Our Daily Dinner

Our Daily Dinner

July 18, 2010

A Spanish Feast

I had a sudden urge for Spanish food. Heat notwithstanding, I took the subway to Soho and, after a few wrong turns, found Despaña Brand Foods*. In contrast to their place in Jackson Heights -- crammed on Saturdays with purveyors, chefs and restaurateurs—the Soho store was empty, except for one woman who couldn’t decide what size paella pan to buy, and a young couple with two children having pastry at the store’s self service café.

I treated myself to a Gazpacho before looking around the store. Samples of chorizos, cheeses, plus various dips were displaced at the deli counter and the packaged food station. I stocked up on as many items I could carry and went home. To create an authentic Spanish dinner, I bought a bottle of Amontillado, recommended as the perfect food sherry by the wine store’s salesman. All of this was rather extravagant, but I figured I’ll make it up with a Chinese meal sometimes this week.


Boquerones (anchovies in vinegar and vegetable oil)
White asparagus
Traditional Chorizo
Seranno Ham
N.J. Tomatoes
Haitian Mango
Manchego, 3 mos.
Lustau, Dry Amontillado Los Arcos

Packaging is not Despagña’s forte. It took three different appliances to open the asparagus can and a lot of patience to remove the wrapping from the Boquerones package. Once this was accomplished, I curled up the anchovies, and put them on a small plate with some toothpick. I arranged the main bounty on a long platter: the asparagus spears, napped with mayonnaise, thin slices of tomatoes, the heated, sliced chorizo, curled up Seranno ham along side Haitian mango, and chunks of Manchego.

The asparagus from Navarra were succulent, better than any asparagus in recent memory. The chorizo was mild and well seasoned. I had forgotten how good Serrano ham tastes: lean, chewy and very macho. It paired well with the Haitian mango. The young sheep Manchego cheese nicely rounded out the meal.

My only gripe was the sherry. The Amontillados was slightly sweet and heavy. I didn’t like at all. I should have bought a Fino.

“That was a nice dinner,” said George.

I agreed.

*Despaña Brand Foods
408 Broome St., Soho (212) 219-5050


Robert said...

Working in Soho, this entry will send me back to the "Spanish store." I'll probably purchase cans and jars, however, that will sit on my shelf forever. The range of foods you prepare is remarkable. Although I have over a lifetime become familiar with all cuisines, when it comes to cooking and my selections from restaurant menus, I stay with my few favorites. Not that I dislike other foods, but I go with my addictions. It wasn't always the case, but now I try 5 or 6 recipes in a new cookbook, variations of food I like, and that's it. I wonder if others have this trait. Peggy

Our Daily Dinner said...


I know you and Robert prepare excellent meals. But since both of you work, you don't have the time to experiment. Also, you and Robert go out to eat and travel.

For us, food has become the highlight of the day, so I try to make it interesting.

Lana said...

It’s always fun to read about all those little extra details: how you made couple of wrong turns before finding the store or that it took 3 different appliances to open asparagus. Somehow for me it makes all more personal. I also found it gratifying to find out George’s reaction to the meal.

I also thought that it’s peculiar that Chinese meal is now considered an opposite to extravagant food.

Our Daily Dinner said...


You are my most ardent follower. It certainly makes me feel good.