Easter eatin’in

Why do we have Easter? Nobody knows. It has been suggested that someone once had such a Good Friday they decided to keep the party going on. I’ve had a week off work, so I don’t really care why we have Easter.

I’m 12% Viking and 12% Iberian genetically, so I had a hankering for Bacalhau yesterday. Decided to try my hand at Novo’s classic Black Miso Cod

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Marinade very easy and bloody delicious…2 tablespoons of mirin, 2 tablespoons of sake, 2 tablespoons of miso paste, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and just mix it

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Cod loin. I had to go frozen as there was no fresh cod at all in fishmongers…maybe there are more of us luso-vikings in south-central Madrid than I thought. So I put the loin of cod in a freezer bag and poured in the marinade then vacuum sealed the bag with its contents. Then went to the pub. Didn’t have most pleasant experience in the pub, I was quite happily reading my book when this woman attached herself to me, almost literally, and started conversation asking what I knew about pharmaceuticals as she’d taken something I’ve never heard of…my go-to don’t’ disturb me or ask me for money is to just deny I speak Spanish and then deny English if they happen to speak that too, they get the message and don’t tend to disturb me more…this lass was having none of it and proceeded to read aloud my book word for word without knowing a single word of English. This went on for an uncomfortable amount of time, made more uncomfortable as she was pressing herself against me more and more, possibly in an attempt to stay vertical and so I was almost falling off my seat trying to get further away. All of this is being played out in front of the bloke she came in with who, I just assumed was her fella. Also she’d obviously smoked a fag earlier and so stank, I was hoping she’d fuck off outside to smoke again but no sign of it. Finally someone distracted her and I said I had to leave as I had my dinner in the oven, leaving half a pint undrunk there in a bid to escape. She didn’t really want me to leave because our bond was obviously so great, but can’t really argue with having to get tea out of the oven, so she let me go as soon as I gave her a kiss goodbye. The end.

I’m like catnip to drunken lasses who stink of fags and who may or may not be overdosing on pharmaceuticals. Maybe I should have given her more of a chance, maybe she was The One, after all last Friday night I was unceremoniously dumped by the lass I’d been seeing for the last 8 months . Actually, i’d probably been dumped some time before last Friday but she let me know in a very clear way that our time together had come to an end even at some time previously. Unnecessarily cruel way of doing it too, if you ask me. But she believes honesty beats crualty . 99 problems, man.

Anyway, so I got home and set the water-bath for 50c and began to think what to have with the cod…for no reason I thought it would go well with gnocchi and beans in a tomato sauce…so I made a simple tomato sauce, chopping an onion finely and softening that, bit of garlic, drop of wine, passata, can of white beans, bay leaf

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that’s a really small dish by the way, which is why it looks so messy

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bit of oil in the skillet with some chilli oil mixed in. opened up the bag of cod and marinade and reserved the marinade which I put in a pan on a high heat to thicken, then fried the cod

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e voila.

I overcooked the cod, like a twat…but the gnocchi and beans were a revalation. I also managed to forget about the thickened marinade sauce.

merry easter

Augmented Humanity

Great title, innit! Unfortunately, after having come up with this great title, I googled it and somebody had already coined the phrase, in fact the ex CEO of Google. I should have firefoxed it instead. bollocks. Actually though, this CEO had a completely different use for this/my phrase.

What this is about….apologies that this has zero to do with eating, drinking, in Madrid or anywhere else…is about the way our relationships and friendships have changed in these interesting times we live in. And how these relationships and friendships come to be.

My mate Dan told me that his brother had gone missing and had been at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester and that he was worried as nobody seemed to know where he might be, they’d checked all the hospitals in the area, phoned all his friends, and the most worrying thing was that Dan’s brother had such a hefty social media presence and nobody in cyberspace seemed to know where he was either. Dan feared the worst and a couple of days later his brother Matt’s remains were identified. I didn’t know Matt, the brother at all, but my shock and sadness were no less real for that. I realised that I had known Dan for almost twenty years but we’d only met a couple of times when he visited Madrid to do a vomiting in metro stations tour of the city with his girlfriend-now-wife-motherofhischildren. We’d actually become friends on a Brit forum a bit like a third rate Reddit, mainly populated by porters in an Oxford hospital. We’d probably had more contact over the last ten to fifteen years than I’ve had with my more analogue friends that I made at school or university or various jobs.

I also remembered another similar friendship. A few years ago I was putting it about a bit, as you do, and I e-met a lovely woman on tinder. we never actually met never mind the ONS* that tinder exists for (which could become a TwNS*, a ThNS* or even a TWYNS* depending on what the pair of lovebirds decide) as we matched while she was waiting at Barajas airport for a flight back to the US of America after a holiday in Spain. But we kept in touch cos she’s nice and she’s funny and she’s interesting and she’s haaaatttt, and you never know, she might visit Spain again. I’m certainly not going to visit the shithole™that is the US of A. Too many guns, too many racists, not enough hospitals, not enough schools, not enough public transport, too many coppers who would probably want to put a cap in my arse. Well, this lovely woman, has quite a big presence, on social media and off it (I’m not saying she has a big arse, no…she’s quite well known as a businesswoman and activist) and she received a worrying message from a friend who seemed to be having a breakdown or was in some sort of trouble. She missed the call and the fella wasn’t replying when she rang back. To make matters worse she had no idea what part of the big country he might be living in these days. So she activated her social media resources and the guy was tracked down by a copper who was a cousin of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend, on the other side of their shithole™ country. He wasnt in the best of states but he was unhurt, he was safe and was able to be looked after. Hurrah for augmented humanity

*ONS=OneNightStand…nobody wants them apparently. I think it’s considered a sin or some shite.

