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.

La Chusquery

*i took the photos in this post, which would explain why they’re so shite.
two posts in the same day, i should have a lie down.
amazing how much time you find if you miss mass on a sunday and masturbate slightly less. or quicker, maybe. i joke…i haven’t been to mass in twenty years.

yesterday i went old skool and had lunch in SanBruno, like i’d never been away. same waiters, nice as always…litre and a half of wine, casera and glass with ice all without asking. and a free chupito of patxaran to digest. and west ‘am against arsenal on the telly.
today was like a special day? so went to a posh place. we’d tried to go before but they were having none of it…said they were full or some shit. so yesterday after lunch in bruno i waddled up and booked a table for today.
The maitre-di/waiter had decided that despite more than 25 years in madrid between us, and the fact that i’d bucked it in the old Castellano, that we could only be spoken to in hard-to-understand english and had to order from an english menu that was very hard to follow if you actually spoke english. i’m quite happy speaking to people in english if they want, in fact…most of the time i insist because i’m lazy as fuck….but sometimes, and almost always in a restuarant you just want to ask “¿podemos realizar esta operación en español, que sería más facil?”…which probably sounds like “koood wee perfume thos peration une spaggheti, eat wood bees moo oozy if i say it. i was just pissing by the door”

Anyway, this restuarant is like so hot right now. as in hip. and used to be a nice little local shop for old people just by Plaza de los Carros in La Latina. I remember i used to come in here for a can of beer to drink in the plaza on a monday as there was no popo there, like on a sunday. Not sure what the schtick is in the resturant…but there’s quite a few japanese things on the menu and there are some pictures of japanese style temples on the wall.

my boo started with half cheese plate. came with nuts. ewww. and cheese is basically death anyway, as human adults we’re not really supposed to eat it, the fact we aren’t lactos intolerant is a freak of our DNA in the north of europe.

i had the ceviche of a fish (no point giving us a menu with the fish written in english…we can’t afford to eat fish in the uk so we have no idea what they’re called in english)….was actually delicious….really delicious…almost as nice as the ceviche in anton martin market but 3 times the price.

we both went for whatever it was trying to say on the menu…but it seemed to be galician grass fed dead cow meat. so we ordered that. yum.
i made the mistake of wanting white wine with the meal, because i prefer white wine and red wine gives me a headake. The Alo-Alo style waiter was non too pleased and decided to leave without taking the wine order just so that we had time to have a think about just what we asked. luckily we managed to order a bottle of albariño from another waiter

the grass fed dead cow meat was wonderfully tender and the chips were served in a mini chip frier as they always are these days, everywhere…except, i imagine, in chip shops. the waiter had decided i was obviously just wrong or insane to order the cowmeat well done (it tends to be a better choice in spain…because rare means the cow meat is still running around and medium means the cow has just been stunned for a while)….but i have to give it to him, he was right.
even had pudding…which i didn’t bother to photograph, because who cares about pudding yo?
so…three courses and 2 bottles of albariño wine…was about 90-odd €…i suppose that’s ok if you’re going to insist on going to posh places.

La Pescaderia

I try not to cross the rubicon of Gran Via when I’m off work, especially as the centre of Madrid is full to the brim with Christmas zombies, but I read about this restaurant and I liked the name…I’d say I eat a lot more fish than meat, maybe 3 portions of fish for every portion of meat..which makes 4 portions! no wonder I’m getting awful fatsch (Thats “fat” but in a west of ireland accent. I’m channelling my ma)

 

If you read any reviews of this restaurant you’ll read people complaining about the service…now I tend to take those sort of comments with a large pinch of Maldon…I assume they’re from americans who seem to think good service is about obsiquiousnes, while for me it’s just about getting served and at some point getting the thing you ordered, of course it’s better if the staff don’t treat you like you’re a piece of shit and that your request for a table/drink/food is just disturbing them from their important work curing cancer. There’s not problem with the serving staff in this restaurant, the waiter we had was extremely pleasant and brought us our food and our drink quite happily (and was quite literally a fox…which would have worried me if i’d been a chicken in a coop), the problem here is with the mangement. Obviously, I’m a management guru and shit, so I knows what i’m talking about. When you go in you have to wait for a femme maitre d’ to seat you, and she is far to grand and important to look at you or speak to you, which makes the system rather untenable. I booked on the internet for lunch on friday and received an email the day after eating there that it was not possible for me to book a table. Which was true, as my delorian is at the garage. Maybe it was due to the idea of going into the future and then assessing the booking system from the past, that led to so many people having to stand around the entrance waiting for La Femme to dain speak to you.
Anway we were given a seat in an area that kind of looks like its outside but actually is indoors. It’s a huge restaurant, I’ve no idea how many people can be surved there at a time, once they are given a table. This part of the restaurant looks nice but trying to make it look like al fresco dining means you’re sitting at uncomfortable tables slightly too short for the uncomfortable seats.
Well, the food…the food was great. though I was with someone who ordered better than I did, so I was filled with remource, shame and embarassment.

