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Spanish Secrets: Monopoly

In a column which really will make your mouth water,Craig Briggs tells how he turned a bank windfall in his favour into a delicious lunch in the beautiful town of Chantada.

Bank error in your favour - collect £200.

Unfortunately not £200 but 16 euros and 4 cents, but at least it was in my favour.

What an excellent start to the day.

A routine enquiry at the bank regarding an unrecognised debit from our account led to money being re-credited and unexpected good fortune.

Today was going to be a good day.

First stop with my new found wealth was the watch repairers. A cheap watch bought six years ago for 500 pesetas (£2) had finally given up the ghost.

After checking the battery for any sign of life, the watch repairer replaced it, reset the time and asked for 2 euros 45 cents as recompense.

Next stop was the post office.

"Three first class stamps to England please".

At 53 cents each, that totalled 1 euro 59 cents. My unexpected windfall was now reduced to exactly 12 euros.

I decided to take my wife Melanie out for lunch to Restaurant Lucas in the nearby town of Chantada.

Chantada is a beautiful place, sited on the banks of a meandering river. Narrow cobbled streets lead from the river to the heart of the old town. Here nestled amongst other buildings is a medieval church.

Imagine a Spanish style Haworth, York and Chester all rolled into one, but without the hoards of people.

Restaurant Lucas is situated off one of these narrow, winding, cobbled streets.

From the outside it appears to be a local bar. Walk through the bar and in the rear is a large restaurant. Patio doors lead out onto a roof terrace with scenic river views.

As usual the place was packed with hungry diners.

The, "Menu del Dia" (menu of the day) has a choice of four starters, four main courses, and at least ten different deserts. Also included is fresh crusty bread, wine, water and after dinner coffee.

For my starter I chose empanada, a typical Galician dish. It's a type of flat pie with crusty bread-like pastry. It can be filled with almost anything. In this case it was chunks of roasted meat and vegetables.

Melanie started with a selection of cold cured meats, cheese and chorizo.

For our main course we both chose lamb. It's roasted slowly in a stone built, traditional wood-burning bread oven. This leaves the outside crisp and the meat so tender it virtually falls off the bones. It was accompanied with chips and a fresh green salad.

Having watched the serving of mouth watering deserts to others, our choice was simple - chocolate mousse. All finished off with a small, strong, café solo.

Now let's see. What was left from this morning's piece of good fortune?

Ah yes, 12 euros.

And Menu del Dia?

By chance, six euros per head fully inclusive. Or should that be - community chest?




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