*TwNS=Two night stand, see above

*ThNS=Three Night Stand, see above

*TWYNS= Twenty Years Night Stand, see above

+ my own…NKaNA=No Knights and No Anal. Just so you know, if we match on Tinder, Grinder, Scruff, Snapdirt©, DirtyChat©, H8R© or FaceTwat©

While I’m on the subject. internet dating is the modern version of the old 80s meme, voting tory being like wanking…nobody admits it but everybody does it. Actually, I take that back…voting tory now is quite open and those that do don’t just wank, they also put their dicks into dead pigs mouths and try to foment racial hatred and try to sell off the NHS all at the same time. Our ancestors met their SO (Special Other) at school, or at university or if they were paricularly gross, at work. But luckily they were able to die of TB at the age of 32. We have to live well into our 70s, which is lucky cos we can then have about two weeks of retirement before our body gives up and we become less of a burden to the tax dodgers. Meeting an SO, or a ONS for that matter, is just chance anyway, so why be proud of it or ashamed of it…you happened to be in place A and uttered the words Y and Z and you happened not to be with your X. If you meet on tinder you don’t have to be in place A, you can decide how far away you want to look…1km, 10km 100km or whatever. And what if AYZ and X all align perfectly but he or she turns out not to love laughing or life or travelling, doesn’t ski or do yoga, isn’t a friend to his/her friends? you’ve just wasted your damn time, Holmes, I hope you didnae pay for his/her drink. shit happens, bruv

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here’s a picture. of madrid. you could eat or drink or do both nearby

Sous Vide ribs

Why do I keep going on about sous vide? Well, I’m like an apostle or an evangelical or some sort of fanatical shit. I think, at the heart of my mission is my hope that people live their lives better in terms of eating and drinking in Madrid, and outside Madrid. Sous Vide might look like unneccesary faff or fashion… but it delivers outstanding results and turns the cheapest cuts into five star shnizzle. and the faff is outweighed by the lack of faff…it means you can set it all up and pop off to the pub for a few pints before finishing it off before you eat.

My mum still goes on about these ribs I made for her years ago…I think I slow cooked them in a stock and then roast. So if they were good slow cooked, I reckoned they’d be even better sous vide. and they must have been good ribs in the first place…because I made them and my mum has something positive to say about them.

I’d tell you pork ribs are cheap as chips, but that would be a lie. They are cheap but slightly more than chips. you could get enough meat out of them for 6euro for 6 people, especially if you cook them right. There’s 1 of me so I spent 6euro on ribs and divided the rack into 4 so that they would fit easily into a vacuum pack. I poured honey over the ribs and then some mustard, then stuck them carefully in the bag trying to make sure not to get the marinate onto the front part of the bag…wasnt careful enough and had to clean with kitchen towel a few times. then vacuum sealed the bag….set the water bath to 70c and when it was ready I put the 4 bags of sealed pork into it. let it cook overnight and most of the morning (this was about 9pm at night). After watching Match of the Day on Sunday morning/afternoon…I peeled two spuds and sliced them hasselback style..salt and pepper and pinch of paprika and a spoon of butter then vacuum sealed a bag. took the pork bags out and left them to cool to make easier to deal with. put spud bags in the water bath and went to my local to read while drinking beer.

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Flashforward 3 beers later. I went home, took the spud bag out of the water bath and turned off the Anova and put it away. Opened up the pork bags and poured the liquid from it into a pan. Put the pan onto a high heat until the liquid had reduced. carefully put the meat onto a raised oven shelf thing (bearing in mind, this meat is so soft it could just fall apart)…poured over the reduced liquid and put the pork into the oven until they browned

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the meat was so tender and tasty. and still had some of the reduced liquid to pout over a wee bit onto the butter braised hasselback spuds

Still a load of meat left the next day, so I pulled out the ribs by hand (just a matter of pulling them out, the meat is so tender) and put the meat into a nice bread roll with melted cheese and topped with fresh spinach

endangered, threatened, at risk

Not till we are lost, in other words not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are.

What am I talking about?

Yes, menu del dias. The greatest thing Spain has to offer. Our light. Our rock. One of the reasons we love this country, this city, this barrio. The menu del dia is threatened with extinction and when it is completely lost,our lives will be poorer for its loss.

You might suggest that I am exaggerating, that menu del dias do exist, but my reply to you would be to look hopefully at you but then snort because I have realised that you understand nothing, Jon Snow. A menu del dia needs 3 courses (or a coffee instead of pudding), bread and enough wine and casera to last 3 courses and the space that lies between those courses, so a bottle at least. A glass or a mini carafe just don’t get the job done does it….what you going to do, sip it slowly like you’re lost in the dessert? We are trying to enjoy the good things in life, not just barely managing to survive. A real menu del dia used to be ten a penny, but that’s what the Khoikhoi said about the Quagga, until they turned around and couldn’t find a quagga for love nor money. We need to discover or rediscover the few remaining menu del dias and we need to show them the love that they deserve, we need to keep them safe. for ourselves, for our children and for our childrens children

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Last week I went upstairs in Anton Martin market in Lavapies Alta to have a menu del dia in the wee place run by the South American family there. a good, honest, authentic menu del dia. full bottle of wine, nice chips and a chupito to digest with. single figure price too. Was it open? Was it fuck! it doesn’t even exist now. Instead it’s a new Italian restaurant. I didn’t even see any mention of a menu del giorno. I wandered out of the market, in a daze, my sense of loss fighting with my hunger for dominance. I found myself on Calle Fucar

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I remembered A’Cañada, somewhere I hadn’t been for years. I stopped going there simply because the menu del dia was always huge and would bury me for the whole day.

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yes. It’s still there and exactly the same. Not been replaced by hipster beard tattooist or flooglehorn dealer. The menu is still hand written, includes bread, full bottle of wine, and closed with the traditional chupito. We still have our culture. We are not become Malasana or worse

Calle de Fúcar, 20
28014 Madrid

I had cuban rice followed by plancha grilled sea bream with salad followed by pudding and a chupito of orujo. short walk home to collapse on the sofa and fall asleep to BBC Radio Nottingham Matchtalk and Forest losing to Hull

Casa Benteveo

Cafe Benteveo is one of my favourite cafes in Lavapies Alta (Anton Martin) run by Argentinians and an English bloke and part owned by the bloke who played the prison officer in Celda 211. They have taken over the restaurant that used to be called La Otra Casa and now it’s called Case Benteveo. Serves Argentinian specialities as well as other things. Yes, I can feel you looking at me all annoyed that I don’t update this blog very often….you walked all the way to La Otra Casa and the fucker had closed down

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they do a menu del dia during the week, but being able to go for a menu del dia on a weekday is now just the stuff of dreams. so I went on a Sunday. I think it was my birthday. celebrations came much later…although not much to celebrate at my age.

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I dont remember what this was called and cant find on their menu on facebook. but it was basically slow cooked cochinillo which was then pushed down and fried…came with spuds, salad and a delicious sauce. was really really excellent.

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my partner (partner in crime or cowboy partner, not sexy partner) had the Milanese of beef with mozzarella. No first course other than a vermut each, nice bottle of Rueda and a coffee for my pard’ner.