on the left are cuttlefish with caramlised onions, which my dining partner ordered (Grrrr!!) and were delicious. On the right, buñuelos de bacalao (cod fritters) which i ordered which were nice enough.

2nd course, now this is what i fucked up…i ordered the taquitos de merluza (small battered cubes of hake) with roasted red peppers. Chips served in a metal tin. problem was that it was so similar to my first course. stupid and elementary mistake. Plenty of it, so much so that i was bored of them before I’d finished. I suppose Restauranting is different from Theatering in that you don’t want your audience to be left wanting more.

My dining partner ordered much better (GRRRR!!!) and had roast langostinos with avocado and mango. Only reason I didn’t order this myself is because a) i’m not supposed to eat prawns and b) i became a bit obsessive with eating prawns, avocado and mango over last summer and think I prepared it at home and ate it every day for good while.
Dining partner couldn’t finish her’s and I was too full to help. Coffee and a patxaran to finish.
2 bottles of Valdesil Godello white wine (at 20€ each). Total for two 83€. Nae bad.
Yes, i know….I’ve changed, way too flush these days

Chiringuito la pedriza

Just to warn you, this might be the most annoying post i’ve ever written…I say that but I’ve not written it yet and the thoughts i’ve had before starting could barely be called “thoughts”
One reason is that there’s going to be a lot of guff before the actual food writing, and then the actual food writing is so brief and so pointless you’ll wonder why I even bothered at all. Bit like a lot of not very god foreplay before the equally disappointing main event… but that’s how i role, yo!
The other thing you may find annoying is that you’ve decided that at times i’m slagging off Madrid and/or Madrileños…to be honest, that’s your problem. I live in Madrid because I love it, if I didn’t I’d leave because I can live anywhere I like (possibly not Australia…they speak English there and probably don’t want me there). What it is, is that you can love someone or somewhere yet love them warts an’all. Obviously, if you go around telling everyone about their anal warts, they won’t be best pleased. I’ve lost a few (female) friends from being honest and saying i didn’t think much of their (male) partner…maybe some people think that their choice of partner reflects directly on their own sense of themselves…iunno…it never bothered me when my friends used to say how aweful my ex (“Dirty Sanchez”) was and it turns out that she was far more aweful than they realised, I should have listened to them harder. I’m sure even the wife of Ian-Duncan Smith can admit “Yes, I love him and he’s a wonderful man but there really are times when I’m confinced he’s one of Satan’s minions, a demon incarnate.” Obviously that’s a bit harsh on Ian-Duncan Smith to focus on just him…all tories are aweful people, so naming just one is a bit much. Like the Waffen-SS, it would be harsh to single out one and say “Yes, Herr Flikk is a nice guy, but he does strike me as a bit too anti-semitic for my taste.”
Anyway, if you think you might be offended by what you interpret as negativity toward Madrid, then I suggest you don’t read this.

Another thing which might offend you is that I’ve included possibly the worst photograph taken of food. No, my balls are not in it, don’t worry. The worst photograph taken of food without my balls in it. And that’s saying something. I’ve taken some pretty aweful photos, you must admit.

