Christian and I attended a Sociedad Espanola dinner at Mardrid tonight. The restaurant relocated from the far reaches of Kenner to a very unassuming, one story brick cube on Harrison Avenue in a still somewhat desolate stretch of Lakeview. There is absolutely nothing enticing about the building itself but the meal was incredible. There were about 60 people in attendance and the restaurant was filled beyond max capacity. I was impressed that the chef and waitstaff could accommodate everyone and that the food was so good. I generally don't expect much when dinner is banquet style.
The dinner started with sangria (which was good but arguably the low point on the menu simply because it was on the weak side - this problem was remedied by the bottle of wine that someone at our table ordered and shared) and the glasses were refilled throughout the night. Bread was the second item out on the table. I am a huge fan of bread and it can easily make or break a dining experience for me. This bread was toasted to perfection and served with a delicious garlic butter. Maybe it is fair to say that the bread was so good because it was a delivery device for the butter. Tapas followed - bread with diced garlic tomatoes in olive oil, topped with Serrano ham, which was perfect - and then a roasted pepper with shrimp, some sort of sauce and (maybe) chickpeas, which was also perfect. The paella came next, steaming hot and filled with delicious bits of seafood and meat. The meal ended with a cool flan. You have to like flan to be able to appreciate what a wonderful desert it is...I love flan, it makes me think of my father, and I never miss a chance to eat it. It happens rarely, but in this case the dessert ended the meal on a high note. Christian and I picked the lucky table because one of the women ordered a magnum sized bottle of champagne from Spain (her family owns the winery where the champagne is produced). She was so impressed that it was available that she couldn't resist.
What happened towards the end of dinner is something that I really don't even know how to properly explain. A random duo of Spanish guys dressed in some sort of official, old-timey garb showed up and started playing some traditional Spanish music causing all of the ladies in attendance to get up and dance and swoon and disrobe (well, their jackets). It was something. I thought it was a group that was paid to perform for the occasion but later found out that these guys are traveling around the world singing songs and collecting tips (and kisses?). I guess Christian can explain more later, he decided to take them to see Rebirth tonight since they are only in NOLA for 2 nights and have never been here before. He brought them home with us and I think Molly (who babysat for James and Luz) had no clue what was going on. They played Besame Mucho on the front lawn and I just kept worrying that my neighbors would be like "whuuu" or that James would wake up or that I would wake up and think, "now that's not the kind of thing you dream about often".
At any rate, here they are, on our front porch, just minutes ago.
I am still not even sure what just happened. It is all very surreal. Who are these people?