Around 20 each

nae bad at all. very nice folk running it, if that sort of a thing bothers you. oh and great bar almost next to it for a pre lunch aperitif or post lunch digestif. or both

here are the deets

gardening leave

You may have noticed, or you may have been blissfully unaware, that I haven’t posted any new eatings or drinking in Madrid. Here’s why…

First of all, work has been mental and I’ve barely had a moment for the last few weeks. not that I’ve ever spent any time at work eating or drinking or writing about either….but I’ve been getting home and just collapsing on the sofa or the bed and on the odd day off I get, I’ve just wanted to stay home and recover for the next round of constant harassment and work. The whole thing is completely the wrong way around your work five or six days and then get two or one day….should be completely the other way around…5 or six days off followed by 1 or 2 days work.

The other thing is…I’ve gone gluten free. This is actually easier than you’d think if you eat at home and don’t leave your barrio. I’m lucky enough to live in the best barrio in Madrid, I don’t have to tell you that is Lavapies….and our Carrefour has a huge sin-gluten section. You can get pasta sin gluten that you wouldn’t know wasn’t normal pasta…beer sin gluten that is fine (Damm came out with the first one, called Daura…but oddly enough it’s Mahou Sin-Gluten that is the best)…even oven pizza sin gluten (not the best oven pizza I;ve ever had…but hey) and two bars on my street serve mahout sin gluten (La playa and El Automatico)…that said…going gluten free isn’t so easy if you want to eat out or drink out…or write a blog about doing either or both. I-m not allergic to wheat I don’t think and dont even know if I am intolerant but I want to be wheat free for a month at least just to see if I might be.

Ny family are generally quite slight but I eat much less than anybody in my family and I’m very easily full up….so I’m thinking it might be wheat intolerance. Maybe I shouldn’t have left this thought until I was 46 years old. It was also suggested to me by a friend because her husband (or partner…not sure if their gods have condoned their union) used to snore badly and then went gluten free and stopped snoring…and now if he accidentally eats gluten she gets no sleep.

I snore. Badly. It’s a fucking war crime to say the very least. My girlfriend must be a saint for not just getting out of bed at night, going to the kitchen, taking a knife and stabbing me to death as I sleep. I feel terrible guilt for this and although I’m almost perfect in every other way, She really doesn’t have to put herself through this. I’ve tried everything…a thing that goes up my nose;a thing that forces my mouth shut at night; a mouth guard that forces my jaw forward and keeps my mouth open; those nose clips that Robbie Savage used to wear; various sprays…nothing worked. So I’m trying gluten free in attempt to keep the most wonderful woman I’ve ever met. I also have just bought a humidifier and eucalyptus essential oil to out into it. I have an app that records my snoring and gives each night a score (highest being the worst) and my snoring has gone down from a score of 180 to a score of 3. So something must be working.

If a combination of the gluten free plus humidifier doesn’t work I shall have to look into getting exorcised. or worse.

Anyway, that’s why I’ve not been eating or drinking or posting. wish me luck. I might look into selling the blog name, as it is the first thing that comes up if you google “eating drinking Madrid” so that must be worth something.

If anybody wants to send me a review of their own, I’ll quite happily publish it.

Peace out

Gofio – posh Canarian food

Yeah. I’ve sold out. I ain’t keepin’ it real no more
This is definitely not an old skool menu del dia restaurant. Quite the opposite. It’s like a restaurant from The Trip. There’s dishes that come with foam, there’s dishes that get injected in front of you, you get instructions with each course. and there are eight courses of tiny but delicious weird dishes.
We felt like we should be constantly doing impressions. But I find that gets a bit wearing when professional impressionists do it, so the fifth time a scrote like me says “No, Mister Bond, I expect you to die!” you’re actually wishing you could die. “What do you mean Flash Gordon approaching?”…impressions are even worse when you have to say who you are trying to be…”What’s that supposed to mean, Scott?” (Guy Pearce in Neighbours)

So, this restaurant is in Huertas (or if you prefer..Lavapies Alta Norte) and it ain’t cheap. But i’m assured by my brother that for this sort of high class food in the UK you’d be paying an arm and a leg for this sort of an experience. And as everybody there is on zero hour contracts, you’ll need those arms and legs…even though you’d still be considered fit for work and sent back to poundland without them.

this is going to be hard to write about as there were 8 courses and wasnt completly sure what any of them were…mainly when the male waiters brought them over and insisted on telling us about the dish in very difficult to understand English. The female waiters were quite happy to explain the dishes in their native tongue, which made them much easier to understand. I wasnt too worried about what the male weighters were rabbiting on about as they had checked for alergies beforehand (and i’m deathly alergic to all nuts and all dirty bombs. and killer sharks. and i can’t breath in space. not allergic but i dont like beer over 6 per cent. think i got everything covered there)
Basically you have 3 options…they are all tasting menus…menus degustation. you can have short menu of 6 plates/courses, 8 plates/courses or ten. we went for the middle one. 35euro. Bottle of white wine from Lanzarote

first course…now this is easy….chicken soup. I’m sure they’d done something else to it than just chicken soup. Was delicious. “We took a chicken and made it fight a bear. an angry bear like in that film with Leonard Di Capprio. Then we got the chicken to appear on celebrity big brother and get off with an ex-wag and come at least third. Then, and only then, did we turn him into soup. Enjoy!”

next course/plate was a scallop with a foam of something delicious…in a sauce of delicious.

next plate/course was a pie of something, goat maybe. and injected with rabbit salmorejo…which is not salmorejo you know, there’s not tomato in it. there was something about the green veg it was served on and we were warned that we would be shown the door if we didnt eat the greens. fair enough

really not sure what the next thing was. Was maybe pork inside a damson style thing. with a sauce made of super concentrated baby squid

absolutely no idea. was nice though. the crispy thing on top was made from corn. i think. oh the wee gobs of sauce were made from avacado

Octopus. with a sauce. very delicious.

meat

this was the last “salad” course….he meant “savoury”. think it was goat stew with something on top and a slice of strong sheep’s cheese to the side

Pudding one. Lemon mouse thing with mint

pudding two. mine was different to my partner’s. mine was sort of chocolaty. thing the other one had evil nuts in it

all in all, i cant see myself eating there regularly. 115euro for 8 courses for two people and two bottles of lanzarote wine (very nice by the way…sort of smokey and dry) but was definitely a positive experience which i highly recommend. just dont make sure you dont sit next to a pair of dicks doing crap impressions

Meson Valle del Jerte

I once met a woman, no bear with me. This woman said “I don’t like menu del dias!” which to me is a bit of a strange thing to say….i can imagine someone saying “i dont like cheese” and not liking cheese….but if you said “I don’t like lunch” that, to me, is a bit weird. I have a feeling she didnt really know what a menu del dia was and was just repeating something she’s heard someone say, as she kept asking questions like “how many courses do you get?” “do we really get all this for 10euro?”
As i have mentioned, the menu del dia and our very way of life is being eroded and there are some areas of Madrid where it’s nie on impossible to find a proper menu del dia. and even in a civilised place like lavapies-sur (embajadores) they aren’t all over the place at weekends. So when you’re hungry, thirsty, tired and it’s a saturday and the grain of sands left counting down the lunch window are disappearing, it great when you remember a proper Menu Del Dia place is just around the corner.
So i ended up in Meson Valle del Jerte just opposite Frangus just below the rastro. Jerte is a small town near Caceres but for some reason this restaurant has some connection with Portugal. They sell Sagres and Pasteis de Nata, but maybe it’s just because its opposite Frangus and they buy from there.

