Saturday, March 04, 2017

Restaurante Casa Roberto in Valencia, Spain

Paella Valenciana

One of my main reasons for going to Valencia on this trip was to get a proper paella. Of course, paella is available all over Spain, but apparently purists argue that most of that is not done the right way. The original version from Valencia is not supposed to use soup stock nor have seafood or green peas, it seems. Nor is it supposed to be served for dinner (just lunch!). I thus tried to find out which places were good at doing the real thing.

Unfortunately, most of them were a good drive outside of the city. More importantly, they basically required a two-portion minimum in order to be done properly (i.e., single servings out of a large pan are not fresh and are basically for tourists). Fortunately, a fellow foodie from yesterday's food run was happy to share a pan with me today, while our guide helped to set up a reservation at this place (19 Carrer del Mestre Gozalbo, +34-963-951-361), which is within the city yet still famous for its rice dishes.

And yes, I think I get it now. The key was how much the flavors pervaded the firmly cooked pearls of rice. They kept the layer of ingredients thin in the pan, producing a little bit of crispy soccarat without being excessively hard to scrape off. All in all, it was just very well balanced, inclusive of the rabbit, snails, artichoke, and fava beans inside. One day I'd like to come back to try the arroz a la banda, a local dish that *does* use fish stock and squid, and is topped with aioli.

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