Ok, its true to say that I was expecting something large – both in terms of food and time – but yesterdays lunch passed that goal post about half way through the starter. For those who didn´t read my blog yesterday (and shame on you, oh fickle fans) I was going to lunch with my friends from my craft group, and looking forward to it too.
What I had not realised, until I was seated amongst my friends, was that it had been decided that the money we collect at each meeting was to be gathered up and splurged on one almighty meal. Even as I sat down, I realised this was not the normal menu del día the restaurant supplies. The table was loaded with starters. My knife and fork had been wedged between two delicious looking plates of food.
At each place was set a collection of soft drinks and beer, both with and without alcohol. As I was planning on doing a little work later, I chose the non alcoholic beer Mahou, much to the delight of my friend Dolores who spotted this fact in a nano second. She swiftly swapped her non alcoholic bottle for my alcohol packed one, and looked pretty pleased with the arrangement. So now I had two pretend beers and Dolores was obviously planning on getting into the party mood.
The starters were platos of salads, olives, potato and egg salad, prawns, and a very nice ensaladilla Rusa. As is normal here, no individual plates were supplied. Everyone picked up their fork and simply ate what they wanted from all of the plates. As a vegetarian this suits me very well, as I can pick my way around, choosing exactly what I want to eat. The sheer volume of the food meant that this stage of the meal alone lasted very long time indeed. The conversation was loud and funny. My table mates kept me in fits of laughter as the conversation got ever more animated and at times slightly risqué as is often the case at these single sex gatherings. The waiters worked up a sweat, someone opened a window, jumpers and scarves and other layers were slowly removed and the ladies revved up for an afternoon of serious eating and laughing.
An hour later, and almost full to danger point, the platos of the starters were removed and the first course arrived. There was a choice of soups, and mine was thankfully free of meat. The others enjoyed a soup of fish or chicken, and declared both wonderful. Yet more drinks arrived, bread was broken, and slowly the tablecloth seemed to disappear under a small hail storm of crumbs. Dolores pinched another beer from someone and told an hilarious story, which I´m sure a few of her friends won´t forget in a hurry.
I enjoyed a great medley of vegetables for my main, which definitely had garlic and other spices, and very tasty it was too. The others chose between a pork dish or a mix of various fishy things including calamari and octopus. I tried not to look. I sat a little straighter and managed to make a little more stomach room, and decided against a third drink as it was obvious my stomach needed all the spare space it had.
Two hours in, and pudding arrived; a tiramisu sliced so generously that you could have climbed it…….and sooooooo delicious. Heaven at that moment was nestled on my plate. I love puddings. By now I could barely move, and my face ached from a mixture of chewing and laughing and at this moment the dancing started. The ladies twirled and generally threw themselves around to the very loud music. Thinking the excercise might help my now very full stomach, I joined in.
We finished with café and trays of tiny little cakes….mmmmmm, perfecto.
Three and a half hours later I staggered home, saw to my dog, and guiltily sneaked past my untouched canvas…..oh well, there is always time today.
Enjoy your day everyone.