Look at that! That’s a site for thirsty eyes….not only a full bottle of wine for one person, but a large bottle of Casera to mix with it. To be honest, i generally find myself rationing Casera as much as wine.

hell of a lot of seafood paella. i wont be going thirsty or hungry

Baked Bream (Dorada), the fish being baked atop the spuds and veggies. Lovely

oh and pudding. chocolate tart. Didn’t bother taking photo of dessert. it’s just dessert.

Old Skool no frills home cooked Menu del Dia. 14 euro (well, it is a weekend). I was able to get myself home and onto the sofa to siesta till half past seven half listening to a hiphop spotify playlist. Tell me if you had a better saturday!

La Cabana Argentina

Was my partner’s birthday so I took them (non gender specific pronoun) for a steak. I’ve walked past this place a few times and did my due diligence and it had good reviews. Also, did a bit of extra research as I’m a nob. Turns out that the best cut of steak to order in argentina is bife de chorizo or strip steak for you angloholics…it’s a cut that is tender but has enough fat to make it tasty. Your tenderloin or solomillo is apparently like shagging a model…looks good from a distance but not really much to it. and is skinny, smokes and does charlie. If a barbecue joint does a good strip steak, apparently you know its a good place. So i thought that even if its a rubbish meal, we’ll at least leave knowledged up about this place.

So obviously we ordered chicken nuggets and strawberry milk shakes. well done!
No… we ordered, well I ordered as I’m the alpha, 500g bife de chorizo en su punto (which is not rare or medium rare…it’s literally to the point…you’re saying…let the meat decide)
chips bien sur.
bottle of end of the world Malbec from Patagonia. a very nice drop yo.
Total was about 100euro for the two of us.

http://lacabanaargentina.com/contact

will definitely go back. but may take a year or so for all that meat to leave my intestines

Coffee in Madrid

I like my coffee like I like my men: hot, bald and slutty

Ok, that doesn’t make any sense. I’m probably just telling you that i drink cofee; I’m bald; I will most probably put out (I tend to let love rule) and in the right light, which is mainly a lack of light and no obvious exit, I could be considered attractive. Depending on how much you’ve drunk and what prescription your glasses that you’ve left somewhere else are.

I think the hipsters have moved on to artisinal beer these days, so I’m on safe ground to write something about coffee. Without being called a hipster, despite living in Lavapies and having a beard. Also, I’m too old to be considered a hipster. No tattoos, no kids, no dog. Guess that makes me a goth. or a hippy or whatever other clique is today’s counter cultural bête noire. I’m probably just a scruffy chav with sophisti-pop tendencies with a passion for Lovejoy, “Africa” by Toto, Soviet art and Come Dine with Me. Don’t think i’m exactly on the zeitgeist.

So, Coffee, Cawfy, CupaJoe,Java…what’s it all about, eh? As an ex-Englishman who became didlyeye culchie Oirish I grew up drinking a mug of tea more often than the jitter juice…but that changed in my early thirties when I left Istanbul and went to live in Lisbon. Fresh milk wasn’t a thing there at that time and nobody sane is going to put UHT milk in tea, are they? so i moved over to C8H10N4O2. Not a bad descicion to be honest, as it turns out that by the far the betterest coffee in the world is served in Portugal. A stint living in the south of Italy kept the coffee monkey on my back, so it was a bit of a shock when I moved to Madrid, 14 years ago now, and drank coffee here. Jesus, how do they make it so bloody aweful? Thankfully, some people are actually getting the hang of it and there are places you can find that serve half decent coffee.

Some basic rules:

  • This isn’t Italy, don’t feel confind by Italian rules of decorrum. You can have a coffee with milk after 10am if that’s your jam. Nobody is going to be reporting a dangerous maniac to the popo.
  • If you want your hot beverage to be more than tepid, you’ll have to make sure you ask for your milk to be muy caliente. Like my men….
  • If you want to be able to taste the coffee in your relaxing cafe con leche, ask for it to be largo de cafe.
  • Look for a sign showing they serve either Portuguese coffee (eg. Delta) or Italian Coffee (eg. Lavazza or Illy

Places that serve nice coffee in the centre of Madrid

Cafelito (near Plaza Agustin Lara)

Mercadillo Lisboa (in Lavapies market)

Go on…have a custard tart and a small glass of vinho do porto or a glass of Licor Beirão

Taberna Tirso de Molina

(Delta coffee)

Bar La Piola (Calle Leon) CLOSED DOWN

Mas Corazon (opposite Anton Martin Market)

if you’re Hank Marvin…order a pincho of their amazing tortilla…you get a fair old wack.

La Cana (on the way down towards Reina Sofia)

they do a lot of various (expensive) fruit juices too. Illy coffee.

*all the photos came off the old there internet, raining so i couldnt be going out and taking fotos myself. mianly from the locations own facebook or tripadvisor page

** new mac and new keyboard, got an english keyboard and so the punctuation has got me all a bit confused. so add in any necesarry punctuation using your own imagination.

The dark side of gentrification

Seems like half of Madrid has today off…hope they worked last Saturday like I did to warrant it. Means almost every restaurant full so I’m in the back up to my back up to my back up..but was running late and my window of lunch opportunity was closing. About as old skool and friendly as you can get. No frills, no Wi-Fi and bad phone connection but the telly on so you’re not completely disconnected with the outside world. Reasonably priced at 9,50€ for 3 courses with bread and wine….

I had the traditional inexpensive menu del día first course of Cuban rice (rice, two fried eggs and tomato sauce)

Main course, bacalao a la riojana (big chunk of loin of cod with a tomato and pepper sauce..with chips)

And I’ll probably have pudding…fuck pudding, but if I have coffee i won’t be able to siesta.

But look at this picture and see what is worrying me…

Yeah..a half bottle of wine. What is this…world war two rationing? Sharia law?

I worry that we’re becoming Malasaña and our traditional way of life is on the way out. I notice the new cereal bar doesn’t do a menu del día….jus’sayin’…slippery slope innit.