Ok, lets sort of start. On Sunday 23rd August I left Madrid and went out to the mountains. La Pedriza to be specific

Public Transport in the city of Madrid is generally great, aside from in August. Unfortunately, the comunidad of Madrid has been goverened by a far-right government for the last 20 odd years. The word “public” to them is a swear word and privately owned cars became the king. It’s the only place I’ve lived in where the European No-car day is completely ignored and in fact has even more cars polluting the place and making horrific constant noise, pedestrians are treated like second class citizans and while my Metro pass has gone up more than 300% in the years I’ve lived here, my taxes have gone to paying for more and more roads for the car drivers to kill themselves on, when they’re not killing cyclists or at least trying to kill them. Madrid is a small city and you can walk anywhere you might want to visit, despite the car drivers trying to kill you (I think there is some sort of point system in operation that means they earn soemthing for every pedestrian or cyclist they injure or traumatise)…but going somewhere outside the city is problematic. There’s a (supposedly) lovely village in the mountains of Madrid called Rascafria, but the only bus during the week leaves Madrid at 9am and the only return bus leaves the village just after that bus from Madrid arrives…well, thanks for making the effort. One of the few possible places you can visit using public transport is La Perdiza, a mountain around a national park close to a village called Manzanares el Real which you can get to by catching the 724 bus from Plaza Castilla bus station. I can’t be more specific about where inside the bus station, because every time I’ve taken that bus it’s been in a different part of the bus station…at least when you have to catch a train to Hogwarts you know you just have to find platfrom 9 and 3/4. Once you arrive in Manzanres el Real it’s about an hour of quite a boring walk into the park itself. Luckily there’s a mini bus in operation in the summer at weekends. There’s 18 seats on board so you need to turn up a good while before it leaves and check with the people at the bus stop who is wating for that bus and “quién es el último”…the timetable is printed around the corner outside the Tourist Information centre. The bus takes about 10 minutes and sets you down at a car park, which is where you catch it to go back to the village. At the side of the car park are two chiringuitos (literally a tent in the woods, but mainly used for beach restaurants…I’m using it as sort of a combination of the two)

This is where I made for once getting out of the mini-bus.

Best thing they do is roast chicken, which is what i had with a salad

there it is in its full glory, the worst food photo ever shared. If its not obvious…i had half a roast chicken, a salad, haaat sauce, bread and two, count them…two! large cold beers. durr! 16€

My post lunch plan was to take a walk along the river in the park, maybe take a “dip” in the river (it’s a bit too shallow to actually have a dip…i was actually planning just to sit in the Manzanares’ cool waters). Unfotunately most comfortable places along the river were already taken by families or groups of teenagers (they were probably like 30 or so…but i’m old now, so anybody under 40 looks like a teenager. It was also a bit noisy to have a pleasent siesta there…noisy kids is one thing, you kind of expect kids to just scream constantly and annoy everybody else, it’s their job…what is truelly annoying is the ammounts of these young people who have decided to leave the city and come all the way to this idylic natural park…

….and decide this is the perfect place to play their shitty music through loud-speakers. Why fucking bother getting out of the car…sit in your shitty car and listen to your shitty music with your shitty girlfriend…why even leave your shitty car park in your shitty part of the city?

ok, that’s it….I did warn you!

Roll

There’s an American telly program called “man versus food”…basically it would never exist in any other country but is oddly compelling…basically this bloke who is slightly on the chubby side but not obese or anything, goes to a fast food place in America and they bet him he can’t eat their special because there’s either a ridiculous amount of it or it’s covered in super hot sauce that should be considered a war crime, or both. Sounds almost offensive, doesn’t it. Not sure how it would work in UK or RoI…you’d probably have to eat everything everybody in the place ordered and stop off in abrakebabra on the way home. Anyway, went to an American restaurant in Madrid for lunch a couple of days ago. My partner has gone on holiday and left me to take care of myself. Fuck it, easy come easy go…so I got another partner for lunch. The place is called ROLL, I assume as it’s specialties are things like pulled pork sandwiches, burgers and stuff served in a ROLL…although I didn’t think they called a roll a roll in the American colonies.. Maybe because rollo in Spanish is a one night shag with no consequences..though of course I could be mistranslating that in order to have a more relevant word for my own personal life.
We began by sharing a salad

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Salad with raf tomatoes, langostines, avocado in a honey dressing. Lovely and we weren’t able to finish that between us.
For main course I ordered a sandwich called a po’ boy…with prawns in it. Never heard of it before and I was unsure of the pronunciat

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Came with loads of chips and an ironic nod to salad. My partner for the day had to live in America for many years so she advised me the only way you could physically eat an American sandwich was to put your hand over the top of it and press the whole thing down…when in Rome. Was delicious and i finished it.
My partner for the day ordered steak-frites, which I hadn’t realised was American…but obviously a thank you to the French for helping the Americans out with every war they’ve found themse

