Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Valencia Restaurants - back for more

Life in Valencia brings contentment. I returned the first weekend of February for more lindy hop, aerials, and food. During that time, we visited two standout locations. Curious? Let's start with Mimmo.

Mimmo is located within walking distance from my friends' apartment. As you walk inside you might notice an unusual feature, the television playing fire. My advice - choose a seat not facing the faux fire. We started with unpictured croquettes with red pepper jam. Valencian croquettes have always delighted me. Most croquettes I've eaten in Madrid were served cold and tasted bland. Valencian croquettes are warm, fragrant and bursting with flavors, namely delicious cheese and perhaps some cured meat. The red pepper jam was particularly addictive. I may have used my fingers to clean its container.
Next came with the salad with its thin cheese filled bolsa, meaning "purse". It was a litany of flavors with greens, pomegranate seeds, various nuts, dates, and more. Cut the bag open, mix everything together, and save the crispier parts for scooping up the nuts and dates.
Then we had the daily ravioli stuffed with pistachios, sheep ricotta, topped with spinach presented on slate board. The ravioli had great texture and taste. Don't admire the presentation too long. Otherwise, your friends might take your share. Do as we did and go with a group and share as many dishes as possible.
My second restaurant was for Valencian paella. When a dining companion announces he is paella taliban, you know you're in good hands. My friends and I drove to the Albufera for the paella at Mare Nostrum Germans Zorrilla. Secret to a good parking space? Even when the ocean is appearing closer, "keep driving, keep driving", there is parking the back.
Our paella taliban companion thought our appetites needed whetting, so we tucked into tellines, calamares, and mojama (pictured above) with red pepper and aubergines with hard boiled egg quarters. Mojama is salt cured tuna loin. Indescribably delicious. During this time, I was educated about paella borders, etiquette, wars, and the crispy rice. A great education and I was ready for the test.
The paella arrived filled with rice, green beans, large broad beans, rabbit, and chicken pieces. It was great, tasty, challenging (never had rabbit kidney before or rabbit leg). We divided the paella into 6 large triangles, fought to keep our borders intact, hunted crispy rice sections, and tore into the meat. I really enjoyed the vegetables, particularly the broad beans, the rice's flavor (unique to this Valencian region), and the chicken. The rabbit was particularly messy.
Well done, everyone. I've been forever spoiled. I've had paella in the states and it doesn't compare. Thanks, Valencia!

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