Don’t panic…all is not lost…they still gave me free aperitif. Phew

Calle Lavapiés

La Polonesa

Summer is long gone, so I’ve started feeling a bit ridiculous walking around with my enviable beach body. It’s getting bleedin’ chilly so I thought I needed to work on my draw dropping curves. What better way to do that than get some carbs down me. Now where can I find stodgy food aside from 98% of Spanish food? Something to put some meat on my bones and reduce this infernal cold..I know…northern european food, or better yet, eastern european food. A colleague told me about this Polish restaurant not far from the epicentre of Madrid. It’s in Pacifico/Menendez Palayo…a barrio I have previously mentioned as a hidden gem of a barrio for eating and drinking out…and only a 5 minute walk from Atocha.
I should mention my relationship with Poland. I’m from North Notts and we’ve had a large Polish population there since they came over to help the allies defeat fascism, and while Elizabeth II was practicing her zieg heils in the mirror while wearing some godaweful hat paid for by the tax payer, Poles living in Britain were either flying Spitfires in the Battle of Britain or they were mining coal to assist the war effort. I went to a catholic school so we were mainly Paddies or Poles. This is back in the day, before Rupert Murdoch and the Hitler supporting owner of the Daily Heil decided that they needed to demonise Poles while taking a short breath from making up stories about Islam. Not sure why they decided to demonise eastern europeans, but I suppose it’s the same as any target for these scumbags…less of them and easier to identify as they actually have skills, speak more than one language and are actually hard at work…unlike, say, your Nicholas Faräge type who has never done a proper day’s work in his life and has no obvious skill or talent. Also, if you can tell stupid people that they are being attacked by “others” they won’t notice the actual attacks to their way of life by the greedy priviliged natives…such as selling off the post office, the NHS, the land regestry, child protective services for fuck sake (which will be renamed “Child PRODUCTIVE servicing Inc” and a proportion of abused children will be sold off to a paedophile ring of British aristocrats. No…i definitely didn’t mention anyone whose name was Andrew Prince or anything similar)
Anyway, long and short of it. I grew up among British Poles and we lived quite happily together before they became enemies of the state. I went on a short holiday to Krakow when I was in my 20s…this was in the days before cheap air travel so I went by train as it was cheaper.
What I noticed about Poland as the train crossed over from germany into poland was that it seemed like we’d suddenly travelled back 50 years in time. The fields were suddenly being ploughed by oxen rather than tractors and there were far more carts going down the nearby street than 4b4s. The buffet car of the train suddenly had an actual stove and they were selling hot food rather than microwaived food or crisps….and you could afford it! and a beer!
The week or so I spent in Krakow, I generally ate in a mexican restuarant because i could afford to and it wasn’t something i could ever hope to do back in London, and in my head i liked mexican food. Also, they had really good looking waitresses in the Mexican restuarant….i think they were poles but at the time I’m not sure if i’d have noticed any difference between polish and mexican.

Fast forward to the present day and i can get by in Mexican and can order a beer in Polish (well, just by saying “beer” and holding the bottle up and moving it from one side to the other with my fingers and thumb to show that the glass bottle is empty). A colleague at work told me ages ago about this polish restaurant not far away from my gaff and recommended it. Today is a holiday in Madrid Capital (because of a statue of the Virgin Mary and Jesus that was found buried in the ground. No, don’t laugh…I don’t turn my nose up at a day off work, so keep your titters to yourself!) so i thought i’d try it out.
It’s called La Polonesa (The Polish) so i don’t suppose there are many polish restaurants in madrid to confuse with it.

http://restaurantelapolonesa.es/restaurante/menu-platos-principales-madrid

I thought I was ordering 2 starters…but the light was poor and I’m still not in the habit of taking my glasses out with me, because i very rarely need them. Turns out I ordered two main courses, which might explain why i was full up after the first and had to have 90% of the second to take away in a doggy bag. Because it was a holiday, there was no menu del dia. Hence my strange order and beer instead of wine. To be fair, i’d have more confidence in polish beer than polish wine….call me a rascist.
For my first main course i had the meat pierogi which are stuffed, steamed pies similar to dimsun but way bigger and fuller and came attop fried onions. They were really nice.

For my second main course, I ordered the bigos….which i remembered avoiding in Poland itself but had a bowl of it on the train between Krakow and Berlin, with a cold beer. And it was delicious. a hearty meat and smoked sausage stew with sauerkraut. 20 or 25 years later and in a (stationary) restaurant on the other side of europe, it was still delicious….but just way way way too much of it. If i hadn’t got it put in a doggy back, i’d still be there trying to get through it

wasn’t cheap as i was dining ala carte like Kanye might. two large main courses and two large (pint) bottles of Polish “okocim” beer…21€…though my lunch to take to work tomorrow is sorted too.

La Falda de Lavapiés

Ok, sorry about the ranting and the non-Madrid based eating and drinking. Back in my comfort zone now. You fuckers didn’t want to hear me sing my truth anyway.

Now…look at this photo and tell me what problem you see

I won’t insult your intelligence. If you know anything about how to live life and aren’t clinically insane (no shame in it) it’s more than obvious.
The salad was really nice…i’m not ashamed to tell you I really like quinoa and also everything else it came with was calm…cucumber, tomato, red onion, a touch of mint, crunchy bread crumbs. shitload too much salt in it, though. I’d never imagined or seen people put salt in salad until I came to Spain. Love of salt may explain why hypertension is so popular in Iberia. Can’t just be me making it cool.
For the seriously slow or those that just don’t know anything about how to live properly, what do you notice about the main course (beef-burger made of castrated male cow, I had it well done so i couldn’t hear the screams of the vanquished, tortured, humiliated and murdered cow. was nice)

Yeah obvious, wasn’t it, And you knew exactly what was going to happen from the first photo.
To be honest I’ve not really seen much negative about the gentrification of this barrio. I bought the DaveCave© before gentrification started here….and it has mainly meant that shitty bars/cafes have become nice bars or less shitty bars. La Falda was an odd local, as it was the first time that a shitty old man became a hipster place briefly before turning back into a shitty old man bar and recently became a fairly decent gastro-bar and has been getting a good reputation for platos, pinchos and tapas. I have heard that in Malasaña, where gentrification and hipsterification has really taken hold, that it almost impossible to get a menu del dia. I certainly don’t want Lavapies to suffer the same fate. I don’t really get this thing of just giving you one glass of wine for a 3 course menu. This is Spain and cheap wine is cheaper than cheep, it’s cheaper than tap water. How can you make one glass of wine last 3 courses? You could hide it, you could keep it on the other side of the building, you could maybe order a glass of wine that you really don’t like (but I’m not sure that exists…outside of the UK or parts of what used to be the Ottoman empire)…it’s just ridiculously tight and means I’m much less likely to return here. It’s not that I need a whole bottle of wine. But I want a whole bottle of wine. Or at least not have to sip a glass of wine so slowly that you’d think it was the only drinkable liquid I had and I was trapped on some sort of lifeboat in the middle of an ocean surrounded by dave eating sharks.
So, get it together yo
here is their facebook page if you want more actual information….like the address, or photos…the sort of stuff that I’m way to busy
https://www.facebook.com/La-falda-de-Lavapiés-626682344140720/

