Madrid, Spain

Hello from Madrid! My friend and host E. took me for a long walk around the city this afternoon and evening. We went to the Mercado de San Miguel, which is  culinary holy ground, if you ask me. I did not expect to have oysters in Spain, but E. ordered a half dozen of these babies, and a split of Champagne for us to sample, standing at the bar. They were terrific, some of the best I’ve ever had.

This is not actually a VFYT, but gaze upon this glorious porkness in the mercado, and be of good cheer, for the Lord has not forgotten us:

I also ate breaded and flash-fried baby octopus at the mercado, which was exquisite.

Here was the view from our table on the Plaza Mayor. We were drinking sidra (cider):

Madrid, Spain

When I arrived at the home of E. and his family, I took a nap, and then woke up for ice-cold beer and jamón iberico:

Madrid, Spain

Stupidly, I forgot to do a VFYT for the luscious lunch of sea bream, roasted potatoes, and grilled peppers that E. made for us. We drank a rich, floral white wine from Galicia, made with the Albariño grape. It was one of the most memorable wines I’ve tasted in ages.

Tonight, after tapas at the mercado, E. and his wife took me to a Basque restaurant, Casa Julian de Tolosa, where the menu was simple, but the food was extraordinary. I didn’t want to be obnoxious and take out the camera in the restaurant, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. We had a kind of sauteed wild mushroom in olive oil, with raw egg, that was the hobbitiest thing I’ve yet tasted. With the steak, they served a kind of smoked, sweet red pepper preserved in olive oil. Extraordinary depths of flavor. There was more, but I am very, very sleepy, and full of delicious things, so goodnight. I promise I’ll eat nothing else this week in Spain but lettuce and tap water.