Yesterday Ellian and I started a little joke. Every god damn thing that I / the other new practicantes make they say “Si bueno pero… Falta sal”. And I’m a big salt lover – so the idea that I’m not adding enough salt is a new one on me. So I’ve just started walking around pointing at things pensively and saying, “si pero falta sal”. This tickles me to no end.
I plopped myself down to do “ajo y chile” next to the practicante we call “Harry Potter” (actual name as yet unknown) – he’s 35 with big round glasses. And poor little Harry Potter – I did my standard morning greeting, “durmiste bien?” (Did you sleep well?) and he looked at me earnestly “no” and and told me that his Airbnb got robbed last night with his computer and money stolen! The police came and the way they were speaking to him, and questioning him, he thought they might be on the corrupt side of things.
And then I got the very fun activity of going down to the service kitchen to use the Josper – which is a fancy and trendy piece of equipment that effectively allows you to have a little BBQ at an extremely high temerpature in a professional kitchen. I had the very fun and satisfying job of carefully burning about 100 beets for the newly created beetroot / agave / basil dish. It was 8am, so there was no one about and I decided it was an excellent opportunity to blast some Dolly Parton.
I then went back upstairs just in time for prawn dispatching. These big ol’ suckers arrive to the kitchen, frozen but twitching and occasionally jumping(!!). My job is to snap off their heads, harvest the very cool roe that they are clutching on their bellies, take the shell off the meat, clean out the “caca” track and chop into a fine paste for the shrimp tartare. We then take the heads, scoop out the bad bits and blanch them. The heads are served as the vessel for the tartare. It’s served on a large, black plate with flowers adorning. It looks and tastes stunning – the tartare being mixed with (I believe) the oh so tasty guacachile emulsion we make in the mornings. And it’s all topped off with the shrimp roe which we briefly cure and smoke. And all of this has to be done within about an hour of the shrimp arriving to the restaurant!
The day went quickly from there with our standard mixture of cooking and deep cleaning.
After work Mom, Dad and I went out to Guisina Oaxaca nearby the restaurant. A delicious sister restaurant to Casa Oaxaca which is actually in Oaxaca. Oliver our new Danish practicante just finished a stage at Casa Oaxaca and recommended Guisina Oaxaca. It was delicious. Hoja Santa “tacos” stuffed with (if I remember correctly) some kind of grasshopper filling. And these tiny little squash flowers filled with a delicate, sweet queso fresco. And then for mains we had an incredible beef barbacoa with this tiny little corn cake – so simple but delicious. And all topped off with a pastel de elote which was a bit dry but wonderful flavour and an incredible, delicate rose ice.
So tired, it’s time for bed!