Saturday, January 5, 2013
The pace of the city has slowed down and, consequently, so has ours. Company luncheons have come and gone and so have all the pre-Christmas parties. People have recovered from their new Year’s celebrations and everyone seems to be gearing up for tomorrow when the day that all Spanish children dream of – El Día de los Reyes Magos – finally becomes a reality.
Zahava called us on New Year’s Day and asked if we would be interested in going out for Chinese. Since going out for Chinese was a New Year’s Eve tradition back in Alhambra, we thought we would continue the tradition here, albeit a few hours later than normal. We ended up at a restaurant called Min Dou, which is located on Calle Pelayo, which has become increasingly Chinese oriented with a goodly number of Chinese restaurants, bakeries, and markets. We were shown to our table and we studied the menu.
Our choices included lobster, Bok Choy in garlic and ginger, spicy eggplant, a tofu dish and a crab with noodles. It was an enjoyable meal and better than most other Chinese places we have sampled here, but having lived a stone’s throw from Monterey Park, we know what excellent Chinese food looks and tastes like and we are still in search of excellence, but I doubt we will find it. I repeat what I have said before; some of the best Asian food that I have experienced here in Valencia has been either at The Ginger Loft or La Comisaría.
In the course of our conversation Klaus mentioned that they had eaten at a new Neapolitan style pizzeria on Calle Burriana. It is called Idon and the pizza oven and the staff and owners have all been imported from Italy. It has been up and running for a few weeks now. So, on Wednesday Susan and I decided to take a walk and go in search of the place.
The restaurant is bright and shiny and the wood-burning pizza oven is the first thing you see as you approach the restaurant from the street. The back of the house has a view of the kitchen where the pastas and the appetizers are prepared. We were seated close to the entrance so we did not see that part of the show, but we did have a good view of the preparation of the pizzas that paraded from the oven to the tables. We ordered oven-roasted eggplant, rigatoni with a traditional Neapolitan red sauce and a pizza quattro stagioni. The eggplant was good, the pasta rather average and the pizza splendid. They got the crust right and for me that is essential in any good pizza. I still think that the best pasta in town is available at Ballando Nudi and that has become our go to place when we are hungering for pasta.
We had a chance to chat briefly with our waiter, Vladimir, who is originally from Russia but who spent the last ten years working in Naples. We also chatted briefly with one of the waitresses, Vera, who is originally form Naples and who is recently arrived in Valencia. The bottom line is that we will return, but it will be for the pizza.
Last night we celebrated Susan’s birthday at The Ginger Loft. Ten of us gathered at 9:00 PM and we made our way upstairs where our table was waiting. Many of the usual cast of characters were present – Zahava, Klaus, Brian, Ofelia, Pepe, Paquito – as well as Olivia and Jaime. I had previously settled on a menu with Mike and as we chatted a procession of tasty dishes appeared at the table. If I remember we feasted on the following: hummus, caponata, ceviche, chicken satay, won tons, Vietnamese pork, green Thai curry and a variety of desserts. We toasted with Cava at the end of the meal. It was close to 1:00 when we finally left the restaurant. Susan packed u her gifts in her new Rollser shopping cart, which was also one of her gifts. The streets were mostly empty as we made the five-minute walk back home and it was a little after 2:00 when we finally went to bed.
The photos that accompany this blog post were shot by Susan, Pepe and myself.