Tapas

What is a tapa?

If you ask me, a tapa is an aperitvo that is given to you free of charge when you order an alcoholic drink. You don’t choose your tapa, you take it or you leave it. “Tapar” is a verb which means “to cover” and the tapa was originally used as a small plate to cover your drink from flies while advertising the bar/inns menu to the mainly illiterate diners (if you ordered a full portion you might want to ask for it with or without extra flies)

But don’t you choose your own tapa and have to pay for it?

No, that’s a pintxo/pincho. Obviously this may not be any sort of dictionary definition, but it’s what I consider to be the difference between a tapa and a pintxo/pincho (same pronunciation…i’m using both spanish and basque spelling because i’m like so inclusive an’ shit)

Run that by me again?

Ok, imagine you’re a UKIP/Drumpf supporter. Yes, you can cover your head in tinfoil and wear old ladies underpants and hide under the table if it helps you get into character.
So, you’re currently chanelling a UKIPper/Drumpf-birther…how do you tell the difference between a wife and a sister? yes, you get no choice about your sister and although you have a very very limitted choice of non-related females to have disappointing sexual relations with, you do have a choice, at least you can choose not to be with that person…but if you choose to be with them, you have to buy a drink.
so…the tapa is your UKIP sister that you’re stuck with but at least you don’t have to pay for; the pincho/pintxo is your UKIP wife whom you have chosen from the gene pool that is glad you’re not in it

(little bit of politics there! thank you very much. Little bit of observational comedy now…5ps eh? what are they all about?)

So why not just go for pinchos/pintxos?

Are you slow? You have to pay for the pintxos! And not really a very affordable way to eat your tea if you’re a working person and have to pay your taxes and get by on the pathetic salary that remains. If you’re not all that hungry and one pintxo will do you, then go for it.

The tapa you get tells you how the gods feel about you

Sometimes I’m given no tapa at all…because I have a stupid guiri face so fuck me and the horse a rode in on. In those cases I shake my fist at the gods (obviously i don’t complain, because i’m british-ish and we prefer to keep that sort of thing inside and just feel afronted and disrespected)… I probably wouldn’t do this if any gods actually existed cos they’d have powers and would smite me in some way…the one in the bible, Valdomort I think she’s called, would proably cover me in boils.

If the gods are smiling upon you you might get:

  • some pork scratching
  • some white anchovies
  • some calamari
  • some/a meatball(s)
  • some prawns
  • some patatas brava

If the gods are thinking you’re a bit of a dick you might get:

  • crisps (something i can happily live without. nice in a sandwich, but generally a waste of time)
  • peanuts (yeah, thanks…why don’t you just put a gun to my head and shoot me)
  • russian salad (what did the russians ever do to the spanish that they have this disgusting “salad” dubbed “russian”?)
  • olives (now, i like olives well enough but as a tapa it’s disappointing)
  • mussels (I like mussles, but i’m not going to voluntarily eat a mussel that’s been sitting at a madrid bar when madrid hits +37º)
  • any traditional Madrileña food…which is mainly fried offel or offel in sauce. pigs ears for example, the sauce is nice enough…but why do you want to eat a gristly bit of pigs ear if you don’t have to?

Where can I find decent tapas?

Not in the touristic centre of Madrid, that’s for sure…nor anywhere near any part of Barcelona. In Madrid, make sure you cross over Calle Segovia, going away from Plaza Mayor

  • El Tigre – edge of Chueca, behind Gran Via. Famous for huge tapas. Explains why it’s always packed with students. and why the caña isn’t that cheap. you won’t need to be ordering dinner though. they’ve opened up two new Tigres in the same part of town.
  • Taberna Tirso de Molina – you have to leave it completely in the hands of the gods. you can almost guarantee that if you’re really wanting a tapa that you’ll get crisps. You’re not in the slightest bit hungry or are just having a drink before you go for lunch, you’ll get pork scratchings.
  • Casa de Asturias, Calle Argumosa – no need to pay for your tea here.
  • Basically anywhere south of Plaza Mayor that isn’t a poncy place for ponces or a touristy place for tourists. But i make no promises, you have to be right with whichever god or gods you pray/sacrifice to.

Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife

After inventing the internet, I wasn’t sure what to do with it….I thought about just filling it with porn and funny photos of cats but then I decided nobody would be interested in either of those things, so I decided to write about my lunches and call it “a blog”
Fast forward a few years and life has changed…if you look hard enough you’ll find some porn and some funny cat photos on the internet and my “blog” has changed as life has changed.
I’m not as skint as I used to be and I’m more open to leaving the barrio than I used to be and more open to splashing some cash on a good meal.
So, I had a week off work to use up and I was quite happy to just enjoy not being at work…but seemed like a bit of a waste…plus it’s fecking hot in Madrid at this time of year. So i booked myself in to a 5star spa-hotel in Tenerife for a week. the plan was to do nothing all day every day. and that is what i did and it was brilliant, should have doen this years ago. As my hotel room included just breakfast (and what a breakfast!!!) i generally went into the town of puerto de la cruz most evenings and had some great meals. So the aim of this post is to let you know about some of these Puerto de la Cruz restaurants, should you find yourself there and hungry

  • Meson los Gemelos

Came here on my first evening and on my last. Lovely looking place inside….is like you’re outside and inside at the same time. good service and about the only place on the island that doesn’t just play cover versions of Beatles songs constantly.
First visit i had the hake and started with the canarian cheese…which was quite tasteless aside from a vague smoket taste. the hake, that also came with papas arrugadas with mojo was impossible to finish as it was huge

Second time i was there i had the conejo con salmorejo…for two reasons, first is that i love rabbit and i love salmorejo….2nd, ordering conejo appeals to my teenage brain (cos in spanish it’s like ordering “pussy”….yeah, hillarious!) not sure how exactly it was salmorejo was more like cacciatore sauce…delicious, but not what I was expecting.

  • Tasca Olvio

nice place. nice staff. facebook clanes it’s open all day but it ain’t (i did my knee in and was having to rely on the free bus back up the hill to the hotel so was wanting to have my tea erlier than i would usually). i had the bacalao with prawns and papas

  • La Carta

as everywhere on this island, staff really really pleasant and really good at German…i’m a bit embarrassed that ich habe kein wort deutch sprechen…not even a puta wort of it.

I was going to order the rabbit with salmorejo but the owner (of the restaurant, not the rabbit) explained that it wasn’t on the menu in summer. so i chose the house speciality which was black pasta with langostinos, courgettes, cream and basil. i make a similar dish at home and was a bit wary of spanish pasta as, in general, they don’t really know how to cook it and it’s almost always overcooked…but this was lovely, better than my own. Restaurant has a nice balcony terraza

  • Bodega Julian

I would possibly say that this was the most outstanding meal I had on my trip. I couldn’t decide whether to have the filet of lamb or the “symphony of langustinos” so the waiter suggested i had half portions of both…or half portion of lamb and then if i felt i could manage it, have a half portion of the symphony. genius. what goes well with that? yes, a full bottle of local white wine.

the symphony of langostines

the lamb was amazing, with sweet potatoes underneeth. very very slightly spicy. i’d have asked for the recipe but almost impossible to find lamb in madrid that isn’t just chuletas or piernas

eatinganddrinkinginmadrid was staying at the Hotel Botanico & the Oriental Spa Garden