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.

Drinking Beer in Madrid

Well, my bit of Madrid, at least

*none of the photos taken in this post were taken by me
** all of the opinions are mine and “fluid” to say the least.

Hipsters love their beer, almost as much as their tattoos and their facial hair.
Hang on! thinking about it, all those blokes I grew up with were hipsters not North Notts Coal Miners*
(*sounds crazy to younger people…but in the past…britain made things and mined things, rather than running hedge funds, avoiding tax and buying everything from China)

When I came to live in Madrid, 12 years ago now, beer existed but only Mahou or other chemically altered nasty lager beers. and you could spit on the floor and throw anything you liked on the floor in a bar. and smoke at people, and shit on the floor or in the milk or anywhere you liked. They were simpler days.

Madrid is a better place since I came here. Obvs. The bread is still shite and people do still enjoy spitting on the floor and shitting in the milk, but…..but….real beer has arrived, and arrived hard. While having your beard trimmed by a lumbersexual you can look out of the window and see a bar selling artisinal beer from any angle. So here are some places to enjoy liquid bread if you happen to be in the people’s republic of Lavapiés

O.G! La buena pinta. Maybe the first beer shop/bar in Madrid. In Lavapiés market. Sells beer to take away with you or beer to put into yourself there and then. Generally has 4 good beers on tap (between 3,50€ and 5€ a pint). La buena pinta is also involved with 2 other bars close by….

the good one….Bar Casa Zoilo

..one of my favourite old skool bars, now even better as it has at least one IPA on tap and loads in bottles. Reasonably priced.

the not so good…El Pedal. a shame…cos it’s really near my house. Unfortunately, rather expensive (minimum 5€ a pint going up to 7€ or so) and not very comfortable. Staff aren’t particularly friendly either

couldn’t find a picture of the bar. i could probably take one from my balcony, but i’m still in my jim-jams and drinking a mug o’tea. give me a break.
Chinaski

18 different beers on tap from all over the place. Pint of pilsner erquel for 3,50€ if you fancy a decent lager beer. Do check how strong the beer you’re ordering is….i’m not a big fan of anything over 7percent and they have quite a few that are up to 10 or more. I’m still very manly of course.

Cafe Pavon
Next to Teatro Pavon. Was an always empty cafe bar until it became a hipster paradise. No proper beer on tap but they always have a few artisinal beers from madrid in bottles. terrible service, they can’t cope if there’s more than 3 people in the bar so you might be in for a long wait. Also, almost always full of ridiculously attractive people. They should really have a bouncer on the door so people like me aren’t allowed in. For bog lovers, the bogs aren’t great.

(course, make me look stupid googleimages, only have pictures of this bar farely empty)
there is a specialist beard barber opposite but you have to have a booking. and speak english i think, as the barber refused to speak spanish to me. which is his right.

Fai Bistes, Vigo

Happens every holiday, I get sucked into this idea that instead of just being off work and relaxing, that I should go somewhere….because that’s what you’re supposed to do. Don’t let anybody claim that travel makes you interesting…50 times out of 100 it does the oposite, people who go on about travel and how much they love travelling are boring. It’s as boring as public school tory voters doing banter and thinking they’re comedy geniouses. No offense to people who like travelling or people who like bants. But the assumption that travel makes you interesting is a bit like the assumption that being gay automatically makes you good at interior design.
What holiday travel means is, you spend a long time going from A to spend time in B that you don’t know and you don’t spend time in your own bed, but pay to sleep in a more uncomfortable bed in B. Then you get home and you’re exhausted. Thank fuck there’s another holiday coming up in a few months..I won’t fall into this trap I hope

Anyway, if you don’t know Vigo…it’s in the far north of Spain, in Galicia. The weather is a bit like Ireland and the countryside around it is a bit like Ireland if you had never been to ireland and were imagining it to be a really beautiful country. I went to Vigo. It’s nice.