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lves in

I think steak is French for “whole dead cow cooked” but then I only did cse French. Mais oui, voulet vou? And the amount of chips was offensive…she’s only a wee girl. Not wanting to offend the waiter or get told off, we thought about hiding some of the food after giving up thirty minutes later with the plate still looking similar to the way it started.
Even if it had been forthcoming i don’t think I could have managed a rollo after lunch, or the next day.
Very nice place in terms of decor etc and pleasant enough but forgetful waiters. In conde duque. They
do Brunch which has taken over in Madrid much better than my “lea” (a late lunch or early tea..Maybe “trunch”is more memorable). It’s certainly not cheap, was not far off 60€ for the two of us with a bottle of alberiño…but you won’t need to eat again for a few days

O barbas ©

Just as the Spanish are world famous for their mullets, the Portuguese are known for their moustaches. O barbas is known for not having a moustache, instead preferring a beard that gives him his name. As he is the only bearded man in Portugal he has managed to copyright his name and should the hipster ever find itself Portuguese he will have to talk with O barbas’ lawyers.
Hang on a condom packing minute, this is supposed to be “eating and drinking in Madrid”what’s all this Portuguese nonsense? Well,I make the rules init. I can have a picture of kim jong un all up in here if I want, man

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He not happy about that, man. Herro!
Anyway, my partner and I found ourselves in Lisbon for a baptism. Little amelie found herself accepted into the church of Catholics and we were there to mumble at the appropriate time in the ceremony. Pro-tip, keep your eye on older ladies ti know when to stand, when to sit and when to scream “wizard, you shall not pass!”
I was a massive lisbonian for many years so my partner was well impressed when i knew where to go when we were caught short. Clean, bog rule and kick on the door…what more would you need. Aside from a toilet seat. Overrated though inthey.
Went to beach in Costa init and decided to eat right on the seafront. I’ve never eaten well in Costa ago I decided to ask a friend who never goes there, he recommended O Barbas simply as it’s well known as being a restaurant in Costa. He had me at res.
As the restaurant is famous for beards what better way to start than with some clams?

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Cooked with garlic and wine. The clams, not the beard. Bottle of very good vinho Verde, naturally and some chicken samosas as an aperitif.
Main course was a monkfish stew served in a cataplana. I think monkfish must now be a protected species after the amount we shoved in our gullets. Was amazing and i was quite surprised that there was an element of either cream or coconut milk in their. Lots of cilantro of course. Peppers, onions, prawns, wine. Perfect

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Ended the meal with a glass of port, naturalment. About 20€ each with a second bottle of wine and a coffee each.
Managed to waddle to the beach half a metre away where I fell asleep and proceeded to sleep and snore loudly for an hour. Well, it keeps the sea pigeons away (or whatever they’re called…massive Fuckers)

Doing this on my phone…not sure what I do now. Help

Los Porfiados

This is the 2nd time i’ve been to los porfiados but the first time i was with someone so astonishgly beautiful that i forgot to take photos of the food. This time i was with my partner, so I didn’t forget.
Los Porfiados is run by a group of very pleasant Argentinians and the decor is really nice too, if you notice that kind of thing. You’ll find it on Calle Buena Vista between anton martin (which i tend to call Alta Lavapies) and Lavapies (baja). I learned from the astonishingly beautiful one that a porfiado was a type of children’s toy that just kept swinging around…i’m not sure what we’d call it in ingrish.
It’s closed on mondays, but then where isn’t? we went for lunch on a sunday and to be on the safe side i booked a table for 2 people at 3pm, like a proper adult.

obviously, today that looked like it wasn’t necesary. we had an aperetif (fizzy warter for me, Vic Millington!) in Bar Benteveo and the family that were having a massive barny in their walked into Los Porfiados minutes after we walked in. Doh!

We ordered a bottle of the house white. a nice drop from catalunya for 12€

We both ordered the ensalada lisboa to start with, which was various green things, some yellow things (can’t remember what we call them in english…garbanzos in spanish. no, i’m not taking the piss…brain haemmorhage innit…still having problems with the odd words. well, words that aren’t sweary at least.), and some red things, wee tomatoes and langustinos. nice bit of coriander and very subtle amount of mint. very refreshing for a haat day like today.

main course i had a ceviche with salmon and langustinos and grapefruit. served with pita bread…or pita pan in spanish, which never fails to make me smile. i love to smile. and making love in the cape. in the rain. with a crepe.

my partner had fish & chips. obviously as a part-englishman, i was preparing to go mental and fuck the place up if it wasn’t excellent. rrrraaaahhhh….”i bruddy get you Gawy Winnekar!!!!” turn tables over, the full mental shit. you get me?
luckily it was lovely so i didn’t have to strain myself

my beach body is just like so amazin’ that i didn’t need to worry about a couple of calories for pudding. so i had the cheese cake. not all of it yo. just a slice. which was only one calory anyway. that’s how calories work…one calory is one piece of cake, so if there’s 6 pieces of cake, that’s 6 calories. innit.

