Spanish cooking is very traditional fare. Unlike other European cultures, there is not a prevalence of foreign foods on offer in the bustling cities of Spain. There are exceptions, of course. If one looks hard enough, you can find a smattering of Japanese, pizza and even burger places. However, the preponderance of cuisine in Spain is very fresh and very Spanish.
That’s why when Mrs. NH and I stumbled across these patatas alioli, we took notice. It was in a restaurant tucked in a side street at the top of the old town of Tossa de Mar in northeastern Spain called La Lluna. The patatas arrived piping hot with an inviting garlicky aroma. The shape was the first thing we noticed. They were round, restaurant namesake appropriate half-moons of perfectly crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside potatoes. They were still covered in bubbly tender skin. The edges of the moons were flaky and crispy and the whole piece was sprinkled with just enough sea salt to really make it zing on the palate. The alioli was thick but began to melt slightly as it rested on the warm potatoes adding a luxurious creamy texture to the already fluffy, smooth centers of potato.
Mrs. NH and I have always been huge fans of patatas alioli but this batch stands out as one of the most delicious versions we have encountered. The dish pushed the boundaries of the traditional dish in both shape and pure rustic goodness without leaving behind any of the authenticity.
The dinner at this restaurant was so good that we decided even before we finished our first meal that we would be back again the next night. As if to punctuate our decision to the friendly and helpful staff, we left proclaiming “hasta mañana!” Needless to say, we kept our promise.