So if you read my first installment on our little mini break to Madrid (gosh that sounds very Bridget Jones doesn’t it?) you’ll know we got to the hotel, dumped out bags and off we set to explore.
Except we didn’t quite explore. In fact, me being me (oh why oh why am I like this?) I’d already heavily researched the best restaurants in town, found most of them shut for the ENTIRE month of August (I mean really? I know August is hot and all that but surely it’s peak tourist time? Maybe I am projecting my British obsessive compulsive desire not to annoy or upset anyone?) and even made a reservation at one of them that did happen to be open. The only time I could get us in was 3pm. Which back in the UK, at my kitchen table, seemed, well, very continental. You know, eat lunch late, take a siesta, supper late and then drink into the night.
However, in Madrid, after a bit of travelling, 3pm seemed very late. Naturally, we took the metro (see previous post) to our destination which we’d plotted on the map. Now this is where it all got a bit unstuck. We got off the metro in an area that was none too pretty. It had a Starbucks, a McDonalds and a couple of all day sports bars. We looked about. I asked for directions in bad Spanish. And well, no-one could help us. I then had a massive tantrum that this perfect weekend was ‘RUINED’ which may have been related to it being 2.45pm and my being incredibly hungry, and hailed a cab. The driver took us 10 minutes away to the restaurant and order was restored.
It seems there are sometimes street names that are abbreviated very similarly in Spain. Yes reader, I was the dunce who got it wrong. Now, I’d like to say I am gracious in the face of defeat like this. But I’m not; I’m hideous. All pouting and self-abuse at having got something so simple so incredibly wrong. Husband is of course ultra relaxed (thank goodness, imagine two of us like me) but well, I was in a right mood. I hate myself for it now. What a silly. Anyway, we got to this lovely place, opened the door and suddenly everything felt a little better.
Service was a little slow to be honest. They seemed unprepared for our arrival and took us to an unmade breakfast bar table, which I don’t really like eating at. I have no idea why, it maybe feels too casual. I want pomp and ceremony and a chair that can handle a napkin sitting in my lap.
Anyway, we sat down and some time later the menus arrived. Some time after that the drinks arrived. Some time after that the first of our sharing plates arrived from the three menus (which I am not entirely sure of the reason why they are divided into ‘a trip to TriCiclo, an outing to TriCiclo and from the market to TriCiclo. I do know there are three head chefs which explains the Tri part of the name). Oh it was good, especially after the near miss with McDonalds. This is sardine, smoke, bread, saute and basil (their description, not mine):
It was a delight; the sardine tasted cooked, but felt uncooked. Hard to describe. Then we ate this; prawn, shiso and mango.
We dipped our bread into the sauce like heathens from the Midlands.
Then we tackled this hake with pod juice, Iberian layers and extra virgin olive oil. Afraid this was way too salty for me. But I do tend to eat little salt most of the time so it could well be my fault. Husband liked it.
Then burrata, cherry tomatoes, watercress, pine nut and summer truffle salad arrived. We liked this a lot. Both visually and also just to stick in our mouths.
Then fresh white kidney beans from Navarra stewed in seaweed and mushrooms pil pil. This as you can see, was also a thing of beauty. However, it was again, way too salty for me. Husband had to eat it. For me it was more sea water and less sea weed.
Luckily we finished with crunchy cod and Guernika peppers with red pesto. This was possibly my favourite.
So to summarise, all that planning… not sure I’d do it again. The food was interesting but the service was a little slow and I didn’t feel very special. I’d say this is definitely a locals place. There were lots of larger groups having a raucous time. We were stuck in the corner feeling a little unloved. What I did like? The combinations were unusual. Lots of Asian influence. And you can order the dishes in full, as half plates and as third plates. We ordered either halves or thirds so we could try as many things as possible. This is a very good thing in my opinion.
We were a bit tired by the time we finished, it was gone 5pm. We’re really not very continental are we? So we got back on the metro and back to our hotel and well, we were a little shocked at what was available on the room service menu. I had to share this with you. It amused me. (Younger readers, avert your eyes).
I especially like the array of items available on this page. As if natural orange juice is a gateway drink to cigarettes and then, consider when ordering ‘bedroom toys’ one might need some deodorant, ice and possibly some bread.
We had a siesta without calling for room service and when we awoke it was time for more food. We trotted off (via the metro) to La Latina area as husband had heard the receptionist mention a bank holiday street party. We got there and couldn’t see any sign of this party. So we went for a drink at ‘The Kidnapper Kisses’ and consulted our map.
The wine was delicious. This however, was not:
Neither was this. I was going to take a photo of the filling but it was so paltry you could barely see it.
Oh we were in a pickle. We felt a bit like the only people without a clue what was going on. We left the bar and sort of lolled about, walking down this street and that and then we heard some music. So we followed it. And then! This happened:
We walked straight into a fabulous, (very camp) end of the street party. I loved it. We moved through the crowd, we ordered beer and wine in plastic cups. It was exactly as I wanted it to be. We happened upon the local church and folks congregating for midnight mass.
I did consider going in and then thought I might need a wee half way through and would find it tricky to explain this in bad Spanish.
So instead we watched a little.
Look, both a Minion and the Virgin Mary! What a party. We went looking for more food and drink:
As much as I wanted to try one of these churros I decided to save myself for more pork related products.
And then I found myself watching something that literally moved me to tears. We’d moved from the gay area to the religious family hub area and now to the traditional dance area. Romantic I’d say:
When I’m 85 let me wear a fancy dress, dancing shoes and a flower in my hair.
We sought out some mojitos – watermelon ones. Now they tasted nectar like to me. Husband not so keen, it may have been the dried mint, but hey, we had three, so who cares. I drank his.
The last metro was due to end at 1.30am so we left. This was an utterly stupid idea given we’d just found a bar that sold warm snails and cold beer. I wish we’d stayed and carried on partying with the 80 year olds, the babies and the gorgeous gay guys. I had a little dance on the way back to the metro, in the crowd, in an inconspicuous mum type way.
We arrived back to this glorious vision. Our hotel, in Technicolor!
We took the lift to the 13th floor for more revelry. It promised a night club. We didn’t find it, but we did find a bar selling alcohol and salty snacks. I was happy.
The bar was open to the night. We stared out and wondered what tomorrow would bring. Oh I did hope and pray for another street party.
We finally retired at 3am (which husband remarked might be the latest we have ever stayed up together – I have had a think about this and yes, when I was in labour at 3am he was indeed asleep in the corner of the room) and I dreamt of this Instagram filtered sky.
The third (and last installment) will be up on the blog soon.
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