I feel like I have been apologizing in almost every post this summer. I have been so bad about posting and so much of it has to do with the fact that I have been traveling a ton and it has been just too hot to cook. I’m not sure if everyone is like me but when it’s hot outside I just don’t want to eat (no eating = no cooking = no posts). That said, I have three posts that will be going up over the next few days that are all about my favorite culinary adventures in Spain!
We flew in and out of Madrid so we spent our first 48 hours in Spain trying to cram in as much food as possible in the country’s capital. We had a night in Madrid on the tail end of the trip but we didn’t know how much energy we’d have left after two weeks on the road so we wanted to hit everyone our first time around. We landed at Barajas airport around 7am and were at our rented apartment by 11am. By the way, if you travel often and have never tried Airbnb, you have to try it- by far the easiest, most inexpensive and convenient way to handle accommodations on the road. We essentially dropped everything in the apartment and wandered out into the streets with our guide book and a map I bought at Barnes and Noble back in New York.
Our apartment was located on Cuesta de Santo Domingo, which, for those of you who haven’t been, is right in the heart of Madrid. To give a little perspective for those of you have been, we were less than 5 minutes walking from Opera, Callao, Gran Via, Santo Domingo and SOL metro stops and Plaza Major. We were starving so we headed straight for Mercado de San Miguel which had been recommended to us by multiple friends and our guide book.
View from outside before walking in
View inside down one of the aisle
No clue what this is. But there was so much amazing seafood!
Fresh sardines and octopus
Beautiful fresh seafood
Oysters- our first culinary stop in the market
Pinxtos- we tried these even though we weren’t quite sure what they were…
Tinto de verano and even more pinxtos (this is from when we came back to Madrid right before flying home)
Mercado de San Miguel was a perfect first stop. You can bounce from counter to counter and eat everything from oysters to pinxtos to bite-sized desserts to paella. Literally anything you could imagine! We did realize, perhaps a bit too late, that everything adds up quickly. Every stall was better than the one before so we just kept eating. Nothing cost more than €6-€9… but six or seven stalls later… oops?
After leaving, we just started walking. Whenever I travel, I like to do a ton of research (sorry to all my friends for all the emails!) and study a map so I can have a general idea of how to “aimlessly” wander around while still hitting every place I was told to check out. My mom (and others) had told me all about Botin. Botin, which opened in 1725, is considered to be the oldest continuously running restaurant in the world and it is located just down the street from Mercado de San Miguel. We “happened” to walk right by it so we stepped in and made a reservation for later that night. After a quick siesta we headed to dinner!
Us in front of Botin
Walking down the stairs into the cellar
Looking down another stair case into the wine cellar from our seats in the cellar
Very old wine in the wine cellar
A friend of mine from college, who moved to Madrid after we graduated to get a masters degree, told us to check out a Museo de Jamon. They are located all over the city and they make a perfect pit stop before siesta to get a quick snack and a beer. They sell small draft beer- maybe 6 oz at most- and you get free jamon and/or cheese when you order! It’s cheap, quick, delicious and the perfect bite.
Nick at the counter ordering our beer (and free food)
Our first small beer and our free snack. When you’re thirsty, these beers go down in a gulp or two!
Another snack from our second round of beers
Our second night (and first of two “last” nights) in Madrid we decided to do a proper tapas crawl on Cava Bajas,- Madrid’s notorious tapas street. We had a few recommendations and our trusted Lonely Planet so we just headed down the road. Our two favorite stops were Almendro 13 and Posado del Dragon (which happened to be the hotel we had booked for our final night of the trip before flying home). We fell in love with Huevos Rotos and Patatas Bravas!
Huevos Rotos at Almendro 13
Patas Bravas at Posado del Dragon
We ended our tapas crawl at a little churro restaurant called San Gines near Plaza Major around 2:30am. We ordered 4 churros (the standard order) with hot chocolate. It was so good! If you are ever in Madrid, you definitely need to check out all of these spots. I know that if I ever find my way back to Spain, you will find me wandering between Opera and Cava Bajas finding every treat in between.
Churros with Hot Chocolate