Earlier in these pages, there was a long and tortured story of another dinner at la Vierta at just about this same time of year. That dinner was mysterious, sultry, ominous, supernatural, and then revelatory, washed in rain and ash.
Not so this time. A couple of years on, the Tzigane restaurant hidden in a low place up on the plateau felt almost like home. The ladies have a new wardrobe for serving, this time in yellow, much less somber than the black. The Gypsy Kings were not there, and the music was more standard crowd-pleasing Spanish fare. And the rosé has declined somewhat from the crisp cold vintage we remember of yore into a common restaurant-sweet version that goes down much… slower.
But we were not averse to a little less superlative in our lives this year and a little more stability, truth be told.
We did get lost on the way, as is tradition. Maybe there is a little gypsy magic left in the place yet.
There was the usual excess in food, music and dancing, and last night we were favored also with a special dance (the terms vary widely in these parts, Gypsy, Rom, Roma, Bohème, Romani, Gitan) by an uncommonly well-formed young woman. She came out of nowhere into the center of the circle and strutted and flourished like Salome under the colored lights for a brief spellbinding performance.
The origins of such flamenco-like dances are obscure, like those of the restaurant itself, an inimitable palimpsest of cultures and influences.
I highly recommend the warm and garlicky salade de chèvre chaud and the gambas à la pendule. But then they serve the steak tartare as it should be served (piecemeal not already mixed!), just exactly. Maybe both, next time.