Thursday, May 04, 2006

Madrid food, the good and (believe it or not) the very bad

The Good: Last night, my mother and I shared one of the most fantastic meals of my life at La Musa on Calle de Manuela Malasaña, 18 (the link is to the sister restaurant, La Musa de La Latina). It was recommended by the Lonely Planet - Spain, which always makes me hesitate a bit (LP suggestions tend to be crowded with tourists!) but I was beyond stunned by the fabulously creative and unique tapas and the funky, seemingly local crowd. We shared a tapas sampler plate (featuring fried green tomatoes with goat cheese and melt-in-your-mouth potatoes smothered with three sauces and the perfect medium rare tuna and brilliant salmon (to name but four dishes)) and enjoyed the tuna and salmon so much we had to order a second helping. The sauces and preparation are so special, I can´t think of how to describe it. Really, you have to come to Madrid to sample for yourselves! Then for dessert, we shared an enormous slice of chocolate cake. The whole thing was accompanied by Spanish Rioja. Oh, and a very foxy waiter brought it all to our table with a very foxy smile.

The Very Bad: After last night´s perfection, who´d want to follow up with one of the worst meals of my life? (Actually, I don´t think I´d ever want to follow up with one of the worst meals of my life!) Well, as bad luck would have it, Mom and I were stuck for good choices and near starving after leaving Reina Sophia this afternoon. So we dashed into one of the gazillion choices nearby. It seemed to be filled with locals, however when I was presented with an dripping-wet iceberg lettuce salad (adorned with bad tomatoes and supermarket coldcuts and cheese) that was drenched with a thick mayonaise-based dressing, I knew we had made a mistake. I tried to eat the salad, but it just wouldn´t make it down. So I waited for my second course, a jamon y queso sandwich. You´d think that would be easy, this being the jamon capital of the universe, right? Well, what should appear before my little eyes but a grilled sandwich with (I am not kidding) what appeared to be sliced Velveeta-style cheese. I thought that stuff was illegal in Europe!

But I survived by making a plan to go back to La Musa before I return home. Good plan!


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