12 years in Madrid

This has very little to do with Eating or Drinking in Madrid, but it’s my blog and I’m not confined to labels. Don’t you call me a Cisgendered heterosexual male. I don’t accept labels, I’m just, like, a person?
I just read this plog post about a bloke’s 12 years in Madrid, and although he considers himself an “expat” and I consider myself an “immigrant” and I didn’t always agree with him, it still struck a chord and I wondered: “What have I learnt in my 12 years here in Madrid?” My first answer was a bit Paul Daniels…”not a lot”
http://www.expatmadrid.com/2016/10/21/my-life-expat-madrid/
but then I thought about it and I started to think that maybe I did have something to say, even if it is only myself listening. And even I tend to ignore myself

2 warnings:

People can TAKE offence but that’s their choice, I’m not MAKING offence…it just doesn’t collocate. These are my opinions, they may not be well thought out or even thought out at all, but nobody likes opinions if they don’t agree with their own. And opinions are not facts. Mind you, people don’t like facts if they contradict their own opinions.

In the “relationships” section I might infer that I have had carnal knowledge. Now, if you know me or are related to me, or even know what I look like, this inference might put you off the whole idea of what myself and Lionel (Richie not Messi) call “dancing on the ceiling”

So you might want to stop reading this now, if you haven’t already.

If you’re sitting comfortably,I’ll begin

Price/Cost

In Madrid, at least, there is little corrolation between the price/cost of something and the price/cost of the same or similar thing.
A menú del dia for example…the food on a 7€ menú could well be superior and more abundent than that of a 13€ menú. You might just get a glass of wine with the 13€ menú but a whole bottle witht the 7€ menú. If you’re in the north of Spain that wine might well be drinkable or even nice, if you’re in Andaluzia that wine might come with a choice of fizzy lemon or casera to mix with.
Before I bought my flat I put an offer in on a flat 6 doors down. The offer, thankfully, was turned down and wasn’t long before I found my actual flat…nicer than the first and €30k cheaper.
Don’t take this as a fact which relates to everything…I’m pretty sure that a 6€ a night hotel room won’t be as nice as a 150€ a night hotel room. And I’m thinking those ageing sex workers on Calle Cruz aren’t charging huge amounts of cash for their services, despite the decades of experience they may have

Language

There is sometimes a power struggle about which language to communicate in.
Chill!
If a waiter replies to you in broken English, don’t take it as a slight upon your amazing Spanish pronunciation, impressive vocabulary and remarkable grammatical control…it’s just, like me, you have a stupid fucking guiri face and the waiter doesn’t really expect you to speak Spanish…even though you’ve just said something to him/her in Spanish. Or maybe the waiter doesn’t get much chance to practice their English. Maybe he/she wants to impress their boss or co-workers. Maybe they just like speaking English. You don’t know and it doesn’t really make any difference to you so don’t take it as a dis. You only really need to change back to Spanish if the waiter doesn’t seem to understand your English. Could be your stupid accent coming out of your stupid face.
If they give you an English menu, it probably won’t make sense to anybody at all, so poiltely ask for a Spanish menu. You’re not going to know what any of those fish are anyway because you couldn’t afford to eat them in your English speaking country.
Getting annoyed by people speaking English to you is just you showing your own insecurity.

Waiters in an Indian restaurant is trickier. You’re not sure if not speaking Spanish to them might offend…but trust me, it’s quicker and easier for everybody involved if you put your ego back in your pram for a minute and order a “chicken dhansak” rather than insisting on ordering “pollo muy sabroso con ajo, trozos de piña, lentejas indias y salsa agridulce, ligeramente picante”
Also, you’re better off making sure that the waiter thinks you’re British rather than Spanish, and will know you would appreciate flavour in your curry. It is our cuizine after all…you’re going to want to impress your Valenciano friend with your paella more than impress your friend from Hull with your paella. Yes, a Hull paella can be served with chips and can contain chicklen nuggets.
/ticks off “yorkshire” from list of people to offend. it’s going well so far/

Relationships

I should start by just saying…DON’T DO IT! YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE AND YOU’RE A LONG TIME
DEAD
but, we’ll get there eventually.

I had a date arranged with someone not long ago, no…honestly! it’s true! and a colleague said “she’ll just be going out with you so she can improve her English”
Kind of a nonsense thing to say and was only said to put me down. You could replace the 2nd clause of the sentence with any reason a person might go on a date with another person
She’s only going out with you because you’re really attractive
She’s only going out with you because you have a hot body that just won’t stop
She’s only going out with you because you’ll cook her delicious food
She’s only going out with you so she can get that good good lovin’
She’s only going out with you because you’re 8th in line to the throne of Sweden
She’s only going out with you because she thinks you’re good mates with Matt Damon
She’s only going out with you because damn right your milkshake tastes better than mine
Ok…I’ll stop now.

Nobody tends to start a relationship or is attracted to a person based on just one thing. It’s a composite of more than one thing. Unless you’re a really tall bloke…she’s only going out with you because you’re really tall. But don’t be disheartened…maybe she’s also going out with you because she’s worried about having to get things off a high shelf.
So don’t worry why he or she is going out with you, it might be partly because you speak English, it might be your milkshake. A lass was once going out with me because she lived in Mosteles but worked in Madrid, so staying over at my place meant she didn’t have to commute. Well, she didn’t say that, that was what my low self esteem was screaming at me.

