The Spanish town of Segovia is famous for a few things:
Its Roman aqueduct — still standing since it was constructed in 50 A.D, it consists of 163 arches made of 20,000 granite blocks and not a drop of mortar.
The Alcazar — the castle which inspired Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle at Disneyland.
And Cochinillo Asado, a roast suckling pig that’s supposed to be insanely tender and flavorful.
Unfortunately, in a town run over with tourists, cochinillo asado can’t be had for less than €25 a person. While my travel budget has improved since my study abroad pasta-only diet of years past, I’m not quite at the level of affluence where I can drop that on a lunch. Especially after being set back a cool €1,550 on my first day of my 43-day roadtrip.
But then I stumbled into Restaurante Amado, whose menu del dia offered a three-course, pig-toting meal for just €11. Granted it wasn’t the cochinillo asado, but having seen the piglet leg on another guest’s platter, I couldn’t pass it up.
The meal began with a mixed green salad, which I know is normally against the Unvegan rules, but this salad was doused with no less than 8 liters of vinegar and half the Dead Sea’s worth of salt. And I’m pretty sure that there’s an unwritten Unvegan rule that if a green successfully raises your blood pressure 150 points, it’s OK to eat.
The main course was ridiculous. You could still see the baby hairs on the piglet’s skin and you could cut the fat with the side of your fork. I’m not good at writing up flavors, but it was damn good.
I told the old school Spanish waiter, “El puerco fue mas impresionante que el Alcazar” (The pork was more impressive than the castle) and I got a hearty chuckle. I’m fairly certain that every time an old school Spanish waiter chuckles, no less than six angels get their wings.
The dessert was slightly underwhelming as it was a plastic container of Nestle vanilla ice cream with an expiration date that read 03/2014.
At first I was a disgusted by the level of preservatives I was about to ingest, but then I realized the ice cream was just as impressive of an engineering feat as El Aqueducto, and I shoved it in my face so it could sit in my stomach for the next 1,960 years.
Justin Adler blogs about roast-piglet-related things and un-roast-piglet-related things at wherespmac.com.