Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Casa Luis' Restaurent, Guardamar, Spain

Casa Luis is a restaurent that is run by a mad spaniard. He speaks no English, is half blind, but he loves making out he is the "perfect host". Faulty Towers has nothing on this place.

There is also usually a Mrs Luis who runs the place.

The place is full of antiques, they hang everywhere. Piles of pre war radios, strange implements and canisters of all shapes and sizes. Wines from all over the world, lie in dust in spaces around the walls. Its sort of like an old farm/pub but nothing like that at all. There is hardly room for the few tables that manage to sit inside. There are faded pictures of Luis with various celebreties dating back years, everywhere.

I thought Luis would probably be dead by now. I have no idea why.

There is a sign in the window that indicates all is not well, the place is up for sale or something, we fail to translate it correctly. My friend still wants to risk it.

The bar was in darkness, no lights in the kitchen, just Luis behind the bar and one other bloke. We walk in.

This year there was no Mrs Luis, just Luis, looking not a day older than last time we met. He shakes my hand profusely and makes lots of noises in Spanish, some of which I translate into greetings.

Luis makes a fuss of us in Spanish and wants to know what we will drink, before we can choose two beers arrive. Cloudy fizzy beer. It actually tastes ok so we determine it must be German wheat beer. I ask if they are open for food, Si, Si, Si, says Luis... Luis gets menus.

We sit down. No waiter, so in the end I go to bar to order. I order by numbers as Luis cant see the menu properly! I ask who is chef tonight, Luis points at this bloke in the corner who I thought was a customer! I'm sure he is a customer...!!!

The customer goes to kitchen and puts the lights on, he doesnt take our order with him. He stands in the kitchen looking out of place. He was. The "Chef" stares at the appliances in turn, he hasnt a clue!

I ask where is Mrs Luis, Senora Luis?. Luis points at the telephone. I says "is she alright". Si, Si, Si Senor says Luis. I sit down again. Luis says "Mrs Luis is the other end of the telephone" in Spanish of course....

Ten minutes later our order is still on the bar, Mrs Luis walks in. Kisses for customers is a bit over the top but for some reason she is genuinely happy to see us. She takes our order off the bar strolls to the kitchen and the kitchen springs into life. The "Chef" returns to his beer.

We run out of cloudy beer, I decide against another and order red wine. A bottle of 1997 vintage Rioja El Coto crianza appears. I suspect this is dangerous given I hadn't seen a price list. Luis breaks the cork in half and then somehow manages to extract the remains with a table knife without corking the wine, quite amazing in fact. It tastes great.

I had ordered a Tuna and a salad for main course. The salad arrives first. A very nice salad indeed. We share it.

Next comes "tapas" which we hadnt ordered. Sort of potatoe cakes, also pleasing. Then came Octopus Gallentia, juicy octopus in paprika and a light sauce. Excellent. But we had ordered that as a starter.

Then came my Tuna, (with chips) and other main courses. Oh and some bread and ali oli. We usually get that first!

I run out of that fine wine, and Luis promptly brings 1998 Rioja. Extra Special he says. Well it is still a crianza, but I've never heard of the vineyard. It is actually better than the first bottle. Luis says "on the house"... Restaurent's dont normally donate £50 wines, but I wasnt arguing... The food is all excellent.

Mrs Luis appears with her coat on. More kisses for customers and profuse thank you's and off she goes into the night leaving Luis in charge again. She was "honoured" that we had requested her to do our meal. I hadnt really! Clearly Luis thought I had though...so that was okay...accidentaly!

Luis makes the point that he is back in charge by bringing strange looking glasses full of black stuff. Its chocolatey? Caramel? dammed strong anyway and thick like treacle...We have coffees to neutralise it. We have more treacle to neutralise the coffee. I am getting seriously over the limit...

I dare to ask for the bill. Its a very reasonable 75 Euros, and that lovely wine had been 24 Euros. For what we had just consumed it was a complete bargain.

