Ciao, Espana

Monday, April 25 (post written by Janet)

Our last day in Madrid is upon us much too soon.  We know we have to take advantage of every moment.  Janel has noticed a quaint Belgian bakery near her house that she has been itching to try, so we stop in Le Pain Quotidien for breakfast.  We are all impressed with the array of baked goodies and quickly settle in.

Linda has her “Breakfast of Champions” – chocolate napoleon and café con leche.
Janel chooses rustic bread with tomato marmalade (pa amb tomaquet) and a cortado.

#07 –

Janet opts to go healthy with fruit and yogurt with agave syrup and a cortado.

Our hunger satisfied, we go in search of a Harley shop so Janet can bring back a Madrid Harley shirt for Eric. Janel’s expert navigational skills once again lead us directly to our desired location.

Should I have bought one of these instead?

MP says one of the must-sees is San Miguel Market, so we hotfoot it over there.  It has separate stands for olives, cheeses, jamon, fruits, seafood, wines, tequila, pastries, etc.

The gorgeous fruits. Note how the cherries seem to be hand placed in rows.
Traditional paella cooking.

Since it is getting close to lunchtime, there are throngs of people who are vying for a small number of tables in the middle of the market.  We agree we need to have a nibble before we have our official lunch at Cisne Azul in an hour or so.  After much debate, we agree on oysters and of course cava since our cava meters are seriously low.

Janel selects the perfect oysters from among the many varieties.
Linda and Janel bring back the cava while Janet guards our coveted table
A toast to Madrid, oysters, and cava!
The oysters are briny and delicious.

We enjoy our “pre-lunch” repast and give up our table only because we know we need to make the trek to Cisne Azul.  Both Linda and Janel have raved about this place (see There’s a Fungus Among Us post), and I simply must have some of those ‘shrooms.  Linda and Janel are especially fond of egg with their mushrooms, so that is an easy choice.

The Boletus species pairs well with perfectly-cooked egg.

The server apologizes for not having as large a selection of mushrooms as usual, but they have just reopened after being closed during Semana Santa.  He suggests a dish that includes foie and we readily agree.  When he brings the dish, he apologizes again that the plate isn’t very pretty.  While it might not be as eye-catching as the other, these are morels and foie!  I have been fortunate enough to have morels before, but Linda and Janel get to enjoy them for the first time.

Holy moley . . . these are morels and foie!
I know what a treat I’m in for.

Just when we thought we couldn’t possibly eat another bite, the server encourages us to consider dessert to go with our last bit of Rioja.  Well if you insist . . .

Crusty grilled goat cheese with a fabulous marmalade. Pairs well with Rioja.
A mother-daughter moment.

We stroll back through town window-shopping along the way.  Linda spies a dress that Janel adores.

Oh yeah, baby!

Janel is eager to get back to her apartment to catch up on her normal life, and Linda and I feel a siesta coming on, so we part ways until it’s time to head out for tapas.  We know we want to return to Siete, but decide to start out at Tempranillo.  We luckily snag a spot at the bar.

Replenishing the cava meter.

We haven’t had garbanzos since Barcelona, so we order some up.  The preparation is brothy with pieces of calamari.

Great for dragging bread through.

We move on to Siete and two of Janel’s friends, Heather and Adam, join us.  They are fellow Fulbrighters and foodies and are eager to catch up with Janel.

Janel tells the story about seeing Tony Bourdain in La Boqueria and Heather flips!  When Janel goes on to relate the story of seeing him in Tickets . . .

Heather can hardly contain herself
Janel shows the photo of herself with Tony and Linda.

We reluctantly end the evening.  Janel has to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for her students and Linda and Janet must catch the big bird home early in the morning.  Our time together has been much too short, and we start making plans for where to go to celebrate Semana Santa next year.

Ciao, Espana . . . until next time.


7 thoughts on “Ciao, Espana

  1. What a day for foodies! Special breakfasts at Le Pain Quotidien; oysters and cava; morels and foir; goat cheese and marmalade; garbanzos; etc. etc. etc.

    And then to find Harly-Davidson to buy a shirt instead of a bike. WOW.MOM

  2. I love seeing the three of you on holiday like this. Thanks so much for the blogging. It sure takes some extra effort, but was enjoyed by many.

  3. Agree wholeheartedly with Rich – I know the effort it takes to write and post such a thorough review of each part of the trip (actually, I’ve never done a blog to this extent, so I can actually only imagine the time!) – and I also truly enjoyed following along. Thanks! Cheers!

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words, Penelope. We appreciated all your comments! Someday we are going to have to meet for coffee.

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