[Note: This entry was poorly posted due to incompetence with my iPhone, so I have re-posted it in the main area]
We are here in Madrid! Still working on how to upload my iPhone photos of the amazing tapas we are eating. Churros, Prosciutto and $3 bottles of rjoja make Madrid a foodie paradise.We were locked out of our room last night…they had to drill a hole in the door this morning. Ahh Madrid. The tapas was our main focus yesterday, with visits to San Gine for Churros, San Miguel’s mercado for olive masterpieces, the museo de jambon for cheap Serrano ham sandwiches and more tasty bits like the octopus and ham croquettes from 4 Robles.
The Mercado de San Miguel was my favourite place in Madrid. It was alive with locals and tourists, and the the food was always presented fresh and beautifully. The colours were alive. We went there twice; once by accident and the other to try our hand at more food before we left. V. loved the olives on appetizer toothpicks, whereas I was enamoured with the raw fish tapas.
There are full SWAT teams in the main square due to Spain’s growing protests against the failing economy. Exciting times. We ended up heading to a small place with marble countertops, 4 Robles, just before they closed. The potato and ham croquettes were around 7 Euros, while the octopus was another 16 Euros. I think we needed another mouth to feed to finish the whole dinner, but it was truly special – it was what I had hoped tapas would be like. I should warn travellers that there are tonnes of BAD touristy tapas places, too. A lot of what we saw while walking was like cafeteria food versions of the real deal. I can only suggest that you walk around and see what people are actually eating at each place. Guide books felt unreliable when it came to find the freshest and most interesting tapas.
We went to three museums today: V. and I preferred the Reina Sofia to the Prado. Picasso’s Guernica was a highlight for me, but the war photography was a real dark space. V. loved James Castle’s duck sculpture. One more day in Madrid before we head to Casablanca.
The first thing I noticed about the food in Madrid is that unless you are looking for tapas you will end up with tourist trap food like mush paella. As we walked around the Plaza Mayor and through the city, it became clear that the tapas trail would be the best way to dine. I am sure that there are killer restaurants in Madrid at killer prices, but we decided to save money and take more risks on small plates at various places than to risk it all on one big, and possibly awful, dinner.
The churros were wonderful. The thick chocolate reminded me of Jell-O pudding with a kick, and that was a good thing. We went twice, but neither time were we able to figure out how to get the big churro pieces. San Gines was a funky establishment from yesteryear, and I am so glad we made it there…twice.
One thing that we did not get to sample in either Madrid or Barcelona was sherry…maybe they were the wrong cities?