate. I placed it on the table and, as in all the top eateries, rotated the plate an inch or two to best show off the dish. It looked delicious, a thick wedge of oven baked bread, dipped in a beaten egg and pan fried, sprinkled with sugar and lavishly coated on one side with a thick layer of caramelised milk. A splash of Scotch whisky is an optional extra but I find a wee dram never goes amiss.
Although my layman’s description lacks the culinary flare of a recognised food critic, you’ll have to take my word; it tasted heavenly.
Drinks are included in the price. My favourite is the house white, an unlabeled Albariño from a very good winery near the coast.
Great food and good company– we really must do this more often. That reminds me, must rush, we’re due to meet up again in less than an hour.