R2 and I ended our Espana vacation extraordinaire in Mallorca. You probably assumed this was because Mallorca is a fabulous island in the Mediterranean sea and we wanted to wallow in luxury, but we actually came here because I live on a street called Mallorca, and R2 thought it would be neat to say we ended up exactly where we started.
Rom recommended Hotel Portixol to us. I was expecting some sort of insane resort that you’d find in Maui, but instead it was a small hotel that dripped of exclusivity, opulence, and splendor. The pool was heartbreakingly blue, and the bed was the best bed I’ve ever slept on (memory foam and the astronauts it was tested on can suck it).
I changed into my red, white, and blue bikini, which I wore to represent for America Fuck Yeah but which I realize now could have been for Cambodia, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, or the Czech Republic, just to name the RW&B flagged countries that begin with “C.”
While R2 showed his Kindle off to the world, I tore myself away from the first Girl With book and looked at the poolside menu. We were NOT in Barcelona anymore, Totokins. The menu was in English, the server (immaculately clad in white white white) spoke English, and I had to search high and low to find anything resembling a bocadillo.
Pac-man trailing leaf-flames
But I did. I also found beef carpaccio with arugula and tomato. I also ordered a refreshing cocktail with Prosecco, something Kool-aid colored and berry-ey, and an unknown fruit/vegetable clinging to the edge. And even though I have told R2 a thousand times that mojitos are so 2005, he insists on ordering them always, so he got one.
Anyway, the carpaccio was smashing, though it could have been because we were ham-ed out, and also because I spent an inordinate amount of time constructing perfect bites over and over. Unlike other versions of this dish I’ve had, the accoutrements didn’t overpower.
Best shot from Spain IMO
Adam Carolla, when he was on Loveline, used to play Rich Man Poor Man, which was a game in which he tried to come up with things that were common to very poor people and very rich people, but not regular people. Things like “owns lots of dogs” and “has both a 23 year old kid and a 2 year old kid.” I think “going places on bicycle” could be one of those – poor people because they don’t has cars, and rich people because they’re on holiday at a swanktastic hotel in Mallorca just a beautiful bike ride away from the fancy restaurants in town. Accordingly, our hotel had bicycles that you could take as you pleased.
The bike path was, naturally, along the ocean, and just so lovely at sunset. R2′s bike seat didn’t adjust, so he had to stand-ride the whole way, but he was a good sport about it. Hard not to when this is your life:
I took this while one-handed biking and nearly died
The concierge (a blonde girl with an American accent that I didn’t buy – and it turns out that she was from Sweden I KNEW it!) booked us dinner at Forn (watch out for the loud music if you click on that link). There, we had a mini fight that was equal parts exhaustion from a long trip and unplaceable grumpiness that came from knowing the end of a fabulous vacation is rapidly nearing.
Mojitos special for 5 euros here goddamnit
It was a Gift of the Magi-esque kind of fight, where R2 assumed I wanted tapas instead of a sit-down dinner, so he was trying to make us not eat there, when I was fine with eating there and in fact wanted to, but was annoyed that he was mistakenly thinking I wanted to go to tapas and insisting on it, when it was clear to me that he wanted to eat there and not have tapas again and that was what I wanted too so what was the PROBLEM?
We were quickly distracted by strong cocktails (a cucumber martini for me) and napkins that started out the size and shape of a thimble but, once dropped in water, grew into the size and shape of a celery stick! Neato!
We had an exquisite (I know I throw that word around MTFB a lot, and I wish I didn’t because I should have saved the hullabahoo for this dish) gazpacho – thin as chicken broth but with tiny (I mean TINY – the size of birdseed) cubes of cucumber and red peppers suspended throughout. We also had the requisite pan spread with tomato (a dish I have recreated multiple times since – just grate a tomato, add olive oil, salt, pepper, and shablam – never need to use butter again, folks!)
I could have consumed this with a straw
Pictured above is cordero “a las 7 horas”, su jugo y cremoso de patata ahumada which I believe translates to lamb that has been cooked for seven hours. Have you noticed that these types of preparations, even in nice places, can sometimes have a displeasing gelatinous layer of fat in between the segments – soft as silk, but still disruptive to the textural experience? Well now that I’ve described that phenomenon to you in detail, I’m telling you that this had none of that. The fat was beautifully braised and rendered away – absolutely no knife necessary.
