Adventurous Appetites - Madrid

August 31st, 2015

I've mentioned before that we love food tours.  A few years ago in Istanbul, we learned that a food tour is best when done on the first day visiting a city.  We arrived in Madrid at 11a.  At 8p, jet-lag be damned, we were ready to meet up with the folks at Adventurous Appetites

There are many food tours to choose from in Madrid.  In any city, really.  We chose this particular tour for one reason.  They were going to teach us how to eat Tapas in Madrid.  And our entire journey in Spain hinged on us understanding how to handle Tapas.  We came to eat.  That's what we were going to do.


We gathered in Puerta del Sol, near the bear statue that symbolizes the city.  Our tour guide, Danny, was supposed to meet us near that bear.  And of course, we made it to the statue as a protest was going on in the square.  We were a little concerned the protest would make it difficult to find our guide, who was also running a bit late.  As the minutes passed by, groups of people gathered organically.  Each group knew the other belonged to the same tour, but very few actually had conversations outside of the person they knew.

Danny came by a few minutes later, apologizing about his delay.  We weren't too worried.  We knew food was happening soon.  Danny began the tour by introducing himself and making him introduce ourselves.  Most duos were couples.  We had couples from Canada, Finland and Australia.  The two sets of single ladies were from the States.  Obviously, Adele and I from Chicago.  And the other two ladies were from Charlotte and Dallas.

Introductions over, we walked to our first location.

Taberna Los Angeles

Our tour began in a cider house.  Adele and I talked with Danny as we walked to the bar, picking his brain about cider and Tapas.  We always like to make ourselves known on a tour.  And we like cider.  Which is why Adele was the first to pour the cider...




Drinking cider, we started with Manchego cheese on a baguette.


Chorizo with cider sauce.


Fries with blue cheese sauce (patatas brava).  This...I could have eaten this every day.  Turns out, I didn't get a chance to eat this again.  Disappointing.


Mussels.

We also had mushrooms, but apparently I wasn't quick enough to document the moment.  Oh well.

This stop quickly set the tone for the rest of the tour.  Adele and I were the life of the party.  Some appreciated it.  Others...well, they warmed up to us eventually.  The Finnish couple may not have been super fluent in English, but the lady could drink.  We raised our glasses in "Salud!!" several times.

At our second stop, we all sat around a giant table.  The wine showed up.  The food showed up.  I'd been in a red wine mood and hit the bottle with gusto.  At the end of our time at this place, I tried a little of the white.  I looooooved the white.  And I need to find this white at home.  Currently, I am not doing well with that task.


Anchovies and olive.  Neither Adele nor I like olives. And this is unfortunate for us, because olives are everywhere.  Here, we learned the olives are better.  Adele was able to eat more olives than I could, but I was fine with the anchovies.  After we were done eating this dish, the server brought over potato chips.  They said we should eat the anchovies and olives with the chips.  Too late, man...

This one was a dogfish bite.  I didn't care for this one too much, but not everything has to be a winner.


Potato salad with crab.  I don't like potato salad, but had seconds of this dish.  So. Good.


I couldn't get all of the shots of food.  And obviously, this one wasn't in focus.  I can't blame wine.  I blame myself.  The pimento and tuna does not look appetizing, but it was great.

El Lacon

This stop gave us more of a sense of Tapas as a whole as it was the closest thing we did to real Tapas eating.  You belly up to the bar and order a drink.  With one drink, you get food for free.  But you can also order additional Tapas.  Though did you just read that they give you FREE food with a glass of wine??  Genius.  And here's the other thing...wine costs nothing.  Having a glass of wine (with an excellent pour, btw) will set you back €2, maybe €3.



Chickpeas and tripe.  I'll just leave it at that.

This is the best asparagus I've ever had.  Lightly grilled with a little lemon, maybe some oil.  It was amazing.



I had seconds on this scallop thing.  I don't know if I was supposed to, but it didn't matter.  I was always going to have a second one, the rest of the folks on the tour could go without if they had to.


Morcilla.  Blood sausage is always good, but I don't think I had a ton of this one.  I was starting to get full.  

This stop, we were finally able to make friends with everyone on the tour.  The other women from the States became fast friends when Adele gave one of the women some Pepto at the first bar.  The woman was not feeling well and couldn't really eat or drink anything (bad news for a food tour).  The Canadians liked us immediately and we bonded over our shared love of Canada (and Canadian Wine Country).  The Finnish couple liked to drink, and would keep grabbing the bottle from us (I liked her).  We smiled with them often.  But the Australians were the hard nuts to crack.  We just didn't have any one on one time.  As we sat in the back of the restaurant at our final stop, I ended up sitting next to one of the Australians, Adele sat next to the other.  They were ours now...


Octopus is definitely a thing here.  And I cannot get enough octopus.


Garlic shrimp and bread for all of the dipping.



This last one was magnificent, but the moment I was officially done.  Fries topped with jamon and a fried egg.  I loved this.  I could eat this as my meal every day for the rest of my life.

Adele and I were the first to bug out.  I'm not entirely sure why it happened.  I was talking with Canada or the girls from Charlotte/Dallas outside the last bar.  And suddenly, Adele and I were going our own way.  Truthfully, it made sense.  We had just made it to town.  We were lucky we even knew which hotel was ours.  It was only Day 1 or 2 (depending how you did your counting) and we had a ton to see and do.  An "early" night (it was past midnight) wouldn't be the worst thing for us to do.  We knew how this Tapas thing works now.  We were going put these lessons into motion in the morning.  And we were ready.  Thanks, Adventurous Appetites!!  You done good!!

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