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I whatsapped a friend i rarely see, who had recently been appearing in a play in vigo and is originally from galicia, to get suggestions of where to go (ie. where to eat and drink)…she told me to eat in Fai Bistes. So I did.
The menu is mainly meat on the brasa (charcole grilled) and the fish limited to roast bacalao or red Tuna. I chose the roast bacalao. and a bottle of local white wine. Blimey!

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I lived in Lisbon for nearly 5 years, so i know a little bit about bacalao…and i must tell you, this was the best bacalao i’ve ever had. Roast loin of bacalao on top of sliced potatoes and courgette, topped with camorelised onion with olives. Wine wasn’t bad either. I even had pudding…Grandmother’s tart
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Not so easy to find the restaurant if you don’t know where you’re going….obviously. From the port use the ugly modern shopping centre to go up towards and across to Mercado Pedra (you can walk down from here to a row of restaurants with terrasas who sell oysters outside), do a right just after Santa Maria church (maybe is a cathedrel, dunno) and walk along Rua Real, Fai Bistes is on the left and the enterence a further left.
Another restaurant close by I’ll recommend is El Capitan…i had a nice bit of Mero here (grooper in english…but you might has well go with Mero) and the best cheesecake i’ve ever had in my life. people there were all eating Cozido Gallego…which looked as aweful and exactly the same as Cozido Madrileño…so must be a good place for Cozido, if that floats your (frankly, weird) boat. Another place i’d recommend is a great bar nearby called Taberna A Mina. That’s it, your roving reporter signing out

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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ion

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

el imparcial

Where I come from (Sherwood Forest, North Nottinghamshire, Lil’ol’England, Europe), a tree grows outside…so putting a tree inside, well that seems a bit radical. possibly cruel, possibly heretical. but fuck it eh?!
this is a bizarelly posh place next to a sex cinema in turso de molina….so if you want to do a shop in lidl (which is great, by the way), have a drink and piss in the square (also kind of great) and then go and watch a bit of porn in a cinema along with old men who enjoy the comradery of watching porn in a group situation with fellow minded men and who probably don’t know about the internet…and you would like to finish off your afternoon in a really posh restaurant that has a tree inside it…then this is the place for you.
I just went to the restaurant, not sure i have the energy for the others.
there is a menu del dia which is pretty steep at 16€ and only includes a glass of wine….which is silly for a three course meal…how can you possibly make a glass of wine last 3 courses unless you’re a camel. and there were no signs of any camels demanding a table.
posh places are a bit annoying. first, because they’re posh and make you feel uncomfortable, second because they charge too much and don’t deliver what you’ve given them in your hard earned chashish, third because they tend to employ waiters or waitresses that may look good but tend to be not very good at waiting or thinking…just looking good and fawning. fourth, ridiculous hydration policy, but i could probably link that in with the first point.
this had all of those things…but at the end of the day, the food was nice and there was a tree INSIDE.
I was there with my partner because it was a special day for us, being a friday and the temperature was nice and cool and there was just a chance of rain. heaven.
We went upstairs to the restaurant (there’s a bar downstairs) which was half empty and were asked if we had a reservation and then the main waiter seemed to make a bit of a deal about finding us a table in a half empty restaurant…should have gone the whole hog and asked us to stand outside the dining room and eat standing up outside the disabled toilet. at this point i should say that..the disabled toilet is great. especially if you’re disabled.
my partner, with usual intuitive good taste and penache asked the waiter if, to drink we could have water as part of the menu del dia and then a bottle of white wine which we’d pay for on top of the menu del dia…the waiter said that he couldn’t do that but we could have the water as part of the menu del dia and we could pay for the bottle of wine on top of the menu del dia. errr…ok. various wines were chosen but they didn’t have them before the waiter decided we’d be better having the only white wine they had that was actually cold. so we had that. we both chose the same starter and main course.

starter, salad with wind dried tuna. nice enough. bit salty. that could have been the wind dried tuna. or the lettus. iunno.

main course…sardene fillets on top of thin slices of arabic/pita bread with an aubergine puret. nice.
pudding…fruit cocktail or cheese cake. i double checked that there was no nuts in or around the cheesecake and was laughed off as though i was asking if the dirty old men from the porn cinema had jizzed all over the cheesecake before they served it. of course…the cheesecake came with pistachios around it…but luckily not on it (as i have a nut allergy that would kill three strong men, possibly 4). it was nice though. maybe due to the old man-batter sauce.

so…in the end 24€ each and certainly a place i’d lake a laydee if i was wanting to impress them chika-chika-bow-wow

el mono de la pila

this only opened up a couple of weeks ago on the first floor of the anton martin markert and i’ve been meaning to come here since it did. as anton martin is still a working market, despite all the new bars and restaurants, it closes reasonably early (at 9pm) and i’ve not been able to get my arse in gear early enough.
today me and my arse made it. in gear too. it’s a small place, maybe 3 or maybe 4 standup tables, the open kitchen and a fridge for beer and wine. very pleasant colombian fella who runs or owns it, or works there, asked me if i knew ceviche. silly question, of course i know ceviche…i’ve had it twice. here’s a picture of the menu…that’ll give you an idea

so, first you decide what size you want…i went for grande as i’m a growing lad….then a choice of wild corvina (sea bass), wild prawns or civilised octopus. i went for the civilised octopus. yourman then suggested that as i was already an expert, i’d have had the al tigre before and should try a different one. i went for the al coco…coconut milk, mango and avocado as well as the other usual ceviche things…red onion, weird crispy corn things…and yeah…the other stuff (?). he also asked me how spicy i’d like it and i explained i wasn’t spanish and so would like some flavour, but i’m a bit of a nonce too, so not too much. he was a bit surprised as i was wearing a uruguyan natonal footbal shirt..because i’d said i was english…not because uruguyans will never eat coconut milk. i told him i wasn’t uruguyan, i just liked the colour and didn’t see nationality. he said he didn’t see colour but he had loads of various different national football shirts too. so we bonded, the way men all over the world do..though maybe not in australia, north america or venezuela…but everywhere else.

ordered a beer. why not? aside from the fact that i might have epilepse and shouldn’t drink any beer ever. but come on! it’s a thursday and this homey don’t play by those rules. in a flash the food was ready. i suppose that’s the advantage of not actually cooking the food, but still i’d be amazed if i could toss a salad as quickly as this genius handed over a bole of ceviche. oh…i had quinoa in with the ceviche for an extra 0,60€. hey, i was hungry…i’d been at the gym, if i want to make it as a professional (or amateur) swimwear model, i’ve got to put the hours at the gym in. as my daddy, or roy castle (sometimes hard to diverentiate the one from the other) always said ‘If you want to be the best, if you want to beat the rest, dedication’s what you need’…they were wise men. or one of them was.

anyway, might only have been my third ceviche…but it was by far the best. in fact i’d go so far as to say it was the dog’s bollocks. the bollocks of the dog. if you’re not a brit, a paddy or an ausy, let me tell you…that’s really pretty jolly good.
so, total…2 beers (what? fuck off!), lovely ceviche with quinoa…12€

if you’re very lucky and you get to be here as the greengrocer is closing his stall, you get to see an old man’s arse crack as he closes all the shutters. phwoar! not that i objectify old men who run veg stalls. heaven forbid!

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

Buns & Bones

Possibly the worst restaurant name i’ve ever come across, but i suppose it’s memorable. or not…i had to google it to write this.
Anyway, it’s a new restaurant on the outside of Anton Martin Market bottom corner if you were going to walk down to the Reina Sofia.

I suppose their shtick is that they get their ingrediants fresh from the market. the buns thing is, i think that half the menu contains bread and the bones bit is dead things that once had bones. i say half and half but there’s a large part of the menu that says “neither buns nor bones” and is given over to things that never had bones nor are served in bread.
We started off with Metze de Lavapies, the buns bit was pita pan and 3 things to put on to or into the pan…olive tapanard, hummus and guacamole. I thought that was a bit steep at 7.50, but to be fair…the waitresses were delightful, not that i’m ever swayed by a well turned ankle

I just got paid, so as a working class man, I am culturaly bound to spend it as quickly as possible. Not for the likes of I the more sensible deferred satisfaction, so i ordered a half a lobster. to eat. think i’d only ever had it once before. i felt all Kanye n’shit.

I should maybe have googled how to eat it properly because I fear I may have made a right pigs ear of it. Possibly why I’m not being considered for the new Bond.
My partner ordered the tandoori chicken, which was a brave thing to have on a menu in Lavapiés…bit like putting faggots & mushy peas on a menu in Nottingham, lot to live up to

My lobster was as nice as any i’ve ever had and the Tandoori chicken was apparently pukka. the roast potatoes that came with both were nice. Also, one of the lovely waitresses gave us a couple of beers free…I’d like to think that it was her way of being flortty-flortty, but it was probably because the chicken took a very long time and i’d finished stuffing my face with very recently murdered sea animal before my partner got the chicken.
Despite my rock star main course, the bill wasn’t too bad…21€ for two of us, a shared starter, lobster and 3 beers each

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

Lavapiés (Alta)

if you’ve spent any time at all in Madrid, you’ll be well aware that by far the best barrio to visit, have a drink in, shop, live and love in is Lavapies.

There are way too many bars, cafes and restaurants to do it justice in one blog post (unless i take a leave of absence from work) so be aware that this post is going to be even limper and more facile than its predecessors.
Also I’ve taken the decision to divide lavapies into two zones – alta and baja and i will cover them in two separate posts. The photos are even worse than usual too…i didn’t much fancy a drink and so didn’t go into any of them when i took the photos. so what i’m whispering into your ear as i gently nuzzle you is : don’t get your hopes up, darling!
i’m going warm you up next to my flat before finally climaxing on calle buenavista and taking sort of a circular route that will drive you wild. or no

El Pozo de Lugo

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The more eagle-eyed of you may have noticed a bearded man wearing a sash and a rather risque summer dress standing outside. For no apparent reason this bar has become a focal point for stag and hen parties, a must-do. Spanish hen/stag does are a relatively recent phonomenon, and resemble british ones aside from the absence of violence, vomit, dildos and police intervention. Aside from the stag-hens, you’ll find this a nice bar to sit and have a glass of wine and something to eat. One of the barmen is a wee galician fella with a love of 70s rock and atletico de madrid. i’d say he’s not adverse to the odd glass of wine either, as he seems less inscrutable as his almost interminable shift goes on. and his nose gets a bit more alex ferguson. reccomended here is the pincho of tortilla (you get a fair old whack of it accompianed by good galician bread) and the empanadas (tuna, bacalao with raisins or chorizo)

There are two bars under my flat, but i almost never go into them. one used to be a bookshop and became a bar with some books in it and plays amy winehouse all the time. i don’t go in there cos it’s expensive…2.70€ for a tercio…fuck off!

so, let’s walk up doctor fourquet instead. if your jonesing for a walk around a private art gallery, there’s about 10 on this fairly scruffy street. minus one, as a chinese fella who owned one has gone inside for money laundering, tax avoidance, human traffiking and extortion. the Spanish don’t like foreigners doing that. you shold at least be a paid up member of the PP.
La Caña

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I include la caña because it was probably the first of the shitty old man bars to get a makeover and become less shitty. and they do great coffee (Illy) and you can get any fruit juice you could imagine (i prefer to get my 5 a day via shower gel and air fresheners). good mix of people in there…tourists on their way to or from the reina sofia, students from the music conservatory or the medical school or the various media companies with offices around. cutting to the chase, yes…attractive women go in there sometimes. I only ever go in there for breakfast though, so you know how to avoid me easily.

Kardamon
The worst photo you’ll ever see of a bar or cafe…

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This place used to be a ladies’ hairdresser specializing in african barnets..but as a bald european man, I refused to give them my business on principle

It opened as a bar about a year and a half ago, and i predicted a quick demise as there was never anybody in it.but as summer arrived and they got a big screen and canal+ and goltv in, as well as a terraza, i was happy to consign my prediction of impending doom to the bin where i keep my Thierry Henry prediction (goal shy, he’ll never do anything at arsenal) and my backing of the mini-disc as the future of data storage.

lavapies is a demi-eden, a paradise…but it’s badly lacking in places to watch football…too cool for school sometimes, so kanela is a badly needed commodity here. also, they serve alhambra tercios and they’re cold to the point of freezing. run by two really nice colombian fellas, it’s a real barrio bar. must be something in the water in latinamerica…not only are the females dizzingly attractive, everyone i’ve met from there has been ridiculously pleasant and friendly. during the world cup i became a colombia fan and watched every game i could here.

Benteveo

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It might not have been the first, but maybe it’s the best example of a horrible old boys’ bar made good with minimal effort. This was a bar that made you contemplate your pointless existence and encouraged any latent thoughts you might have had to end it all. but some camp argentinians came in and turned the lights down, served decent beer with decent tapas, changed the furniture and made it into one of my favourite bars. and they have wifi
Vinicola Mentridana

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Probably not the best time for me to write about this place. Has been one of my favourite bars for years but tonight, while i was writing this, i was asked to give up my place and go and sit in the corner. i was on my own at a table and they wanted a group of 4 people to sit there. fair enough, you might think. but i was quite happily sitting there before these people came in, and wasn’t like i was nursing my drink (nursing a drink to me is not downing it straight from the barperson’s hand). i know it’s an unforgiveable sin to be on your own quite happily, but for fucksake. Not sure i’ll ever forgive them for this. shame, was a nice place.

How would you have felt?

El Corazon

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Did i say the benteveo had been the worst bar in the world? coulda been what was here before, but i never made it inside. too depressing even for me. now though…really nice bar opposite the anton martin market. coffee is portuguese (therefore a cut above the usual spanish shit they serve in this country). they have alhambra in bottles as well as la virgen. pincho of tortilla is very good value and they do the best thing ever…patatas revolconas…mashed potato with paprika, pork scratchings and a fried egg…forget me in a jacuzzi with Lucy Liu, Beyonce and Rachel Riley…give me mashed potatoes, pork scratchings and a fried egg any day of the week. I said “forget me in a jacuzzi”. Now!

immagunna post this and come back to it tomorrow…at ease

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

 

La Caleta

WordPress gives you various information about visitors to your blog: which pages they read and which country they were in and if they came by way of a google search, what they were googling that led them to your blog. The other day someone found my blog by searching pie drinking porn. I imagine he or she must have been very disappointed with my recipe for oxtail shepherd's pie. And people looking for hot lesbian badgers are going to be equally disappointed with this post.

La Caleta has been around for qute a few years but recently moved up the hill from Calle Tres Peces to Calle Santa Isabel and into a huge space that used to be an Indian restaurant. Calle Tres Peces is undergoing quite a change these days…what used to be the most depressing old man bar el aperitivo has been done up nicely in the way these places are transformed by dimmed lighting, half decent music and decent free tapas. Opposite is la infinita….book shop cafe with wifi. Don't order the house white…i have a glass of it in my hand at the moment and it's ropey to say the least.

Back to La Caleta. It's a gaditana bar which means it's a Cadiz themed place. Massive picture of Camarón on the wall as you walk in. Videos of Camarón on big screen at the back. If you've never listened to La Leyenda del Tiempo then I beg you to do so.

Cadiz is also famous for battered and fried fish which is served in paper. Sound familiar? Battering was invented by the Phoenicians apparently and Cadiz was a Phoenician city. There you go. I'm not sure when the English got into battering.

 

I order a racion of the bienmesabe. This is chunks of cazón, a sort of flat shark (rock salmon in english..if you've ever heard of that) which is cut into chunks and battered. The batter definitely has a bit of cumin in it. Bienmesabe is one of those things that is great when done well, and appalling when, more often than not, fucked up. A bit like the way a pint of Guinness can be the best thing in the world, or quite the opposite. I ordered it as I assumed it would be ther stock in trade as a Cadiz style bar. Very nice.

Not cheap though, that racion and a doble of beer was 13€

Now….to cruise the internet for sexy young ferrets covered in gravy