17 August 2006
What's for dinner?
One of the great joys of going on deployment (or for that matter, hitting a liberty port) was trying the food in different places. Oysters in Nanoose Bay, miso and yakitori in Yokosuka, a multi-course meal at the Sung Dynasty Village in Kowloon (Hong Kong), haggis in Glasgow, bifsnadder in Trondheim, swordfish and a glass of white port in Lisbon, moussaka and souvlaki in Crete, pizza quattro stagioni and a mezzo of white in La Maddalena, paella (the real Spanish rice) and gazpacho in Cartagena, fish & chips in Dunoon or Gibraltar....
Do you like Indian food? There was a wonderful place in Tokyo, though I'd never be able to find it again (if it's still there). I remember watching YNC eating the tandoori chicken, with huge tears running down his cheeks. He said it was good, and he finished it all, but his idea of spicy food was the boat's spaghetti sauce.... My favourite Indian restaurant was the Bombay, in Dunoon; I ate there at least once every payday.
Here we have plates of insalata caprese and bruschetta, as served at Ristorante l'Aragosta, in La Maddalena.
L'Aragosta is one of my favourite restaurants in the world*. It's not a fancy place, and it doesn't have a big menu, but what it does have is a lot of good, authentic Italian food. I first discovered it in '93, during my first visit to La Madd, and friends and I went there several times during the '01 and '03 deployments. A starter or two, a mezzo (or even a litre) of wine, and whatever struck our fancy from the rest of the available selections.... And then we'd wander down the street to a gelateria for dessert.
Another restaurant I really enjoyed was the Trading Post, in Glasgow, though it doesn't seem to be there any more. (I couldn't find anything about it on Google, anyway.) It was in the basement of a building near the river, just a few blocks from the train station. The decor, to go along with its nam, was Wild West - traps, guns, 19th-century photos, a bison head behind the bar and a moose head in the dining room (or maybe it was the other way round), &c. The tables were about four feet square, with most of the space taken up by a grill in the centre. The waitress would come along and drop off menus, then return with a basket of bread and a bowl of garlic butter; she'd light the grill, take your order, and then leave you to toast your garlic bread while she fetched the meat. The meat went onto the grill, and you took it off when it was done the way you liked it - no complaints to the chef that it was under- or overdone! The rest of the meal came from the all-you-can-eat salad-and-veggie bar, drinks came from the bar, and after you finished the meal you were taken into the lounge to order dessert.
* Others being the Trellis, in Williamsburg VA, and Uncle Louie's, in Norfolk VA.