So, in total…3 courses and a bottle of decent wine 22€ each. and a tip, so 23€ each.
highly recomend it. fashionistas will be asking who i was wearing…well, i was wearing mansfield town away shurt, springfield shorts, adidas trainers and my hair was done by Mohammed. No, another one.

Best Indian in Madrid – Moharaj

People often ask me, “dave, how many persons are there in god?” And i tend to say to them, “well if you’re asking about your christian god rather than the true gods of old..i’d have to say, in your new puny god there are three divine Persons…the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. You see, unaided by divine revelation, the human mind could not know the existence of big daddy, jc & the spook because it is a supernatural mystery.” Other people ask me “Dave, what’s the best curry house in Lavapiés?” and i tell them “the Moharaj”. Now this might not be as simple an answer as you might think. Much like the christian idea of the theoretical three, the moharaj is not just one curry house, nor two either but three, like the bee-gees or the musketeers, if you ignore D’Artanon. Much like the theologists of old or fans of the bee-gees…i’m not sure which Moharaj is the best or even if any of them are the true “best curry house in Lavapiés”…you could just say that my belief that the Moharaj on Calle Ave Maria 18, is the one true good curry house is just an article of faith. but i believe in the Moharaj on Calle Ave Maria 18 and it has not let me down yet.moharaj (2 of 6) In all three Moharajas you’ll find disciples devoted to each, but then lots of people don’t know their arses from their elbows. The (1st) moharaj on Calle Buenavista just off Calle de la Fé (the street of the faith) once burned the garlic in my dopiaza and charges too much for their beer. The (2nd) Moharaj on Calle Ave Maria,26 also charges too much for its beer and has generally gone down hill since the chef and original part-owner had a falling out with Moharaj Calle Ave Maria 26 and went to open his own restaurant on Calle Ave Maria, 18 and called it “moharaj”. Personally, i’d have started my new venture with a new name…but maybe it’s like a boat and it’s bad luck to change the name, or maybe he went off with a few hundredweight of menus he was owed.moharaj (3 of 6) Truth is, if you go for a Chinese meal, you generally expect good food if the majority of customers are chinese…much the same with Indian food, you know it’s going to be good if the majority of diners are Brits. Although you might find Brit heretics in Moharaj 1 & 2 too. But they are all arseholes. Moharaj3 is about as close as you’ll get to a real British curry-house outside the sceptered isle. Soon as you’ve sat down you’ll be presented with papadoms and onions and sauces, you’re home. moharaj (1 of 6) I’m not a massive fan of very hot food, but I’m assured by real men that the vindaloo is pukka. Can’t think of any curry i’ve wanted to order that hasn’t been on the menu, plus there’s no worries about mancky lamb meat, it’s always pukka too and he fries it before adding to the sauce, which makes it nice and tender.

moharaj (4 of 6)Last time i was there i had a lamb rogan josh (on the left there) with rice and a naan. the naan is great.

moharaj (5 of 6)the last two photos i forgot to take until we’d already started eating…so maybe they could be a little better. Maybe.

the last thing i’d say about Moharaj3 is that you get free chupitos without asking, to digest. i’ve even been given a bottle of whiskey to put on the table (although i don’t drink it)…and the owner has even invited me in for a beer on a sunday when i’ve been walking past (which i’ve declined as i don’t drink:( and i’m way too busy for socializing)

moharaj (6 of 6)In summary, there might be better indians in Madrid, or there might not…but whenever i’ve tried a different indian, i’ve been disappointed. Moharaj3 is a proper pukka, british indian which never disappoints, the service is good and friendly, there’s some free booze and it’s not too far from my house. what more could you need, unless you don’t live with me or near me. Your loss

Bolero Meatballs

You know how Tina Turner made millions of american dolari by registering the phrase “simply the best©”, well I thought I’d already copyrighted the phrase that Bolero has proudly hanging from their wall

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probably an oversight on my part, but if this eatery starts asking patrons if they’d like “a big ball-sack®” to take away, then they will have to speak to my lawyers!

