When you live in Madrid, Toledo is part of the staple diet of places you have to have been to at least once. I still hadn't been and so last weekend we went. Again many people had told me about how great it is and how good the food and how cheap compared to Madrid. Well, I wouldn't be writing this if I didn't have my own opinion about this. Toledo is cute, but on a Saturday, of course, overrun by tourists like ourselves. If you want to buy a knife, or maybe an even more essential tool such as an ancient sword, Toledo is the place for you; but if it is a newspaper or a book you want, good luck. So around lunchtime all these visitors want to eat in that quaint restaurant that serves the quintessential local fare etc. So did we of course, and I didn't want to eat in a place with picture menus. I had seen a place before but it would mean that we had to walk back to the other side of town again so when we came across this place with a Michelin 2007 sticker in the window we figured this might be just such a place, especially because there weren't any other restaurants in this street and the menu seemed OK.
While waiting in Horno Asador La Parrilla we saw that the meat on the plates looked nice so we got that feeling of having found that place that everybody else was looking for. This was going to be great and we would be talking about it for weeks. We took the "menú del día" of €17 which included a glass of wine and desert. There was also a "menú"of €25, but we would be fine with the simple one.
As a first course I had a "Sopa Castellana" or Garlic Soup and my girlfriend a "Paella Mixta".
I love garlic and I love soup, so I was ready. My girlfriend is from Valencia so she knows her Paella. The Soup: tasteless, with too much bread. The Paella: not great. Not wanting to give up just yet: "Just wait for the meat."
I ordered a Venison ragout and my girlfriend a piece of meat "cazador" which means that it was hunted I guess. I didn't like my ragout very much, but I don't eat venison very often so I thought it might be me, and my girlfriend's meat was a bit dry. Anyway, she didn't finish it because she didn't like it. The waiter started clearing the table while I was still eating and wanted to know what we would have for desert. To take away an empty plate when someone at the table is still eating is one thing: I don't like it. But to ask me what I want for desert when I am busy trying to finish my meal is just ignorant. The "Natillas" or custard was what it was, nothing more and the "Flan" or crème caramel I guess was the same. In any case we left feeling it was a bit expensive, especially compared to all these other places where the menú del día is only €9 or slightly more, pictures or no pictures. We wandered around some more; saw some more swords; a few knives and a few more interesting old buildings. We had seen enough, but still had two hours before our train. Around the beautiful train station there is Nothing. At least not on a Saturday afternoon at 5 o'clock. Whatever there is (not a whole lot), is closed.
I was so glad to be back in Madrid that I went to the supermarket to buy a carton of milk, just because I could. Also, I still had all Sunday to myself. Or so I thought.
I woke up at 10 o'clock on Sunday to find my girlfriend on the couch with a bucket. She had been vomiting etc. and was in a lot of pain which was getting worse. To spare you the details, I ended up calling an ambulance, thinking it may be appendicitis, because it was impossible for her to move or go to Emergency. The attending paramedic fortunately ruled that one out pretty quickly and instead asked her what she had had to eat the day before. When she told him we went to Toledo, the driver ( I guess he was the driver, he had the car keys) said she had had bad luck because "normally you eat well in Toledo". Yeah, right!
Last week I was commenting to someone that it was so difficult to find a good restaurant. This Spaniard wholeheartedly agreed with me and said that sometimes he went to McDonald's because he knows it is bad, but at least it is always the same, so you can never be disappointed. They even have one in Toledo!
The best food is found in Spain. What they do to it at times is a different story!