Thursday, February 19, 2009

La Gastronomía

Today we're doing a culinary tour of Madrid in photos. The Spainsh have never heard of vegan diets, low-carb diets, or the makers diet; in other words, they're my kind of people. Venga...

I think this is my favorite picture from the entire trip, an action shot of a tapas night out. Look at how perfectly formed the rings of beer are on my glass. Also on the table (moving clock-wise from my beer) are croquetas de jámon (savory fried dough with ham), huevos estrallados (fried egg and chorizo over french fries), tortilla española (basically a potato omlet), and jámon.

Speaking of jámon, I would be completely negligent if I didn't describe the national obsession that Spain has for all pig products. There's a saying that the only part of the pig that the Spanish don't eat is the sound. The store in the picture sells the highest grade of jámon, Jámon Iberico de Bellota. This ham comes from free-range black pigs that are fed a diet of at least 40% acorns (bellotas). If you look closely at the picture, it's selling for €41/kg. It has recently become legal to import it to the U.S.

Most bars cure their own ham legs, like you see here at Cervecería La Alemana (left hand side of the photo). When you order jámon, they hand-slice your ration and bring it to your table.

Calamares en su tinta (squid stewed in its own black ink) is a dish that I found surprisingly good. I've heard Mario Batali say that the ink tastes like the bottom of the ocean, and I can't describe it better than that. It was especially delicious to dip a piece of bread into the ink. The restaurant I was eating in was so unpretencious that they served my white wine in a juice glass.

This restaurant is on the Plaza Mayor (see yesterday's post), and uses this window to lure customers inside. I like their marketing campaign.

My favorite bar in Madrid, El Urogallo. They have the best tapas in the city... and for this reason, I stop by here for a drink 3 or 4 days a week. (I apologize that this photo is fuzzy.)

Spain claims to have the best olives and olive oil in the world. These marinated olives at El Urogallo are some of the best I've ever had.

The view from my regular table at Café Comercial. It's worth coming here just for the beauty of the cafe itself. It's unlike anything I've ever seen in the U.S.

The waiters at Café Comercial are no-nonsense, so I had to take this picture of my waiter pouring my café con leche on the sly. There's something about they fact that they pour the steamed milk at your table that makes it taste better.

My typical breakfast: tortilla española with café con leche.

Paella is native to Valencia, but you can get excellent paella at St. James in Madrid. This was easily the best meal of the trip... in fact, it's in the top 5 best meals of my life. These guys are the champions.

1 comment:

  1. once again, great pictures. i loved the shot of the waiter pouring the milk, it ended up quite artsy. that cafe looks magnificent.