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EL RACO D'EN MIQUEL, PONT DE MOLINS, SPAIN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

We go to Spain to shop about twice a year. It's a southern France thing. Lots of stuff is cheaper in Spain - clay pots, for instance. And cigarettes. Everyone who smokes and has a car capable of making the run buys their cigarettes in Spain. You can also find stuff in Spain that you can't easily find in France - sherry, Hellman's Mayonnaise, and rioja come to mind. So, twice a year...road trip to La Junquera, a paradise of malls, groceries, and liquor stores. And food courts. And Spanish food court food is...yes...food court food.

We all have our own takes on what constitutes a good meal while on the road. For some, Cracker Barrel works just fine. Waffle House, too. (My European friends will just have to imagine what one finds in a Waffle House. I'm not going to try to explain.) Others prize out-of-the-way diners that serve juicy burgers, fresh-cut fries, and homemade cherry pie with hand-dipped ice cream. I admit to being of the latter persuasion. I also admit to having failed to have figured out how to find exceptional road food while traveling here in France. Regular readers will know that bad meals here are few and far between. But a road food meal is judged differently than a pleasant interlude in a local cafe. And when it comes to Spain, I just have too little experience.

We started our latest shopping excursion in Figueres to check out a huge pottery outlet there. It's a bit further south into Spain than La Junquera  but worth the trip. Good prices on clay pots and saucers. When we headed north, we came across El Raco D'En Miquel along the old highway that parallels the toll road. As lunchtime approached, we decided to give El Raco a try.

We  arrived just at noon and, although a sign said that the restaurant was open from 8h00 to 22h00, we were informed that lunch service did not begin until 12h30. That made sense as the wood fire was just being laid under the grill. Would we like an aperitif while we waited? So we nursed beers until a waitress with no French or English arrived and, through a series of pantomimes suitable for the kiddies, explained our luncheon choices. (At La Junquera, everyone speaks French and English in addition to Spanish. Fifteen minutes further south? Not so much.)

The menu was diverse and interesting. I started with a salad chevre chaud (hot, fresh goat cheese). Tasty. The girls both chose grilled asparagus topped with slices of grilled ham and tomato. An interesting take, perfect when asparagus is in season, and well executed. For the main, I had a piece of grilled sausage, interestingly spiced. Liz had grilled rabbit, a large and meaty quarter. And Cathey had a heaping plate of crispy fried sardines. With simple desserts, a jug of rioja for the girls, and another beer for me, the total came to under 40€, the meal formula at 11.50€ that included the wine and one beer, plus the three beers while we waited.

Fine, hearty road fare. You can read more of my restaurant reviews HERE.










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