There’s a new thing called “street-food” apparently. It’s all making me a bit dizzy, what with the invention of “after-work” and “slow food” how can a food hipster like myself keep on top of these weird new fads?! Well, Bolero Meatballs make life a bit easier by basically just serving meatballs…and who doesn’t like some meaty balls in their mush?balls (1 of 12)If there’s ever an award for photographs, like the oscars for films, or match of the day’s goal of the week for goals, then I don’t think anybody should put money on me winning it ever. I can’t even see the menu there myself. As far as i remember they do 3 sorts of meaty balls…grandmother style (i assume it jumps the queue in the supermarket and for the bus and is quite happily and unashamedly racist. made with beef. and doesn’t quite make sense from one idea to the next. i’m channeling my grandmother…but then i never met her); asian style made with pork meat; and another one that’s made with chicken meat and has parmesan on it or in it.

Once you’ve decided which balls you want in your mouth, you’ve got more options, dagnabit. do you want them as the gods intended them or do you want them in a sandwich? now the idea of a meatball sandwich seems like just a bad idea to me…like a food accident just waiting to happen…but, despite what my passport says (and what I say whenever it suits me), I am a British, and we britishes love us some sandwich whenever we can make something into one…i know someone who loves nothing more than a condensed milk sandwich and a mate of my brother’s who invented the pie-sandwich..i had a quinoa and piripiri sauce sandwich just last night…so, genetically not easy to order something other than the Bocadillo option. Now, do you want it with chips or with white rice. Derr, no brainer!balls (12 of 12)I went for the 3 ball granny option rather than 4 (three ball granny is the title of my new band, by the way). and a 0.0% beer (bite me!). Nice enough and a quick and easy lunch option (it’s open until 1130pm,so it could be a tea option too…or brunch..depending on what time you get up and what time you want to go to bed) though at €8.70 for 3 granny ball sandwich and (very nice but a bit salty) chips with a tercio of sin-beer (to be fair, in Spain beer without alcohol is always the same price as beer with delicious, delicious alcohol…not that i’m bitter!) i thought it was a bit on the expensive side. Course, i still left a tip because the waitress was really nice and very very attractive…I imagine that 0.10€ really impressed her…this player’s got game! don’t be a hater,yo!

(my brain still not 100%, so blame any spelling errors, lack of punctuation or general shite on my brain hemorrhage…i imagine it’s a relief for thatcher spending eternity in hel to have me blame something other than her on)

Frangus

My postes are like busses, they both shmell of pish after 11pm on a Friday.

I was feeling a bit of a PIG and with so few options that weren’t S in Madrid, it was a stroke of genius that i remembered Frangus and that it had fairly recently opened a restaurantEuro_Pigs_Fly.

As you may know, portuguese food is one of the most underated quizines around…except in portugal, where they rave about it…the same as the spanish rave about spanish food and the mexican texans rave about texmex…you’ll even find the english raving about english food, but the english tend to have the good grace not to boste. One thing that really makes me feel at home is a chicken cooked in the brasa with piripiri sauce close by. I’m not sure if the king of chicken is still around in the centre of Lisbon, but that king made a monacist of me.

Frangus is a take away place. You buy your portuguese style chicken and take it away and eat at home…hence “takeaway”… The spanish invented take-away when nobody bothered to learn how to cook and their mothers’ became too frail to do it for them. Obviously grandad was no help, he’d be lucky to find the chicken and get his breastfuck of a morning. It’s a bit like when the disgusting smelling christians got rid of the sweatly fragrenced mures and suddenly realsed they had no idea how to grow crops, how not to stink to high heaven/jannah, how to right poetry and how to count something that is less than one. A portuguese chicken is spatchcocked and cooked on hot coals.IMG_20150218_143256

The problem with franguses restaurant bit is that, while it looks very nice and pleasant, they serve the chicken with chips that are a bit fastfood-style and come with salt. I’d prefer my chicken to come portuguese style…with chips and rice and salad…not just one section of the triumverate.IMG_20150218_142709

The first course was a bit of a lie as it was supposedly rissois with rice, but there was only one rissole alongside a bachalao croquete. I like bachalao croquetes don’t get me wrong, but what if i’d made plans?IMG_20150218_141851