Luis' is a mad restaurent. For what it can deliver, it deserves to survive forever, but worryingly it was empty, and when reserve summer chef is working the food can be terrible. Mrs Luis however makes the place what it is, perfection and a great night out.

You take a chance when you walk in, but it can be the experience that makes your week....or not...

The update

And so the great day dawned, the court had approved the final settlement and I am now a free man with no financial obligations.

Of course that's just as well as I've just been fleeced of £90,000 but in return i get to keep the house and the kids are not made homeless by the random behaviour of the ex's solicitor..

Main problem was that the court actually decided this in January but forgot to tell me, so by the time i received the warning i only had three days to pay. Has anyone tried to transfer that amount of dosh in three days? I had the fraud squad on the phone the first day.
Now Sir, we cant permit this sort of thing

Er, but the court insists.
We dont care you have to transfer less than £9,999 we cant handle the paperwork otherwise...

So I can do three transfers and the rest by cheque?
yes but only if you must, and we will have to report you for money laudering
And so it was made so, and I am free but skint...The ex can answer the fraud squad questions on where she suddenly found £90,000 from.
"Under the bed madam?, ehhem, I think not"

I thought I had kept some back for house repairs but in fact I had used it earlier to keep my company shares...oops...Now the repairs will have to be botched...but they will still need to be done...

And so to socials. I tried to go to the folk club last week, but it had closed. They must have heard I was thinking of playing some Pink Floyd songs and gone home to Cork...

Well in a way that would be a welcome thing, but some of the music was actually ok (sometimes), the trouble was that there was only enough ok stuff for one performance a year, not every week, so the locals had tired of attending.

Some enterprising spark has created a new club called Pheonix(genius) that now just meets every second friday in the month. I suppose they may have more ok stuff but I will have to wait until this week to find out. Anyways if you are near the Red Lion in Whittlesford, pop in and try it out. We should support these enterprises...

I will now have to wait and see if Pink Floyd is acceptable to the new owners!

Saturday, 6 February 2010

and then there was HELGA!

Helga, now theres a name, it conjures up images of Russian weightlifters from the 1970's....Well Helga isnt her real name, thats obscured for legal reasons, but the images are right enough!

Helga is where the doctor sends you when your liver tests have failed. She is supposed to put you on a diet to stop you becomming a diabetic, it's all in good faith. The problem is Helga.

A dragon would breath less fire and brimstone.

Helga says she invented diets, she lied.

Her diet has a get out clause, eat "as much as you like" of these foods.. God help you if you invoke this excuse for not losing a stone a day though, again she lied, she didnt mean that at all....

Helga tells me that thin people are people who "always feel hungry" but they "put up with it". I do not know any thin people that tell me they are hungry when asked, except sometimes at meal times of course. She lied.

Having lost 29 pounds in three months and having to address the issues of clothes no longer fitting Helga tells me she is not satisfied and that I am clearly not getting the message. My mental approach is all wrong...I think she is lying again...

She suggests I should stop eating real food and drink strange pink liquids that costs a bob or three. I suggest that her family must have shares in said company. Serious mistake, i feel the dragon breath on my arms...

Now, I must go to meetings like the AA, I am apparently addicted to bad stuff called food...I suspect she is lying..

Helga tells me I must not eat any food or drink for 15 weeks and take these strange chemical substances instead. They may allow me to have some food afterwards if I'm good enough, but maybe not ever...

The very thought of Helga fills me with dread, 60's seaside landladies were less scary, and the fact that she cant tell truth from fiction just makes it all the worse...

Helga weighs me again, she has new scales. They show I have lost one pound. She throws another tantrum, ignoring my plea that by my home scales I've actually lost three, and the problem isn't me its her new scales....She tells me her new scales are 100% accurate. She lies again.

So fried on one side by dragon breath I depart, suitably lectured and completely mentally unstable, so unstable I follow her orders and make another appointment for two weeks time.