Table of Contents
- 1 Cervecería Alemana, opened since 1904.
- 2 The Spanish Craze in NYC
- 3 Stays:
- 4 Dishes:
- 5 Books:
Mode of Transport: Gazpacho
“Nobody goes to bed in Madrid until they have killed the night” – Ernest Hemingway from Death in the Afternoon
Hotel RoomMate Alicia peeking through to Plaza Santa Ana in Madrid via @DishOurTown
Hotel Room Mate Alicia
There was a beautifully tiled area right outside the main bathroom. On top of the tiles sat a beautiful tub. It had an antiqued finish to it. Not authentic, as the chipped enamel on the iron, seemed a bit contrived, but it did the trick. I liked the room.
My daughter called me over to the large, floor to ceiling window that faced Plaza de Santa Ana. I looked out onto the square, noticing that the afternoon sun was hitting it pretty direct and there wasn’t a soul out there. We were in Madrid, Spain.
They say that the days of the siesta no longer exists in the capital, and maybe this is true in light of its current economic situation, but on that day it seemed that the siesta was alive, and I loved the idea of it. I loved the idea that people were at a pause before they played again.
Bailey and I continued to look out the window, she hoping that the small playground would fill up with children, and me wondering when the tables with the white umbrellas, that was situated on my favorite bar, would start filling up. Brenda, the smart one and not 7-years-old, kicked back and got some rest.
As if God pressed the play button on His iPod, Plaza de Santa Ana started to fill with sound. Wanting to be part of the playlist, the three of us jetted out of the room to join the Madrileños.
Cervecería Alemana, opened since 1904.
We were famished, and it was still a bit on the hot side, so we forwent the white umbrella outdoor seating and headed indoors to get some tapas and a cold drink. Cervecería Alemana has sat on those grounds since, 1904, and upon entering, you are automatically transported to an era of when matadors and Hollywood starlets shared a plate of Jamon Iberico while sipping vermouth together.
Hemingway, Ava Gardner and Picasso
If it’s not your thing to spend a few extra Euro to eat and drink at a place where the cachet is defined by history and the famous people that frequented it, then you should just get the fuck out of there immediately, because the aura of Hemingway and other luminaries of the past such as Ava Gardner and Picasso pervades this place.
Cervecería Alemana in Madrid via @DishOurTown
I rushed to the bar, Bailey by my side and ordered a vermouth for Brenda, a cold glass of water for Bailey and a caña (a small draft beer) for myself. The gentleman behind the bar, wearing his pristine black vest, shook his head and poured me what they called a “doble” (a double) knowing that a small one wouldn’t do. He was right. Actually, I had three dobles by the time I was done.
Like most tapas bars, Alemaña Cervecería had their food offerings out for the eaters to view and order. Brenda approached the bar to order up some food.
“Buenos Dias, Señora”
Brenda fires off her order…
Pan con tomate, albondigas, callos, jamon serrano, torta.
It was 8 in the evening and the sun had decided to give it a bit of a rest, and the children and adults were out to play for the rest of the long Madrid evening.
Clown Act at Plaza Mayor in Madrid via @DishOurTown
The grand arcade that is The Plaza Mayor has served as the center square of Madrid since its construction under the reign of Philip III in 1619. It was his father, Philip II, that my ancestral home was named after, the Philippines. Until this day, whether it be the architecture, religion, language or food, the Spanish influence left a mark on my heritage.
Restaurante de Botin
Beyond one of Plaza Mayor’s arches is Via Cuchilleros, and in the middle of that block is Restaurante Sobrino de Botin. The Philippines has the reputation of having the best roast pig in the world, but I have a feeling they learned a thing or two from Sobrino Botin. Known to be the oldest running restaurant in the world, it’s doors have been opened since 1725, and serves up what I consider to be the best roast suckling pig in the world.
[Tweet “Nobody goes to bed in Madrid until they have killed the night” – Ernest Hemingway from Death in the Afternoon.”]
It was nearing eleven in the evening. The three of us walked north from Plaza de Santa Ana to Plaza Mayor. There were people everywhere and it was hard to not get caught up in the energy. A man approached me and asked me if I wanted to purchase this cheap aerial toy for my daughter for only 2 euro. I offered him 5 euro for three, he obliged.