Portuguese custard tarts are the new black, so that was the pudding option…and a bloody good one it was…nce and crispy and maybe the best portuguese custard tarts i’ve had in the seven thousand portuguese custard tart shops that now exist in madrid.IMG_20150218_145324

Despite my moans, it wasn’t a bad option for 10€ for 3 course lunch with water (what has my life become!) and great portuguese bread.Oh and you’ll find it between Embajadores and Puerte de Toledo, on Ribera de Curtidora, 28 IMG_20150218_141658

Terra mundi

I was celebrating today. 4 weeks in a leg brace and today the traumatologist told me i could finally walk like a man. I'd like to say that's the last time i'll jump out of a burning first floor apartment window, but you never know how you'll react when there's orphans to save. And i suppose selflessness and courage are just my default settings. So, long story short..i went to lunch in terra mundi on calle lope de vega, parralel to calle huertas.

I've been coming here for years but had forgotten about it. It's ostensibly a gallego restaurant and it has some distinct advantages.

  1. It's huge. So during the week you've a good chance of getting a table. Although i have had to wait on a sunday
  2. They serve til later than most. You can still get fed if you roll in at 4pm
  3. They put their daily menu on their website so you don't have to waste time hobbling there only to find there's nothing on the menu you fancy.
  4. The food is generally very good.

The owner often holidays is ballyconneely in co.galway and goes seal watching. Not that anybody reading this will care about that, but my family come from county galway and their surname is conneely…so, as bally just means village i suppose this is my family seat. And i have heard tell that we're silkies…mythical creatures who live as seals in the water and shed their skins to live on land. As humans they're conspicuous for their physical beauty…so that rings true. And you should see me balance a ball on my nose!

Anyway, i decided to be adventurous with my first course and ordered the chilled melon soup with a foam of margarita.

I thought it was pretty rank, to be honest. But then i don't really like melon very much…i was thinking of watermelon when i ordered. I was a bit worried leaving so much in case I offended the staff, and waitress did seem very concerned abd, after checking, which languages i could speak, offered to bring me another course. I declined the offer and explained i just found it too sweet. Which seemed to satisfy her. Second time i've ordered badly in as many weeks, first time I seem to have satisfied a lady.Lost my touch.

Before i forget, a word about the wine. Included in the menu is wine from galicia…not sure what type of wine it is..but it's wine. It comes in red, white and rosado. In my experience, ordering red or white will get you half a bottle…but if you order the rosado (which is dry and fruity) you always seem to get a full bottle. So that's what i ordered. Also, the bread is very good…big hunks of galician bread from the mueseo del pan gallego, which sells the best bread in the city, albeit with very little competition.

Spoilt for choice for the main course, i'd have had anything on there except the ever present lacon con grelos…a boiled ham hock with turnip tops…which brings back far too traumatic memories of irish food in the 1970s. Decided to go with the chicken marinated in greek yoghurt because i was seated near the serving hatch and i could see the food going out

Very nice indeed. Not sure what the sauce in the ramikin was, but i mopped it up with my hunky bread.

The coffee in here is awful, so i always order dessert. And usually the same thing…a tart of biscuits and chocolate called biscuit and chocolate tart. I didn't take a picture as i can't get excited about desserts. I feel about desserts how uncle monty feels about flowers. No wonder they're called tarts!

So that was it. 10.50€. Not bad, despite my disastrous choice of first course

 

Raison d’être

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I’m a fella that likes to eat and drink well, unfortunately I’m not blessed with huge amounts of cash to do this in any great style. Luckily, I live in a place where it’s just as easy to eat well with little money as it is to eat well with bags of cash.

I stayed in Lisbon in August 2012 (after having lived there between 1999 and 2004) and decided to write a blog for my own amusement (http://daveinmadridandlisbon.wordpress.com)..taking photos of what I ate and making a note of how much it cost, as well as pictures of anything of interest along the way.

I’m home in Madrid now and thought I might do something similar but with more emphasis on cafés and bars, as I don’t get the chance to eat out so much, what with the work thing . Maybe it’ll be useful to folk visiting Madrid …who like to eat and aren’t keen on spending too much cash.

I don’t think I’ll be posting as rigorously as I did with my Lisbon blog, again…due to the curse of the working classes…work

Saude/Salud/Sláinte