Everyone loves street food – don’t they? It reeks of authenticity, of regionality and – dare I say – adventure.
The best way to select street food is to look for the crowd. If there’s a crowd waiting, especially if they’re locals, go for it. If you’re lucky, its prepared in front of you, usually with local ingredients.
On the road from Porto, we crossed the border back into Spain and thought it may be time for a break and something to eat. We were in Verin, Spain. I am not sure if there is anything remarkable about Verin, except -apart from the miracle of parking – there was.
It was Octopus.
We sat in the “A Corbaceira” cafe, where the clientele was overwhelmingly male. Quantities of vermouth were consumed, along with beers and coffee, whilst a cooking show involving identical twins was on the wall mounted television. But the real show was outside.
A lady had set up a boiler and was braising octopus in red wine. Platters of chopped tentacles, doused in olive oil and sprinkled with paprika were the dish of the day, with patrons of the cafe bringing the platters in to be eaten on site. We were in. We watched as locals bought take away containers for later consumption and purchased a platter for lunch. sharing one of a few tables fronting the window, we watched the lady’s patrons coming and going.
A matron bustled up to the table and placed her order. Standing next to her was an elderly octogenarian gent, who we are hoping was known to her. The conversation seemed to be genial, so perhaps they were acquaintances.
His hand snaked out and took hold of the matron’s generously proportioned derriere, and she, without reacting, continued to speak with the Vendor – discussing her order. Throughout her conversation with the Vendor, whose range of vision did not take in anything below her customer’s waist, the fondling continued. Meanwhile, the elderly gent, unaware that the entire cafe was now observing his moves, continued the vigorous massage. Ribald commentary regarding the benefits of viagra and flagrant encouragement accompanied each of his moves.
The octopus was delicious and I will never be able to eat it again without remembering the wandering hands of an elderly spaniard.