R2 had bacalao plancha, salteado espinacas, pasas y piñones y crema de parmensano - cod with spinach. Also great but not memorable, and could not stand up to the lamb-ey shreds still nestled in the back corners of my mouth (impacted wisdom teeth – what can ya do?).
We were presented with a complimentary digestive – a yellow fluid in a shot glass that tasted like licorice-y bird poo mixed with WD-40.
After getting some gelato nearby to wash our mouths of that unpleasant parting shot, we wobbled on our bikes back to the hotel and slept for 13 hours.
The next day we both woke up with colds. Fooey. We went to the beach and our throbbing heads were met with this, which didn’t help matters:
She should really brush the sand off her feet if she wants an even tan
To wash our mouths of THAT, we went to get something that we hadn’t gotten yet in Spain and were running out of time to eat – paella. We had avoided it thus far for two reasons. First, our guidebook says not to because in most cases it’ll be microwaved tourist gruel. Second, it’s tough for me with my extreme crustacean allergy (before killing me via windpipe swellage, they turn me into something that resembles Mickey Rourke. Or is it Mickey Rooney? Either or.) to find a paella that doesn’t have shrimp. Here, though, there were plenty of options and we ordered one with the ubiquitous bacalao.
Insert cornichon & olive joke here
While we waited, we hung out with Tweets McTweetserson and enjoyed a tinto de verano. The olives they provided were by no means outstanding, but the sun was so bright and the breeze was so delicious and our drinks were so much more tinto than verano so I was digging it all.
We also ordered calamares, which tasted like french fries.
Our server came out with a gigantic paella pan. We were like, Oh Shit we cannot eat all that, but apparently it was just for show. Once she was satisfied with the duration and intensity of our admiration, she whisked it away, and came back with a large plateful.
It was a bit oily, and not saffroney enough (people the world over are so stingy with their saffron that I’m not even sure I know what it tastes like!), but the AZN in me screamed triumphantly just because I was eating RICE again. The lemony flakes of fish were perfectly interspersed with the rest of it all, and even if this was shitty allegedly microwaved paella (I’m not sure that it was akshully), this dumb gaijin couldn’t tell the difference.
Yellow and ricey – made for me
For our penultimate meal in Espana and our last proper dinner there, we biked up and down the coast of Mallorca to find the perfect place. We found a good-enough place called something obvious like TapasTapas or something, and we were locking up our bikes when I got an epic mosquito bite on my leg. Mosquito bites to you are probably minor annoyances. To me, they begin by bringing a flush to the entire half of whatever trunk the bite is on, and then it starts to swell, horrifically, directly along veins that run underneath, making the bite look like a fleshy mass with fleshy flesh tendrils growing out of it, that then turns into a gigantic bump that looked, in this case, like an additional calf muscle.
The least visually terrifying preparation of tentacles I’ve seen
Scared off of sitting outside, I instead chose a table in the middle of three other tables with smokers sitting at them. We ordered some of our favorites from cities past (patatas bravas, pan, bacalao croquetas) and sampled the weirdest-looking pintxos from the bar. Tapas wouldn’t be tapas without pulpo a la plancha (grilled octopus – R2′s new fave). While all of it was standard from a taste bud perspective, we ate it all with tears in our eyes (and I, one-handedly, while the other scratched the shit out of my leg) for this was our last tapas meal.
We were cheered by a discovery in our hotel lobby – a bathroom that had a training toilet in it for the chitlins. I was thrilled. First rice and now MINIATURE VERSIONS OF THINGS? Be still my Hello Kitty heart!
Mr. Hankey Jr lives in there
We did our best to slumber off our respective colds, and the comfortableness of the bed did a great job in lulling me to sleep. The following day we were London-bound, but we biked over for one last hurrah back into Palma to get one last bocadillo and perhaps an Estrella Damm (as I understand it, Spain’s answer to Budweiser) which we had also yet to consume.
Of course, we chose the one eatery where they didn’t have it. Souls = crushed. We had a final jamon y queso bocadillo, which was equal parts stringy and plastic tasting. Not the highest of high notes to end it all on, not to mention the illnesses that we were both battling, but our sleep tanks were so full and the sound of the ocean was so relaxing that we couldn’t help grinning our faces off.