Lost in translation…
So while I was away in Galicia I got an invitation to the Spanish book launch of my friend José Pizarro’s Andalucía, which is being held in Madrid on October 30th. You may recall I went to London in May for a event at the Spanish Embassy that included celebrating José’s 25 years as a chef and was also the launch for the English version of this book. But you know, I want to be there to support José and so I booked my train to Madrid and a hotel for a couple of nights, even though I can’t exactly afford to travel right now.
And THEN something amazing happened. Out of the blue I was asked by Decanter Magazine to write another city break travel piece for them… on Madrid! This is my third commission from Decanter in a year, and I am thrilled about that. But also, it will end up paying for my trip and I can use my time there to do research for the article. How perfect is that? 🙂
After an intense week of activities in Galicia it was nice to be able to get up at my leisure on Sunday morning. We had arrived in Madrid two hours later than scheduled on Saturday night, so didn’t actually get to the hotel until almost 11.00 pm. Luckily Andrew had recommended a nearby tapas bar, El Del Medio. I got in just before the kitchen closed and had time for a couple of tapas (hadn’t eaten since lunchtime!).
perfect smoked salmon on crispy toast with avocado, roasted vegetables
baked butifarra with mustard, mixed hot pickles, micro greens
On Sunday my train home was at 6.00 pm, so I made plans to have lunch at another place recommended by Andrew, Amano, which had just opened in August. When I went downstairs to have a bit of brekkie I ran into Rachel, who was leaving for Scotland that afternoon. After a couple hours chatting over coffee we checked out and then continued chatting for another couple of hours, this time over wine. It was great because although we’d been together for five solid days we hadn’t really had time to talk much. Anyhoo, by 2 pm we were both feeling a bit blurry so it was time to get our taxis, hers to the airport and mine to the train station.
Bag checked at Atocha, I made my way over to Amano for lunch. I was excited to try this place because Andrew had told me that it was run by Fran (former co-owner of Alabaster) and a chef that he’d partnered up with, so I was expecting good things. But I was still surprised by the amazing service. There was only bar space available when I got there, but I told them I lived in Sevilla and was used to sitting at the bar (Madrid is really more of a restaurant city). Then I asked for a glass of white wine and THIS happened…
Our final Enbhiga day began with a traditional breakfast at O Souto das Candeas, one of the two restaurants in Verín run by chef Begonia Vásquez(who I’d met the previous evening). Then Begoña joined us on a visit to the Wine Museum and also for a tasting at Bodega Terra do Gargalo (owned by Spanish fashion designer Roberto Verino).
Finally we were taken to Ánades Galicia, the only producer of fois gras in the region, where we were treated to a lunch of all things ducky (“jamon”, foie, breast) and wines from Vega de Lucía. Then it was back to Madrid.
This was an amazing experience. Not only did I get to visit the two D.O. regions I had missed during my last visit to Galicia in July, I also got to see (and taste) the best of Ourense province and meet some lovely people, as well as see some old friends.