Five Star Food, No Star Prices
Soaring ceilings, funky interior making the most out of an enormous building that used to be a tannery, handsome German chefs, open kitchen, beautiful, nay, stunning food - am I in the meatpacking district of New York? Covent Garden in London? The Whatever they call the hippest part of Paris?
No! This is INCA, a slightly run-down, working class town in the Mallorcan countryside.
The place manages to be both cavernous and intimate at the same time - not a mean feat in a room with a five metre ceiling.The owners have taken great care to create a cozy atmosphere, most importantly by using diffused yellow light and putting up some open-style bookshelves to separate the dining area from the bar, which doubles as an event space. Yes, you can rent it for your next wedding or company dinner, it costs much less than in similar places in Palma AND they have a licence to keep the live music going until 2AM!
But even if you are just going for the food - go go go! It's worth travelling to Inca, or much further, just for that.
I told my friends "I eat anything" but of course that's not true. Come to think of it, I am a rather picky eater. I hate fish, slimy things, things hiding in murky depths of hotpot or soup, any innards... especially liver. And yet I love paté! (I also dislike olives but love olive oil. Discuss.) And the paté of Sa Fabrica is so beautiful, and weird, that if it hadn't been a teasing starter, I would have had only paté for the whole meal.
It came - I'm not kidding - in a drawer, served on a bed of rocks. The bread accompanying it was moist and succulent with a hint of cinnamon - SO good, but even better was the home made tomato butter. Yes the serious looking German chefs make everything from scratch on the premises, even growing their own herbs and vegetables just outside the door.
YUMMMMM! Oh, and the Mallorcan wine (did you know we have 40 indigenous grapes here?) - SO special. If I have to use one word to describe Mallorcan wines, I would say "meaty." It's just so full of flavour, so rich. And get this: Sa Fabrica makes their own cava!
Then there was another local wine called Sa Fita. And then, pumpkin soup. Beautiful! I have never tasted pumpkin soup before because I thought it was too hippyish, but this looked so appetising I just had to throw my anti hippie priciples to the wind. Then came a risotto made especially for me without squid ink, because needless to say I hate squid ink, then a piece of pork belly that melted even on the fork, let alone in the mouth, oooooh, I wish I had it here, now, and finally the absolutely gorgeous beef, the end. Oh yeah, and two desserts, one of which was cheese that looked and tasted like ice cream.
I have never understood this dessert thing and was very reluctant to rinse away the lovely beef taste in my mouth with something sweet, but of course it was fantastic, lovely and great. GO THERE. Oh, and only 30 euros for that whole menu. In Hong Kong it would have cost 110 euro per head, at least!
Then it all came undone, for: "Would you like some Bailey's?" came a sonorous Swedish voice. I love Bailey's. But what they served was a bucket of Bailey's. If it hadn't been for that, I would have leapt out of bed like a young boar out of Schwartzwald this morning, for those Mallorcan wines are super healthy, organic etc. Bailey's, on the other hand...
But SO worth it!
Go to Sa Fabrica. And if you don't live in Mallorca, come over here, come to my Chinese New Year's Party on January 25th (details later), and THEN go to Sa Fabrica.
Hola everybody, clap your hands! New year, new country, new language.
Well, not exactly new. In fact, it's been almost two years that I have been trying somewhat halfheartedly to learn Spanish. It's just not the same as Cantonese. But then again, what is?
But I have to learn it. I have to. Then there's the added concern that I live in Mallorca where the local language isn't Spanish (Castillano) at all, but Mallorquin! So the language I hear around me is different from the one I'm trying to learn. Yes, total "Ahhrgghhhhh". Anyway, the first step is to try to get more victims for Spanish World Hong Kong, through the medium of Cantonese- see the video above.
The second - what else? Make a Spanish course. It's called Learn Spanish without Really Trying. Isn't that what everybody wants? I'm 20 pages in and it's kind of fun! Not as fun as Cantonese. Nothing is. But, you know - tolerable.
Did you know that Norwegians eat more ice cream than any other people? That's right! Even in the darkest depths of January, there they are, gobbling down the cold stuff because it warms the heart.
