Tuesday night into Wednesday was commandeered by the UBWBB, “FA,” so while I felt that part of my vacation had been stolen from me, the saving grace was that we did indeed eat our way through parts of the city.
On Tuesday, the two places I had found were no longer in business (and it looked like one never had been, which was interesting), so back to the Lavapies main square we went. I had passed Portomarín several times, and it always looked crowded, but we were able to get a table easily, and I was super excited that it was nautically-themed. Anyone who knows me knows I love the idea of ships and New England, and this love of all things beachy and oceany (and the less-than-stellar company) led to me becoming engrossed in the wall decor. And the food wasn’t half bad, either.
It wasn’t the first time I had ceviche (yum!), but it was the first time I’d ever had octopus cooked like this – I have to say, while I am all for calamari and other forms of squid….you can keep most of your pulpo gallego. However, sign me up for the croquettes bandwagon, because little bits of fried goodness with melted cheese and ham in it?? It’s a high-class Hot Pocket.
The following morning, I needed more clothing, and because I opened my stupid mouth, he tagged along. We ended up going to the Mercado de San Miguel (my first trip there), and when I was permitted to stop and take it all in, I was able to sample some of the delicacies at a few of the many stands. Generally, while traveling, I try to order things that I wouldn’t necessarily be able to get at home, I made an exception for oysters, since even at home they are not a frequent menu item. It’s also not every day you get to see a guy shuck ten oysters in a minute.
Following the San Miguel market, we hopped on the metro (which was gorgeous, by the way) to the Almagro area of Madrid, and stopped in at a French cheese restaurant called Poncelet. I love cheese, I love wine, I didn’t love the company, so instead I focused on the former two items. The cheese plate was fantastic – from a very hard, aged cheese to super soft, super smelly cheese. And thank God, no octopus. It was at that restaurant that I realized the Spanish really, really like fancy water bottles.
Upon a very interesting interlude, we found a restaurant called Lamucca, which was very good aside from the fact that the bartenders spoke absolutely NO English. Being somewhat proficient in Spanish and fluent in Italian, I usually make an attempt, but my company is of the mindset that everyone in the world should speak English, because America is the center of the universe. Because of that, the bartenders were friendly for the anticipated American tip, but nothing further.
I seemingly could not escape pulpo, so I ate the my half of the pizza – Iberian ham, pear, and cheese. I also drank practically that entire pitcher of (weak but spicy) delicious sangria. So I was a bit of a lush. So sue me. It’s not like the self-proclaimed “heavy boozer” I was with was doing his part, and I couldn’t leave a fallen soldier in the form of what is essentially Spain’s national drink.
This last stop at Lamucca took us till late in the afternoon, and upon returning to Calle Mira el Sol, I was happy to have a (short) shower. Eating one’s way through the neighborhoods of Madrid is exhausting, so I lay down for a well-earned and much needed nap.