I had two lunches yesterday. The first was an invitation to visit and eat with an Elderly British couple. We had fried turkey breast and a glass of white wine. Followed by an ice-cream on a stick. We talked about the weather (it's been raining this week). I then made my excuses and drove along the beach to a restaurant which is opening soon for the season. It was a Spanish friend's birthday and an enormous table for thirty or more had been laid. People came and went as more and more platters arrived from the kitchen. I was sat next to two local people I knew slightly, with a Danish couple seated opposite. My neighbour passed me endless pieces of meat, sausage, morcilla, alioli and salad. The man on my other side was more concerned about my glass. I had at least three drinks in front of me at one point (although, looking at the picture now, I seem to have been the only one). Pedro was running around telling everyone to eat and drink more, as his sister looked on approvingly. A cousin invited me to go hang-gliding over Easter and a young woman asked me about journalism, as she was studying both this and the English language, and was soon to leave for Malta. The Spanish, of course, know how to eat and enjoy themselves.
I skipped dinner, by the way.
There's a thread on the Facebook with British residents discussing local Mojácar restaurants, which is the best of them and so on. Very positive. There must be a hundred places, with local and foreign cuisine: Spanish, Basque, Madrileño, French, Brazilian, German, Greek, Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Indian, American, Italian, English, Irish and Argentinian. The choices for best place, though, and seen through British eyes, seem odd. The cheapest and worst are mentioned regularly with enormous enthusiasm, while some will only eat in those family-owned place with ridiculously large menus. One poster noting: 'We are very spoiled here, we try to only use Spanish owned restaurants/bars, we are in Spain after all' (as if anyone else should know better than to open a restaurant in Mojácar, a philosophy strictly adhered to by the local population outside of election time). Perhaps the poster should have chosen to live in a more Spanish town. There must be some of them left... in Jaén or Mérida or somewhere.
Eating out should be a leisurely mixture of good food, good wine, good company and good service. Skimp on these and you might as well stay home.