Called Aunt Olive two days ago, and I later found out that in response to her rough night of heart problems last week, she has compliled a "death list" of five people she would like to see before she dies. However, she sounds no worse for wear on the phone, so this action might be premature. Or, maybe we should all do it right now.
I am on my way across the country. Last evening in a small freeway town I had the single most bizarre restaurant experience in my life. I was drawn into the restaurant by the sign which said it was Basque food. I have had very good Basque food before, so I went in.
The restaurant was dated and drab, yet at the top of the specials list was steak and lobster for $64.95. The listings underneath were just as expensive. I finally worked my way down to baked lamb for $14,95.
First came half a loaf of bread with a big bowl of soup, complete with a full-sized ladel. The soup didn't have much flavor. It was chicken and rice. I ate too much of it. Then came a huge lettuce salad. Just lettuce. Nothing else. The lettuce was covered in sour cream. It was not very good. Then came the main meal, served family style.
A large platter containing four huge chunks of lamb, baked to black. A dish of potatoe au gratin, which was a whole baked potato covered in cheese sauce. Then, for good measure, a dish of rice, a dish of boiled green beans and, bizarrely, a dish of spaghetti with sauce! This was food enough for a family of four and I was alone. I ate one out of the four chunks of lamb and was full. And it was awful. Awful. So I, for some reason, asked the waitress for a box, but the stuff in it, paid and left.
I dumped the box in the first waste basket I saw.
If that was Basque food, it isn't the Basque food I remember. It was more like a medly of dishes from a school cafeteria in the early 1970s.
I don't know if I will ever eat again.