One of the things I do is write content for Isbilen on Facebook and deal with all their customers. It's fun! When I made the video, I got to meet all the people who work at the depot in Hamar - jovial and affable one and all.
It was fun to see the people's faces light up as the Isbilen rolled into view. Apart from bringing life-giving ice cream, the drivers at Isbilen also play a big role in providing human contact for many, as you can see in the video. I had a great time BUT I still haven't tasted any of their products!
That will all be remedied when I go to Bergen next week, to the very heart of Isbilen, for an ice cream tasting the likes of which world has never seen!!!
Eat your hearts out, ice cream lovers - I'll be living your dream.
You know in a pub quiz, when the picture round is 'Famous people's eyes'? I have never come across these eyes in such a quiz. It's just too easy to guess. Oh, the intensity. If Picasso hadn't been a famous painter, perhaps the most famous painter of all time, it's not difficult to imagine these eyes staring out from a mug shot, an infamous mass murderer awaiting trial and execution. Yes, strangely enough, in this most self-assured, perhaps a bit megalomaniac, artist's eyes, I also see fear.
The Arts Society of Mallorca has done it again! Super-kudos to their programme secretary Eddie Erlank (above) - he is like a heat-seeking missile in finding the best, most riveting speakers. Yes, riveting! People were on the edge of their seats as Val Woodgate listed the possible 1% (7) of all the girls and women Pablo Picasso restlessly ploughed through during his long life, with more or less disastrous consequences. Even I knew that two of them had committed suicide, but I didn't know that both of them had done it on or close to his birthday. The ultimate self-harm as revenge, hoping that NOW he'd be sorry?
And yes, as the very funny Woodgate remarked: "Picasso was devastated. For four, five... almost a week!" Everybody chuckled of course, as we did when she said he was a serial monogamist ... with many overlappings. Yes, comedy is tragedy plus time. But I couldn't help thinking of these women. Forget about the dumping and overlapping; how could he have treated them while they were together? Was he so kind, interesting and attentive great in bed that they never forgot him and chose to kill themselves when they saw there was no chance of getting him back? But if yes, how does that explain his son drinking himself to death and his grandson also killing himself?
With the women it's easy to imagine him first fixing those laser-beams on them and staring them down, then treating them as if they were the only woman in the world, showering them with attention (maybe the first time anyone had done that) and making them feel like a goddess. For a week. And then dropping them so hard that they never recovered. It's harder to see how he could have such a devastating effect on children and grandchildren, but as his granddaughter Marina said in her book Picasso: My Grandfather: "''He drove everyone who got near him to despair and engulfed them. No one in my family ever managed to escape from the stranglehold of this genius. He needed blood to sign each of his paintings: my father's blood, my brother's, my mother's, my grandmother's and mine. He needed the blood of those who loved him -- people who thought they loved a human being, whereas they really loved Picasso.''
So - yeah! Cheers! It was such a good talk though, by a woman on top of her game. She made me interested in finding out more about Picasso, an artist I have hitherto ignored. I really only like his blue period where you can see what everything is and there aren't dicks sticking out of each nostril, but Woodgate fortunately showed us some of his early work. At the age of 13, he was already a very accomplished painter with the technical skills most artists three times his age can only salivate about. I KNEW it! To be able to break so many rules so virtuously, you just have to follow them first.
But geniuses are always excused, aren't they? I wonder if he would have got away with such behaviour had he been born in, say 1979. But then he wouldn't have been Picasso anyway, and had the upbringing and brain construction/underactive cortex that together create the type of genius that is driven (I'm guessing here) by fear of spending even a second not being the greatest, most potent man on earth.
If you live in Mallorca and want a deeply interesting, very different (and social) experience once a month, join The Arts Society! It's only 70 euros for a whole years' worth of being riveted! And the wine and tapas afterwards are very, very good.
P.S. The photos have nothing to do with Picasso or his relatives. They are just of fun people and wine I met.
I spent parts of December - gloriously sunny every single day except the 13th and 14th when my friend L was visiting from Hong Kong - shooting pleasant scenes around the island. Here is the result: