"It's not much but it's ours"

Monday, September 10, 2007


I hit the ATM - and march down the street
With a roll of party cash

You´ve got to hate the Madrilenos. The lack of mean-spiritness and their insistence that you have a good time, all the time is just wrong. Take for instance a recent Saturday night I spent there. My plane was late landing and it took an age for my luggage to appear (no shock there as DH had a similar experice just over a year ago at the exact same carousel). So everything was screwing up nicely. Then my bags turned up and it all went badly well.

I got a cab straight away. The driver didn`t laugh at my rudimentary attempts at conversational Spanish. He took me the optimum route to my hotel and didn´t try to overcharge me. Just what was his problem ?

I hadn´t been to Madrid for over a year. As I approached my first bar of the trip I just knew I wouldn´t get a free tapita with my cana. And the price of beer had probably gone up. I got a cold one with a creamy head and a montadito of a particulary good cured meat for a euro. Damn it. I tried a few more bars but it was the same story. Good cold beer, good freebies. Out of sheer desperation I went into a Museo del Jamon. Surely here I would be ripped off. But no, the beer was even cheaper than the other places and their free snacks had even improved on my last visit. Just what was their game ?

Out of sheer desperation I went for the culinary equivalent of shock and awe. I went to the Bar Cantabrico for a plate of percebes. My tactic was shot down in flames. A 100gr plate of the blighters and a beer came to 11 euros. Still expensive though. And I didn´t get a freebie. That was more like it.

Tiring of my quest to catch out this town I went for dinner to Asador Imanol. A new one (to me) situated in Barrio Salamanca. I was seated in the worst seat in the house - the smoking section, facing the hat stand. I demurred slightly and they immediately transplanted me to the best table in the house where tables full of happy people were chowing down on great food. I decided to join them.

Notable amongst the freebies was a particulary good morcilla: soft and very black puddingy. A starter proper of Jamon Iberico from Huelva was up there with the best as was the huge Chuleton I had ordered for my segundo plato. Cooked rare with a ribbon of delicious fat it was pretty easy to finish off.

I always order Leche Frita whenever I see it on the menu and this one was particulary good. I finished as usual with a Cafe Solo and Orujo Blanco. They left the bottle of Orujo on the table (of course they did, the bastards).

So despite my best efforts at the end of the day it was Madrid 3 - HP 0. My next match is against Cordoba. I must try harder.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi R,

Glad you are having fun in Spain. Pray tell- I remember seeing percebes in the Boqueria market in Barcelona- but never got to try them. What on earth are they like. I seem to recall a Stein programme, where he said that they were dangerous to get at but regarded asa real delicacy.

Cheers Bapi
(PS trip up here to see us, still on the cards btw. Speak when you get back)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 10:35:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

They´re ok. Like a good oyster they´re a bit salty and have the tang of the sea. They´re a bit more involving than like caviar because there´s a bit more twisting and sucking involved. The Spanish go nuts for them. Me ? I´m just as happy with a dozen Whitstable natives.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007 5:57:00 pm  

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