The toy had mini propellers and was to be slung in the air with a rubber band. It had a miniature light on it, so you can see it in the dark as it flies through the air. We spent a little time mastering the use of the toy but once we did, had contests as to who was able to shoot it up highest. It was now 11:30 in the evening and we had lost track of time. We rushed over past the arches of the square, down some steps, onto a small street. Sobrino Botin is paneled all in wood and on the left-hand side of the street, hard to miss.
Bailey still had her toy in her hand. The maitre’d gave her a smile, greeted us a good evening in English, and asked us to follow him to our table. He brought us up the stairs, passing the kitchen where in full view were what looked like 50 or so cast iron pans lined up on a shelf with the smallest roast suckling pigs on them. The room in which we were sat had a tavern like aesthetic, with wooden beamed ceilings and a mixture of tiles and old paintings on the walls. The waitstaff donned white jackets, black trousers, white shirts and black bow ties. Being a sentimental fool, I bask in the formality of days gone by.
This gazpacho was not like the cold salsa variety we get in the States.
Brenda and I started with their gazpacho. The first time we ate at Botin years before this was the first time we had a true gazpacho. This gazpacho was not like the cold salsa variety we get in the States. There’s a fine blend of peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, cumin, paprika, olive oil, tarragon vinegar, salt, and bread. The bread is soaked in a bath of water and garlic, which the aforementioned ingredients are added then pureed. There are garnishes of crouton, tomato, cucumber and peppers given on the side if you wish to use them. The finished product was as beautiful and silky as we remembered it to be. We of course, followed it up with a main course of the cochinillo asado (suckling pig). Bailey opted for the cordero asado (Lamb).
Our waiter was a refined older gentleman. His Castilian Spanish was strong and rhythmic. His words had that perfectly placed lisp. His hair more white than gray, and perfectly feathered. One can tell he was a senior member of the staff, as he worked the crowd around him with confidence and never missing a beat. He came to our table with a large oval shaped earthenware dish with the roasted suckling pig on it. He showed us the beautiful glistening offering before methodically cutting into its crispy skin to serve us. The lamb dish Bailey ordered didn’t come out with as much theatrical flair but looked equally as good.
“Buen Provecho”, the white-haired man bidded us.
“Gracias”, we all say in unison, with perfectly placed lisps.
To date, I have yet to have a better roast pig.
The sun was peering through the cracks of the drawn shades. I could tell it was going to be another hot one. We were all up quite early considering that we were out until well after midnight. Bailey and Brenda, ready to take on the heat, slipped on their sundresses. I put on my favorite navy linen shirt with navy shorts. Brenda gave me a backhanded compliment by telling me that she liked my slimming outfit. I had hoped she was right because I planned on eating all day, which was not an anomaly in Madrid. The Madrileños seemed to always be eating and drinking, with the exception of when they were taking their siesta.
[Tweet “In 1894, Chocolatería San Gines opened it’s doors and since then have served up what many consider to be the best churros and hot cocoa combination in the world.”]
Pasadizo San Gines is less an alley and more akin to a small square. In 1894, Chocolatería San Gines opened its doors and since then have served up what many consider to be the best churros and hot cocoa combination in the world. It is another one of those institutions that have men in their white jackets serving you. There is a simple elegance about the place, with its forest green trim and antiqued beige paint. The inside feeling a bit like an extension of a chapel, with beautiful marble floors and globe sconces.
The chocolate was thick and dark, almost tactile. Less a drink and more a dip. It complemented the sugar-dusted fried fritters well. Wearing a white dress for the day, Bailey was navigating the chocolate dipped churro into her mouth with reckless abandon. Surprisingly, she got off clean. I, on the other hand, did my best to look like the child in my family by getting chocolate drippings all over myself. It was the start of a wonderful day.
The Spanish Craze in NYC
New York City has in recent years caught on to the Spanish craze. There is a gourmet food shop called Despaña where we like to purchase our chorizo and morcilla. There are El Colmado and La Boqueria opened by Chef Seamus Mullen that dole up some of the best tapas and Spanish dishes out there.
