Saturday, December 5, 2015

Golden Helmet Of Mambrino


Our part of Spain is not known for its Mexican food.

San Geraldo and I did, however, find an exceptional chain of (three) Mexican restaurants in Sevilla. Owned by a Mexican man who spent many years in Southern California, Iguanas Ranas serves the same food we remember from our years in California. (Click here to see what we experienced, the bad and the good, in Sevilla.)

We haven't yet found that in Málaga. There's a Mexican restaurant here in Fuengirola whose decor inside and out looks, if not authentic, at least stereotypical. So, we finally gave it a try for our friend Elena's birthday. When we walked in the door, Elena and I both said, "They're not putting one of those #@^*%^$ hats on my head!"

The restaurant is in an old (expanded) fisherman's cottage and was surprisingly busy (it seemed so quiet outside). The food was decent although not exactly what we had hoped for. But it will definitely do. Good quality and low prices. The staff were warm, friendly, and noisy. The service was exceptional. One of the waiters insisted on doing what he considered, I think, a Mexican bandito yell. He would sneak up to a table and squeal like something out of a bad Hollywood Western. I didn't like that, but I did like him. There was a ritual for every event in the restaurant.

ELENA AND SAN GERALDO.

Another waiter, one who didn't scream, told us each time they did something that it was a tradition in Mexico. When they brought a box to the table and had us all hold hands before running an electrical current through us, he said that was a Mexican tradition also. I'm pretty sure he was making it all up. Note: We did that twice because San Geraldo didn't feel it the first time!

Anyway, I lightened up. We even allowed them to put the sombreros on our heads. I didn't once slug the screaming waiter (although I was tempted). We couldn't help but have a great time.

After the electro shock therapy, I did wonder aloud what would happen if they had a customer with a Pacemaker.

The final "Mexican tradition" was when they served our complementary chupitos (after-dinner drinks). They placed a copper bowl on each of our heads, in turn, and tapped the shot glass against the metal while singing some little ditty or another. For bald men they would place a dish towel on top of the head first. Tynan didn't know where that dish towel had been, so insisted on doing without.

As a result, I got tapped without protection, too.

THE CUTE WAITER WHO DIDN'T SCREAM...
"BUT, IN MEXICO, THEY DO THIS..."
ABOUT TO GET ZAPPED.
(THAT'S THE SCREAMING WAITER IN PINK).
RESTAURANTE EL PASO.
(SOLIDLY BUILT SO THE NEIGHBORS CAN'T HEAR.)
THE AFTER-DINNER DRINK RITUAL.
A REGULAR?
THE FACE I MADE WHEN THE SCREAMING WAITER SCREAMED.
ELENA CALLS IT MY NEW YORK LOOK.
I OFFER HEARTFELT APOLOGIES TO NEW YORKERS.


And of course a Broadway tune came to mind... 

28 comments:

  1. Oh my! Quite an experience :) I, personally, prefer to sit and quietly eat my dinner, and would be horrified if people were putting pans on my head and screaming :)
    But, you always make it sound like you've had a heck of a time, and everyone ends up friends by the end of the night, so maybe I'm missing out ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Judy:
      I was always more like you. Now, I regularly surprise myself. And I do have much more fun than I used to.

      Delete
  2. Good on you for not hitting anyone :) As they say, when in Rome...or Mexico :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheapchick:
      When in Mexico... I can't imagine this happening! I'm still surprised at how much I loosened up. I wouldn't have been nasty in the past, but I certainly wouldn't have participated (nor not said something ... diplomatically... to the waiter).

      Delete
  3. Dear me!
    Here in AZ Mexican cuisine are more numerous than Starbucks; no one in their right cabesa would wear one of those outlandish hats. but they are jolly good fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spo:
      I put up with and did a lot I never would have tolerated in the past.

      Delete
  4. Oddly, although two nearby towns have quite good (by my Texican standards) Mexican food, the Dells has only one Mexican place at the moment. The owners are Mexican-American, very pleasant and all. But most of the food tastes like a Mexican TV dinner. Bland, bland, bland! I don't know if they think this is what Midwesterners want or not. The other places, run by Mexican families, are usually busy, though, so I guess even in Wisconsin, people prefer a bit of spice.
    One of those places does have this terrible tradition of placing a sombrero on the hat of anyone celebrating a birthday, singing "Las Mañanitas" -- which I think only makes sense in the morning -- and then smashing a piece of whipped-cream-covered cake on the birthday person's face. And taking a photo to hang on the wall.
    Yeah. Not so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michael:
      The chain restaurant "Chevy's" in California had the sombrero routine for birthdays. I never had anything to do with it. I've clearly lightened up but there is no way I would tolerate the cake in the face. No matter how cute the waiter! (Well, unless he licked it off afterward...)

      Delete
  5. You were a better sport than I would have been, although you do make it sound like a grand time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wilma:
      I surprised myself. And it did end up being a grand time.

      Delete
  6. Several things:
    1] I wouldn't have worn the sombrero at all. I draw a line at big hats.

    2] The cute waiter. I'd have worn the sombrero for the cute waiter.

    3] Electro-shock treatments? Oy! The things one goes through for a meal. It's like getting your head spanked while wearing a copper fedora.

    4] I have that same New York look!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob:
      1 and 2... Same here.
      3... When I saw them go to other tables with the copper bowl, I said, "No way are they doing that to me." They did. I laughed.
      4. You have my sympathy.

      Delete
  7. Oh, I know someone who would have probably slugged the 'screaming waiter' after the first YELL!! lol
    Great photos....I hope the food matched the fun expressions (even your NY one) on your faces.
    I would need a few tequilas to enjoy this.....then all would be well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jim:
      It amazes me that I forgave the guy and had a good time anyway. I didn't mention that he would also randomly slam an aluminum tray on the floor. Very strange. Jerry had a Margarita. I had a couple of beers. The food did not match the fun expressions, but it wasn't bad.

      Delete
  8. mitchell you look fantastic in the hat. handsome guy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosia:
      Well, I wouldn't agree, but thanks!

      Delete
  9. All one really has to do is consume some alcoholic beverages and start screaming back at them ~~ I would!! Then laugh and say "That's what we do in Canada!!
    The NYC Look is very telling!
    Happy Birthday Elena!

    Winks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ron:
      I thought the final look was more New Dork than New York.

      Delete
  10. There are some very queer things in Spain.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I've used 'the look' before.

    There is a reason I make my own carnitas, carne asada, etc... and now an even better one for me to do so, lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jacqueline:
      There are many reasons I don't make MY own!

      Delete
  12. Replies
    1. Sharon:
      We DO have a lot of fun. You should have seen us LAST night! (That is still to come.)

      Delete
  13. Love the picture of you in a sombrero. I first experienced the difference between Spanish and Mexican food when I was in Madrid and ordered a tortilla, and received a delicious omelet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephen:
      I learned about tortillas before coming to Spain. What many Spaniards think is a Mexican enchilada, THAT was a huge surprise. Notice how the sombrero is the inverse of my head?!?

      Delete
  14. That insufferable yelling waiter deserves nothing less than a poke in the eye with one of those little cocktail parasols. (It's only a suggestion!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ray:
      Hmmm, so I guess it's a good thing that you weren't there. (Honestly, I'm still surprised I had such a good time and even liked the guy.)

      Delete

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