Having said that…a relationship with a local has so many advantages: they can help you with language and beauracracy; they might know things of historical interest from their town/city; they might have access to a property outside Madrid which you can stay in free of charge; they might have access to a car to take you to one of the many places which public transport ignores; and essentially they connect you to this wonderful country in which you have decided to live.
That aside, my advice is to avoid a relationship at all costs.
Being one of a pareja makes you 50% less of a person. That’s science! Or is it mathematics? Iunno, i failed science and maths at school
I did pass RE (Religious Education) though, and I can tell you this…here in Catholic, Southern Europe a relationship is like a fucking sacrament. It isn’t just one person seeing another person until one or both of those people want to stop seeing the other person or would prefer to see another/other person/people or have a bit of time alone…the seperation of a pareja (or the end of “a beautiful love story” if I’m being Italian) is a traumatic ocassion.
You give away 50% of your personality but you suddenly gain a bunch of friends that you don’t necessarily like or would ever want to spend any time with but are your partner’s friends; you’ve suddenly got yourself a father-in-law to frown at you and distrust you and to share his ridiculous fascist views with; you’ve even got yourself a grandmother for the first time in your life.
Sorry, too late! There’s no way out now. I did try to warn you. And ending the relationship now is like culpable homicide. “And you have to choose today of all days to do this?! It’s 320 days before Xmas/San Isidro/ the 75th anniversary of my parents sitting next to each other at school/ our 3 month anniversary. How could you?! Daddy was right about you”
My advice is…and you’ve got this far, so stick with me….if you’re so desperate for a bit of affection, look after somebody’s dog for the day. If you’re so depserate for a bit of the other, go on tinder/grinder.
(Tinder advice
“No hook ups”/“No ONS”=“I’m desperate for sex with a stranger, but I feel guilty about having sex”
“Impossible to describe myself”=“I’m on the run from the CIA” or “I’m dull as dishwater”;
“love laughing”=“i’m a sociopath and like to see people fall over”or “I just never know what the fuck is going on cos i’m fucking stupid”;
“love travelling”= “I want you to know that I have enough money to go on holiday” or “I’m dull as dishwater and I think that having been to A,B or C will hide this because I talk about A,B or C so much” or, of course “I’m in a maximum security prison, please send file in a cake…not that i eat cake because i’m no fatty”
Photos of people doing yoga=that person wouldn’t walk 5metres without taking a taxi + they smoke and therefore stink.
Photos of someone skiing means that person wants you to know that their family have money so that as a child he/she regularly went skiing and definitely isn’t a pleb.

not that i’ve ever been on tinder. i’m so physically attractive i can just pull on the #27 bus home. nobody admits ever being on tinder the same way as nobody admits to voting conservative/PP or masturbating or masturbating while thinking about Donald Trump/Franco/Thatcher/Rajoy. To be fair, the drivers of the #27 bus are kamikazes so anybody who makes it to Atocha is so happy to be alive that they may even consider sleeping with you. #45 is a useless)

If, like many guiris here in Madrid, you are an English teacher…you’re in luck. A relationship with a native will mean you can afford not to share a flat with another English teacher or a University student. You’ll rarely see your parej@…they’ll be in bed by the time you get home (and not in a good way) and will have left for work by the time you wake up (and…not in a bad way). Make sure you’re not expected to ever ever go for Sunday lunch with your partner’s family…you’ll never get out of it after the first time and then that’s every Sunday you have off taken away from you. The food will be stodgy, lacking in taste but extremely salty. Don’t have more than one glass of wine in case the family think you’re an alcoholic and stage an intervention. ¿Qué es eso que está diciendo abuelita? No, todavía está muerto Franco

Rather you than me. I’d even suggest some sort of ridiculous long term lie that begins from the very start of your budding, badly thought out relationship…maybe a lacrosse team that only plays on a Sunday afternoon. yeah, it would take too long to explain what lacrosse is and why you, as a cisgendered male (possibly…i don’t want to apply labels), are playing it. Of course, you might need a back up for this if your potential parej@ wants to see you play…do you know enough people to pretend to be playing lacrosse? do you have/need any equipment? listen, this is on you…i’m just trying to help. maybe lacrosse is a bad example

Shitholes

The UK is full of shitholes. Trust me, I grew up between Mansfield and Worksop. Ireland has plenty of shitholes too…my mum lives in Ennis and that’s not far from Limerick. And have you ever been to Dublin’s fair city? it ain’t so pretty. The US, I’m sure, has shitholes too and they’ll be shiholes full of white supremacists packing heat. Believe it or not, as much as I love Spain, it has its fair share of shitholes. Trust me, I wrote this while waiting for a train in Palencia train station…and I arrived at the train station 3 hours before my train left because the hope of leaving Palencia was more attractive than the thought of just spending another 3 hours in Palencia.
Going back to my previous well thought out, consice and well written segment about relationships, if you insist on having a relationship with a local, make sure they are from or have family living in a nice place rather than in a shithole. Somewhere that you might see youself visiting without any sort of attached duty. So make sure you don’t have a relationship with someone who is from or lives in La Mancha or Castilla Leon, or a small place in Andaluzia. There might be nice places there, but chances are they aren’t from that nice place, so make sure you do your research before you make a terrible mistake.
Never believe anything about someones hometown
Places you should never visit:
Mansfield
Worksop (unless you like crack and you’re on a budget)
Nottingham (unless you’re going to see the famous football team play awful football)

Derby (as the train draws into Derby there’s a sign above the platform telling you that it’s Derby. And under the name “Derby” “is shit” has been written there for about 25 years…I guess nobody thought they should really clean it off…being so apropos)
Croydon
Bracknell (you see horrific pictures of families fleeing war-zones and yet people still live in Bracknell. Poor fuckers)
Santander (you can tell me a million times that the area around it is lovely, but that’s the area around it not the city and how am I going to get to the area around it?)
Anywhere in the district of Toledo that isn’t actually Toledo city (Yes, I’m looking at you Talavera, Torrijos, Escalona, Maqueda…absolute shitholes. there should be a stronger word for shithole. And you’d think..”this is such a shithole at least it’ll be cheap”…but it ain’t…a beer or a glass of shitty wine will cost you the same or more as the same thing in Madrid. Maybe you’re paying extra for the flies)
Alicante (95% of the restaurants are pizzerias or kebab shops. but I did actually eat decent arroz here)
Palencia (if you’re into Christ crucified, this is your place. Not sure how much he’d like it if he ever came back. The people I met were nice, and in general the coffee was better than in Madrid…but that’s a bit like saying you prefer the library facilities in Kabul to those in Aleppo)

