The evening began with a rendezvous at the Working Gringo’s colonial home, just a few blocks from my apartment, and introductions to URL (pronounced earl), their wonderfully friendly dog, which as a stray puppy the WGs serendipitously happened upon, rescued, and adopted. The WG’s home has been artfully restored, with lots of unpainted woodwork and furnishings, high ceilings typical of colonial homes, a babbling fountain, lovely floors, a beautiful modern kitchen, and a small court yard at the rear complete with a “plunge pool” and garden.
After a bit of interesting conversation and wine, we loaded ourselves into the WGs car and headed for a restaurant, neither the name nor location of which I remember, though I think it’s in Centro.
I do remember, though, that the restaurant was in a beautifully done colonial building, with columns, airy ceilings, and the kind of tiled floor in which the large angular patterns are formed by multiple tiles. The excellent, amiable service was provided by waiters in crisp white uniform shirts. The Bisstec Capricho, which I had and which I think in English would be Beefsteak Caprice, was good; the caballeros room was tidy; the company excellent; and the conversation was at turns jocular and serious, often political, and always thoughtful.
My only complaint with the restaurant was (and I’m sorry but I must rant on the subject) that the bartender minced the mojito mint. Mincing mojito mint is wrong, wrong, wrong. Muddled mint makes a mojito. The malignant malpractice of mincing, maladministers mojito mint making a maladroitly mixed mojito. The practice must be stopped.
Here’s the mojito recipe from the Bacardi web site. Is there a more authoritative source? By the way I checked Wikipedia, of which I learned a lot last evening, and found it has the recipe right. Muddle the mint, Wikipedia says; but it also says muddling lime along with the mint is “not authentic.” I’m going with Barcardi on the subject of the authenticity of muddling lime with the mint.
Muddle fresh mint leaves, lime and cover with sugar
(The accompanying illustration indicates muddling consists of bruising the mint leaves and lime against the glass with a slender, wooden muddler which looks like a tiny baseball bat.)
Top with ice
(The illustration indicates ice cubes)
Add Bacardi (1.5 ozs) and a splash of club soda.
Stir well and garnish with lemon wedge and sprig of mint
Mandy, a very colorful fellow in Trinidad, Cuba in whose home I stayed for a few days, would pick mint from his little patch in the inner courtyard and whip up mojitos for a buck each, though as I recall he used a spoon to muddle. After picking the mint he’d kinda of prance over to the muddling counter in a manner reminiscent of Dr. Joyboy dancing the roast pig into feed his immovably obese mother in the mid-60s movie, “The Loved Ones.” Mandy would also drive his early 50s Chevy through the cobblestone streets of Trinidad honking, whistling, and waving at his friends, which seemed to be all women. The guy was a complete card, which of course has nothing to do with last evening.
Someone in the midst of last evening suggested that we should each enter a report of the evening in our various blogs. Instantly, Working Gringa and KAT whipped their cameras out of their bags. The cameras came out so fast that I’m pretty sure I saw them smoking from the friction. I knew immediately that, to the extent the blogging suggestion constituted a challenge (and remember, I am male), I was a goner, for I had no camera. So for pictures of the restaurant and the salon you’ll just have to mosey on over to the Working Gringos and KATravels to view photos. They’ll also probably tell you the name and location of the restaurant.
All-in-all, it was an evening to remember. More Merida Magic.