¡Viva España! La Comida, Parte Uno

And now, the entry series you’ve all been waiting for…..the food.

To be honest, I didn’t get to sample as much food as I had hoped – I don’t generally eat a ton, and I wanted to buy stuff for other people, not to fill my belly.  I fully intend to forego the calorie counting and penny pinching the next time I’m there, and eat till I can’t walk anymore.  (But who am I kidding?  I’m going to walk it all off anyway….)

I didn’t eat my first Spanish meal until nearly 11pm on my first day there, which felt more like 5am to my poor, confused, tired stomach (but oddly, I was wide awake).  I was wandering around in the dark, and realized I hadn’t eaten in two days, with the time difference.  Sadly, all the tapas places were full, so I kept wandering until I found a hole-in-the-wall Mexican place (literally – I wouldn’t have noticed it between the two GIANT walls). I told the waiter (an Indian guy that spoke decent English) that I wanted a beer, and whatever he recommended to eat because I was starving.  He said, “The tacos are really good.  Three tacos will be enough?”  I must have given him a Look, because he quickly said, “Okay, okay.  Six.”  He brought out a teeny ramekin of watery salsa, and a handful of chips while I was waiting and contemplating my order.

While six initially sounded like a lot of tacos, I realized quickly I probably should have ordered nine…or even twelve.  The tortillas were roughly 4″ across (and I dislike tortillas anyway), and there was barely half a cup of carnitas.  My Mahou was also mini.  Being American, we have our big 16-oz pints.  This glass was a 6oz glass, and because it was a draft beer, I only got one >.< Sigh.  European portions.

On the way there, I had passed several fruit and convenience stands, so I figured I might make use of my lovely patio in my apartment the next morning, and eat a healthy breakfast of fresh fruit and juice in the warm sunshine of late Spring in Madrid.  We all now know that I picked the coldest week in May to go to Spain, but I got the fruit and juice anyway.  I ate it inside, on my counter, wrapped in a blanket.

IMG_20140521_061301938On Tuesday, I went to buy some clothing in the shopping area, and needed to eat.  But because I was ready for brunch at around 4pm, when everyone seems to close for siesta, I found the nearest place with an open kitchen.  I sat down and told the waiter (another Indian who spoke great English – what the hell?) that I was starving and to bring me his few favorite dishes, but I also wanted a salad and a glass of rioja (okay, two).

I got a free dish of paella, which was nice, and I was so hungry I even ate the crust off the bread (it was soft and boring).  But then the tapas started coming out, and I was instantly glad the bread was soft and could absorb all the amazing spices and sauces.  I was so hungry at first, I almost managed to miss the decor – the entire place was filled with bullfighting memorabilia.

The six drunk, red-faced older gentlemen tried to hit on me in Spanish, and when I responded with “No puedo hablar muy bien,” they laughed and raised their glasses.  I figured anyone that jovial at 5pm on a Tuesday must be doing something right., and so I joined them in a cross-table toast:  “Por España!”

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15 comments

      1. That was the one that caught my eye too! Looks delicious! It would probably be easier to go to Madrid and get them than go to IKEA 😉
        And afternoon drinking rocks 🙂

  1. Hahaha, but Ikea meatballs are like a reward for navigating the floorplan. Good girl, you found your way to the cafeteria! 🙂

    Afternoon drinking…night drinking….morning drinking….it’s all the same! Delicious!

  2. You’re right about the portion sizes, but it’s not really a “European” thing. In Germany and the UK, the portions are much larger. And so are the people. A coincidence? I think not… 😉

    1. They should offer the option to “American-size” your meal!

      I probably could have ordered another round of food, but the guy looked at me like I was mad.

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