We’re in Spain, arrived yesterday so this is our first full day. There isn’t a coffee pot in the room and so we ventured out early to find coffee and maybe some breakfast. Surprisingly the coffee shops listed in Google were all closed until 10 AM. So we grudgingly decided to have Starbucks, which was right around the corner since we’re staying at a hotel near the train station. On the way to Starbucks we were diverted into a diner, as breakfast sounded like a good idea and afik the diner was local. We really try to have what’s local, rather than what is familiar. McDonalds would have been easy but soul crushing.
Most of the places we’ve been, diner food is’t considered the best. While there are some fabulous diners, overall they run to the low end of food quality. This diner was interesting because it seemed to cater to an international crowd. We ordered from a picture menu and got well prepared food, my “bacon” was cooked perfectly. The bacon however wasn’t the same cut of meat, while it looked very similar to American bacon it had three or four chunks of gristle running down the center of the slice.
The ratings for the diner were uniformly bad, even mentioning the wait staff were hanging out behind the counter with a look of ‘why am I at work’ on their faces. While our waiter was fine – and our table service prompt I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the place unless you want an experience in what some Spaniard thinks English food is like. This is one of the interesting parts of traveling, the patterns and norms of the local community are obvious when you get to stay there for awhile and you try to venture out of strictly tourist space. We could have had breakfast in the hotel, but beyond that the pickings were slim.
The bacon pointed up how hard it would be to open a truly authentic restaurant in another country. Partly of course it’s the clientele, they have to want to have authentic regional food rather than what’s comfortable for them. Partly it’s the availability of the food, they have pigs here, and they are fabulous but to get real American bacon someone has to know how to butcher the pig. Today it should be relatively easy to find that information but even just 50 years ago that would have been very tough. I certainly couldn’t show a Spanish butcher how to cut bacon, and I’m not sure how I could get him that information if I wanted to. By the way that’s one ingredient on the menu.
What was uniform world wide was the clientele of the diner, it was a few older couples and a few younger couples. The older couples looked like us, a little disoriented and surprised to fine themselves here and the younger couples were one of each. One group the girl was happy and smiling and (acting) infatuated with her man and the other one was quite clearly over the loser.
We’ll have to do a little better with the research and find some better places to have breakfast. It seems that’s not a common meal to eat out here, and if you do it’s more like second breakfast around 10. Google is our normal go to for information, but we’ve found for restaurants in cities it’s not really the best. Many times it doesn’t show the restaurant or shows it (or us) in the wrong location. We’ll have to work on finding a better resource for that.