Just the other day, needing a Spanish fix, Brenda and I went down Mulberry Street toward Houston Street and went into a little joint named, La Churreria. We ordered bocadillos (sandwiches) and gazpacho. Brenda had the roast pork sandwich and I had the fried calamari sandwich.
Thinking about lunch about now? Let’s transport to Madrid, shall we? How about some Gazpacho and Cochinillo en Pan (Spanish roast pork sandwich) or a Madrileno (fried calamari sandwich) at @lachurrerianyc #DishOurNYC #DishOurTown #lachurrerianyc #gazpacho #madrileno #spanishfood #foodblogger #foodie #foodiechats #travelstoke #TravelGram #foodstoriesUSA
A photo posted by Brenda, Andrew & B Tolentino (@dishourtown) on
Whenever one of us orders pork at a Spanish restaurant the topic of Botin is bound to arise. Whenever I get a calamari sandwich, I always regret being too full to have gone into Casa Rua, another great place right off Plaza Mayor who are famous for their bocadillos de calamares. At least it gives me another reason to go back to Madrid I always tell myself. When the gazpacho came out, we smiled at each other, pleased that it was made the way we like it. But the corner of Mulberry and Houston just isn’t Plaza Mayor or Plaza de Santa Ana. We longed for Madrid.
Bailey and Brenda took turns using the bathtub while I packed. I went over to the window and drew the curtains apart and watched the Madrilenos, who have been out playing all night, go off to work. It had been a wonderful week in Madrid and it was almost unthinkable that we were leaving.
The taxi had pulled up in front of the hotel. The driver called out our name, Brenda and Bailey who had been sitting in the hotel lobby came to meet him. After exchanging pleasantries, the driver came over to where the luggage was and started to carry them over to his car. He was a slight young man but quite strong, as he was able to handle all our luggage at once. I checked out, thanked the hotel staff of the Room Mate Alicia for a wonderful stay.
Out front, I took a few seconds to feel the heat of the afternoon sun hit my face as I looked out onto the empty square one last time. Melancholy, Bailey shed a tear as she took one last look at the playground as the cab pulled away. God had pressed the pause button, and we’re waiting for Him to press play again. Did you enjoy this post? We would love it if you would share it with your friends!
Brenda’s short travel guide for Madrid, Spain.
We flew AirFrance from NYC to Madrid with a stopover in Paris for about $800 round trip in 2011.
In 2011, We stayed in a suite Hotel Room Mate Alicia, which was awesome. We highly recommend staying there because it’s so convenient. We walked everywhere from our hotel and at night, we were right in the middle of all the action. As mentioned by Andrew, there is a playground right in the middle of the plaza so the kids can play while we ordered up drinks and watched them, while socializing with some other tourists and locals. There were kids for Bailey to play with even way past midnight, she absolutely loved it and so did we!
|Room Mate Alicia C/ Prado 2, 28014 T. 913 896 095 Booking Telephone: 900 818 320 F. 913 694 795|
In 2003, we stayed at the Intercontinental in Madrid. This was before Bailey was born. We liked the actual hotel, but it was in an inconvenient location. However, if you like the big, old-world style hotels, then this is for you. PASEO DE LA CASTELLANA 49
Restaurante Botin – Botin is a must and the order should be suckling pig or lamb.
To contact us or if you want any information:
Mercado de San Miguel – We absolutely loved this mercado, we went several times and is walking distance from the hotel Room Mate Alicia. We ate loads of Jamon Iberico, cheese, wines of all sorts, ice cream and this is where we had our first ever Percebes, which we loved. This market is great for the whole family, everybody will be happy.
Plaza de San Miguel, s/n 28005, Madrid (+34) 915 42 49 36
from 10:00 to 24:00Th-Fr-Sa:
from 10:00 to 2:00
+34 91 365 65 46
Pasadizo de San Ginés, 5 | 28013 | Madrid.
E-mail me with any questions about Madrid, would be happy to help.
Some are affiliate links but as always, prices remain the same for you. Opinions all my own.