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

La Tragantúa

Ladies & Gentlemen, lunch fans of all ages, gather around and stop what you’re doing (unless it’s preparing, eating or digesting lunch…or actually gathering around)…we may just have a contender!!
Badila /shakes fist at the sky/ almost killed my blog as its such a good place and easy walking distance from my house…that i almost only ever went there when i could go out for lunch. but yesterday I went to La Tragantúa for lunch. I tried to go there the week before but was full and waitress suggested I come back in an hour…and ain’t nobody got time for that!
what may keep the (pleasant) Badila owner and (pleasant and foxy) waitress awake at night is that…blimey, this place is good…and crikey, this place is slightly nearer to my house…so you never know, i might not go to badila every saturday for lunch.
this place is just off the end of Calle Fucar near Calle Atocha and you wouldn’t necesarily know it was there unless you actually know it was there. and lot of people seemed to, judging by the fact i couldn’t get in last week and was full this week…and an ecletic bunch in there…yanks, english, russians, maybe a spaniard or two. I assume it must be in a guide book or a blog that people actually read. But, bloody good…these guide books and well read bloggers know what they’re talking about.

the menu del dia was 16€…for 3 courses and wine, obvs. which is kind of standard these days for a weekend or a fiesta. i had a that weird looking thing there…which was a tomato covered in basil and buratta cheese. my parner had a vegetable noodle wok thing that apparently had nuts in it, so the gods were smiling on me and let me live another day.

main course was described as “russian fillet turkish style”…now in spain, a russian fillet is made of mince and is like a slightly flattened beefburger with cooked breadcrumbs around it. what “turkish style” could be i had no idea…maybe it would be a very friendly russian fillet unless football was involved, in which case I might have watch myself…maybe it wouldn’t have a huge amount of respect for women, especially if they were blond…maybe it would drive a car like it didn’t care if it lived or died (which, to be fair, wouldn’t be odd as it would be dead already and cooked….and also would have very little difference with a spanish russian filete in that respect)…well, it turned out that turkish style meant that it came with curry sauce. it was really nice and was brilliantly presented so i’m not going to slag it off, even though i lived in istambul for a couple of years and i know my way around the otman mutfak quite well.
i didn’t take photo of dessert…cos it’s only dessert, who cares? couple of things had nuts in them so i had yoghurt with strawberries in it which was really really nice cos it wasn’t sweet at all…was like cheese.
bottle of house white for 7,50€
service was extremely good, polite and efficient. also took my gym bag to put away while i ate their food and sneered at their lack of turkish food knowledge.
highly recommended. you can come round for a siesta at my house after.

Anova Sous-Vide precision cooker

what do you need to cook the perfect steak? yeah, it’s obvious….you need…
a pot filled with water
a sous vide precision cooker

an app
a plastic food bag.

obviously.

so, i bought an anova sou vida precison cooker a month or so ago…just cos i have more money than i need and gadgets make me happy. basically, you cook everything in a sealed plastic bag in water…the anova cooker brings it to the correct temperature and tells you when it’s finished…how do you decide what temperature and how long? don’t worry…the app sorts that out….you ask for a recipe, choose one and the anova sorts it out from there…meanwhile you stick whatever you’re cooking onto a plastic bag.
so why is it good 1) it’s a piece of piss, does everything for you
2) cooks whatever you like to perfection…and you can just go to the pub.
aside from how incredibly tender whatever you cook is, the flavour is incredible…because it’s not losing anything while it cooks.

i know exactly what you’re thinking…”yeah…shit just got real!”
and you’d be right. so here’s what i did today…steak.

bought a wee bit of steak from the market in anton martin. made a marinade of garlic, mustard, soy sauce, worcester sauce, bit of chili, salt, pepper and olive oil…whiksed….put the steak in a ziplock bag and poured in the marinade…sealed zip lock while the bag was under water…..so you get the air out of it…and sealed it- left overnight while i went and watched the forces of darkness pip atleti in the champions league final

so…next day…after the usual (w***, shower, breakfast, getting dressed, pissing about on the internet, listening to music)…i fired up the anova…which means plugging it in…and choosing “steak medium rare” on the app on my phone…when the water was at the correct temperature, i put in the bag of meat…and went to the pub. now this part is essential but you don’t have to go to the same pub as me, in fact i’d rather you didn’t. for me is la playa de lavapies on calle argumosa in madrid, but for you could be anywhere.
you can have as many pints as you like because the anova can’t overcook the meat…although i suppose it could run out of water if you were going for a pint drinking record in your local pub. for a medium rare stake it takes 2 hours…so that’s about 3 pints as long as you don’t waste any time talking to people…which i never do.
so then you come home and take the bag out of the water bath…and dry the meat using paper towels….heat up a frying pan and sear the steak…otherwise you’re just eating boiled steak…which sounds nasty but is quite good.

then you sear the steak

once the steak was browned all over, i let it rest while i poured some of the marinade into a cup and whisked with olive oil then poured over a salad of arucala, sweet onion, cherry tomato…then sliced the steak

and there you go

i’ve had the anova precision cooker a few weeks now and not had anything using it that wasn’t much better than using any other cooker….perfect boiled eggs, increble bacalao, pork loin, tuna, shellfish….i don’t know why i ever bothered to teach myself how to cook!

old skool madriz

I embrace my dave-ness, I embrase my guiri-ness, I even out-guiri my stupid fat face and stupid bald fat head, by wearing super guiri clothes (you might call them sweat pants, i call them sexy pants. i think you’re saying more about yourself than me. sad really. oh and a nottingham forest 2015 shirt, to honour Sir Wes Morgan’s premiership win)…so the fact that i’m at least trying to speak spanish (despite my stupid fat guiri face) should be embraced rather than dissed. I had lunch in one of the oldest, most castizo restaurant in madrid, el lácon in all my guiri finery.
I ordered the rice with cooked onions and wee octopus to start and that went well. tasty but a bit cold

though to be fair, food being hot isn’t important to me. it’s like the way i don’t see colour. except blue.

second course didn’t go so well. the waiter (who was the spitting image of ex-rotheram manager neil redfearn) put a right face on him when i asked for “albóndigas de merlusa en salsa verde”…he looked sad and confused and has to repeat my order back to me exactly as I had said it. to be fair, he’d only been sacked as rotherham manager less than 3 weeks ago, so was maybe a bit early for him to get to grips with the entire menu of 4 main courses

fish meatballs sounds brilliant, what with the “fish” and the “meatballs” partl…..but these were a bit disappointing. way too much flour in them. the green salsa was really nice though. the tiny tiny jug of wine in the photo was actually almost enough.

i had dessert too. i asked what ice cream the ice cream was which confused the ex manager of rotherham united who just told me it was “ice cream”. they charged me 2€ for a chapito. so 10€ plus tip, so 10.50€

As i had the day off to celebrate Sir Wes Morgan’s premiership win (and in lieu of working saturday) and as i was close and was in an old skool mood, I decided to finish off the afternoon with a glass of mansanilla in Bar La Venecia, maybe the most old skool bar in all of madrid.

I rock.