Monday, November 7, 2011


About three weeks after I first got to Spain, I watched an episode of one of my all time favorite shows, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, where he goes to Spain. There I saw Zimmern travel through a very touristy neighborhood in Madrid called Sol and devour various bizarre and not so bizarre foods. As the camera panned around one tapas bar, it looked rather familiar. When they showed the shoes nailed to the wall I knew exactly where it was.

Zapateria. The shoe store. I had been there my second weekend in Madrid and had loved how small and intimate the place was as well as how everyone was incredibly friendly. I had wanted to go back since the last time I was there and this video gave me some suggestions of what to eat.

I decided to follow Zimmern's selection: crispy pig's ears, snails and bull tail. Unfortunately the bull tail was not available when I went so I was fortunate enough to have a dinner consisting of cartilage and gastropods (new name for blog?)

The ears came first and were plopped in front of us on a silver platter, literally. They were cut into small manageable pieces and were cooked with some sort of red sauce. The ears were cooked on the grill and pressed down for a while, thus formed a crispy exterior to some of the bits. The texture was definitely a bit funky. I likened it to the crunch of the pickled carrot one finds in banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich), but it was definitely in its own class as far as bizarre textures. The gelatinous coating in my mouth spoke for the cartilage, which had clearly broken down a little bit when cooked. Flavor wise it was porky and slightly reminiscent of bacon, albeit not as smokey. The real kicker were the pieces of ear that still had small hairs on them, threw me off a little bit, but with those pieces kicked aside, I plunged right back in.

Bad picture I know, but trust me, it was a hairy situation

The snails were cooked in a spicy sauce, a nice change from the normally tame Spanish cooking. However the sauce completely overpowered any chance at tasting the snails. The snails themselves were soft, but gritty. With every snail I ate I hoped for a clean snail, but every bite I was met with the crunch of grit. The sauce was worth sopping up with bread although it could have used a little more salt.

Clearly a slow cooked dish...sorry for the bad puns...

Final Grade: B-, I'm definitely going back to get the bull tail, but overall the food was so-so. Everything was gone by the end of the meal, but I wouldn't order either of theses dishes again.

No comments:

Post a Comment