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Hope, disappointments and secret pork

Updated: Jun 15, 2021

You know how no matter what happens to people nowadays they just shrug and say: “Because - 2020”?

Well, I haven’t really understood this stance until the day I had lunch with my editor in chief, let’s call him LeFet. When he invited me out I hopped up and down like a toddler on a springy bed with joy, for I normally spend my lunchtimes alone, gnawing dejectedly on bark.

Delirious with joy and hunger I walked all the way from El Terreno to Foners, only to find the restaurant closed with angry black shutters. My heart plummeted from K2 happiness to Mariana Trench dejection. But wait! On the other side of the street was a promising looking restaurant: Las Palmas. It looked like the typical ye olde corner shoppe European restaurant you see in photos, with cobblestoned streets and French geezers in flat caps staring at a bottle of red wine.

The place was indeed packed with geezers, and a flat screen tv covering half the wall flashed away with much shouting and colour.

When I discovered that the cooks and waiters were all Chinese, my mood started sprinting up the North Face again, for I love Chinese food above all things.

Seeing the waitress was like being catapulted back to China: Young with a megaphone voice that could carry plates, just crossing over from screechy Minnie Mouse to full fishwife. Although I speak fluent Mandarin, she would rather talk to LeFet in her very strange “MallorChin” that he didn’t understand.

Then this beautiful guy turned up, a young Manchurian bannerman type with an affable manner and great hair. Woo hoo! Rollercoaster upppp! For I love the northern Chinese man above all men. He understood everything I said of course, and started listing all the cities in northern China.

But they didn’t have any Chinese food. Oh no….

But they had food! Woo hooooo! I ordered calamari, which is also a Chinese dish called ‘pepper and salt cuttlefish’ because you dip the succulent pieces in a mixture of pepper and salt. And soy sauce. LeFet ordered a salad and some fish and chips that was actually beef and chips.

The salad arrived in all its glory: Beetroot and crabsticks, and, to make it more suitable for Mediterranean tastes, proudly decorated with an enormous slice of pineapple, on top of which sat majestically half a boiled egg.

When my food came I had no blood sugar left in my body, but I wasn’t so hungry that I didn’t notice: These calamari were seriously crap. White with fright, chewy, all attempts at taste surgically removed. My only comfort was visual: a slice of pineapple (but half).

Still, the TV was good, the waiter handsome … the sparkling water sparkled well. And the beef was succulent, according to LeFet.

Oh, and the place was packed with locals, so it can’t be all bad.

The problem is all with me and my emotions, and my cellular memory, for whenever I see Chinese people, I expect great food to happen.

Secreto iberico

…and we are back in Foners, this time having checked the opening hours, and there is Uncle Leo’s, shutters wide awake, welcoming the world! I don’t know what I had been expecting – oh yes! Something grill-like, you know, mahogany panelling, carpets, shiny brass, a roaring fire, for the place is called Leo’s Bar & Grill. It’s Argentinian!

The outside signs are modern, black with a funky red cow, sorry, bull.

However, the inside is not dissimilar from Bar Las Palmas; fake wood floor, shiny tiled walls, but where BLP was glowing with a nostalgic yellow hue, more 1968 than 2020, Leo’s is intensely white, hospital like. Very modern. It also has a TV, but of a laughable size and only audible from a few hundred metres away.

Still, the food is delicious, scrumptious, delectable. A succulent chicken so tender it could be eaten with a spoon for me complements LeFet’s just as tender secreto iberico. Secret pig? A quick internet search leaves us with three different places on the pig the secreto, described by one writer as “supernaturally tender” could come from.

Some say it’s called secret because it’s so delicious that Spanish butchers kept it for themselves, others say it’s because the sought-after strip of meat is hidden under belly fat. But spoonworthy it is.

A good-sized warm salad comes with both our dishes, as well as the usual fresh bread. The coffee seems to taste different from, much better than, the usual bitter Palma fare - is it Argentinian? Or is that even a thing? Is it my busy mind trying to make this ordinary-looking café into something romantic because it has great food?

The waitress takes away our plates and: What an epiphany! There’s a paper place mat with a drawing of a pig, all the various parts written out. Loin, hock, jowl, spare ribs … and BUTT. But guess what, the butt is right up near the head! (And the secreto is, naturally, not shown.)

Aha! Only a couple of days earlier I had heard that “a buttload” wasn’t the same as “an arseload” or “a shitload” but that butt was actually an official measure used in the days of yore or thereabouts, meaning “an amount of liquid equivalent of two hogsheads”.

Woo hoo again! If this isn’t worth walking to Foners for, I don’t know what is. Delicious food, lots of knowledge, and at a very good price: Only 17,90 for two big main courses, a coffee and two beers - alcohol free, naturally. I skip and jump home, happy as a pig in a buttload of s***. Because - 2020!

Bar Las Palmas

Carrer General Ricardo Ortega, 21

07006 Palma

+34 971 05 27 68

Leo’s Bar & Grill

Carrer General Ricardo Ortega, 19,

07006 Palma

+34 604 29 26 57

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