As you can see from the title, I am combining the Food subject with the Madrid series. I can do that, because since we had several days to explore the old part of Madrid, we ate new food there, too. :-)
We walked around the the area of our hostel--I think the floor we stayed on was an allied hostel managed by Hotel Marlasca--we smelled the most wonderful smell coming from an open window at a corner. What was that?!? Yum! We had already gone past, so we tracked that corner down later and discovered Casa del Abuelo. Which actually has two locations, covering two sides of this tiny intersection.
And the wonderful, delicious, garlicky smell? Gambon al ajillo. We went in. We watched the old man making it, right by the open window, on the small gas stove. We bought a couple plates of it and enjoyed it immensely. And we decided to figure it out when we got home. Even though our stove is electric, not gas, and we would be guessing on the lovely seasoning that he added. (The garlic mixture.) I'll save further detail on that one for a future cooking report, because I don't have a picture to show y'all.
We also tried tapa with "eels" which were tasty. We found them again in the Mercado San Miguel and discovered to our surprise that the gulas aren't actually tiny eels. They're specially prepared pieces of a larger fish. The stand selling them at the Mercado had a whole explanatory sign bragging about how they only use the highest quality cod for their gulas.
I do have pictures of some of the yummies (totally a word!) at Mercado San Miguel. First, the reason it's called that:
I didn't get a lot of photos in this church, because that was the day I'd zipped off the bottom half of my pant legs. I don't feel comfortable just waltzing into a church in shorts like that, resembling somebody on the way to a picnic. It feels disrespectful. But about a block or so later we encountered a large pavilion-style modern building in a stone plaza. It bore the title Mercado de San Miguel.
I supposed you could call it a tourist attraction. It might be more correct to call it a "food court" that had been added to the ancient plaza area, all glass and decorated with awnings to keep the sun off. Inside it we found lovely glasses of gazpacho--perfect for walking on a warm day--and lots of other booths with good food. We tried the mixed olives plate (I love olives dressed simply with olive oil!) from the olive both and a glass from the wine booth. Met nice tourists from the US, of all places, to share our olives with. On another visit we tried the fresh cheese tapas (there was a cheese tapa booth) and that was lovely also. I want to go back to Madrid some day and eat all of these at least once:
While strolling Madrid, I also tried the summer wine punch Tinto de Verano. It is lovely, red and cool with some fruit to it. It is lighter than straight-up wine. In some bars, you ask for that and they give you another wine based punch (Sangria?) that isn't so light, but it's all right too.
I will have more on Madrid tomorrow (museums, I think.) And my sweetie has hinted that he might do a guest post, as we two have serious disagreements about the famous painting "Guernica."