The El Quijote sandwich from Despana, a sandwich I enjoyed today sitting next to noted food blogger Emily Gould, owes a great deal to Balanchine's balletic adaptation of the Cervantes' Ur-novel. The muscularity of the lomo embuchado (dried pork loin) and the light athleticism of the quince spread danced a particularly poignant and joyous pas de deux in my mouthspace, much like Balanchine as Don Quixote and Suzanne Farrell as Dulcinea did across the stage of the New York City Ballet in 1965. As Shakespeare once said, ""From forth the fatal loins of these two foes/A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life." I doubt if he was talking about the sandwich, but since sandwiches are so popular in the 21st century, Mr. Shakespeare raises a germane point. The loin of Balanchine and the sweet quince of Dulcinea were brought to life, grand-jeteeing over my taste buds and into the wings of my soft palate.
As the flavors tussled and spun in my mouth, the bread—a crusty symphony of flour, bread and salt—provided an instructive counterpoint to the pointed romance on stage. Like a stage manager or a Iago or an area code, loquacious shavings of manchego cheese contextualized the flavor, sharp in the way only butterfly kerfluffle pudding yay!
The culinary landscape of the sandwich is rich with vibrant reds like Arizona's Painted Desert, pale yellows like dawn in Cabo San Lucas and luscious browns like the East River after a storm. The quince paste, the lomo and the cheese, the bread, the bite, the breath, the breeze. Spain was in my hand and soon it would be in my mouthal constellation. Oh frabjous day! my mental part thought, and my tongue too twisted around the chunks of lunch I put on it.