Miracle in a Paella Pan

Paella. The one dish that single-handedly changed my mind about Spanish food. (Spanish food is now number one again!) This is the real deal, baby.

The scene of the crime: Casa Roberto, one of the best restaurants for paella in Valencia. Oh hell, let's just make it all of Spain, since I'm in such a good mood today.

As soon as José and I are seated, the waiter brings us a plate of jamón ibérico. The good stuff. The reason why I fell in love with Spanish food to begin with. It is the perfect balance of salt, meat, and fat...pork so delicious that it melts in your mouth. And I think I'm having a food porn moment now. Okay. I'm done. At one point, I could have cared less about eating the paella; the jamón was just too damn good. However, we came for the paella, so I had to leave room.

And then it came. (Cue the music of the angels.) It came in a pan so huge that it could probably feed an entire family. But it was just José and me. In other words, we had some work to do.

Prior to this experience, I've eaten paella only two times. The first time, I tried to cook it myself, but it lacked so many of the necessary ingredients needed for a good paella that it tasted nothing like it. The second time was actually in Valencia, but I don't even remember the experience. That just meant that it wasn't very good. Ever since then, I've been too scared to try any other paella dish, unless it was in Spain, and that it was in a really good restaurant (preferably not where the tourists go).

Any way, back to Roberto's paella. (The angels are still singing.) Pollo, conejo, caracoles, verduras, arroz, oh my! Everything was cooked to perfection. Every single bite was like an orgasm in my mouth. Really packed with flavor. The pollo and conejo were so tender, and that's not an easy thing to achieve. I would know. I'm a cook. And the caracoles, were surprisingly very tasty (though I did need a little bit of help getting to the meaty part). And don't forget the bits of ajo that I found swimming around. You can never go wrong with ajo.

But it was so much. As much as we tried, José and I just could not finish the entire pan of paella. I have never been so full in my entire life. I think I had food twins that day. Roberto and Roberta.

After the food experience of a life time, we were supposed to go to the City of Arts and Sciences. But I just couldn't. My stomach hurt so much I couldn't walk. So we went to the park instead, and just sat (more like a slouch for me, my stomach couldn't bend). I needed to recover. I'm thinking that every body thought that I must have been pregnant, due to my enlarged stomach and constant belly rubbing.