What Did You Eat Last Night – With Urban Serenity

What Did You Eat Last Night – With Urban Serenity

Welcome to the second in a series where I ask readers and friends What Did You Eat Last Night?  I started asking this question to folks on Facebook, and loved seeing what people share – different dishes from around the world, both home cooked and evenings out.  Everyone seems to be having their own Adventure in Food!  So, I asked Madrid based blogger Ryan Zieman of Urban Serenity: What Did You Eat Last Night?  Here is what Ryan shared:  What Did You Eat Last Night? Last night my friend and I went to La Taberna de Moncloa, one of my favorite neighborhood spots, where they serve up the best croquetas in Madrid. Although I enjoy Spanish food, I have never been a huge fan of the croqueta. This was, of course, until I was introduced to these homemade croquetas that are perfectly golden brown and crispy on the outside while decadently creamy on the inside. On the menu you’ll find them under “Nuestras Raciones” as the croquetas caseras de jamón serrano y queso (homemade cured ham and cheese croquettes). In addition to the croquetas, I highly recommend the ensalada de aguacate con salsa de cebollino (avocado salad with a chive sauce). Both dishes are served with pan tumaca, which consists of two large slices of toasted rustic bread that is covered in a fresh tomato sauce and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. We each ordered a cerveza to wash it all down and the healthy portions of these two dishes were enough to fill us up for a Saturday night out on the town! Where Did You Eat These Tasty Croquetas? I ate these...
Madrid’s Museo del Jamon

Madrid’s Museo del Jamon

One of our favorite places in Madrid became the Museo del Jamon.  For two pork lovers (one of us a little more addicted than the other) it was heaven on a plate – a “museum” of ham.   Museo del Jamon – BEST Museum Ever Well, not quite a museum in the traditional sense, the Museo del Jamon was a chain of Spanish restaurants in Madrid that focused on ham products. It was good that it was not a museum, because we generally try to avoid museums all together.  This was one museum we could not keep ourselves away from. We saw the Museo on our first night in Madrid.  We tried to walk in as our first tapas bar, but on a Friday night the place was packed to the brim.  It was intimidating.  I did not know where to start. After a few stops elsewhere – and after practicing my “Spanish” – the Museo had died down a bit, and we were able to secure a spot at the bar.  The atmosphere was electric as well – there was a buzz to the place, even with the bright lighting and hundreds of legs of cured ham hanging from the wall.   I tried to read some of the signs and pricing and figured we could order two glasses of beer for 2E, and a large plate of jamon serrano – thin sliced cured ham for only 3E.  We were in heaven on earth.  To top it off, the two beers came with a small piece of bread with more ham inside.  It was incredible. The Museo quickly...
Tapas in Madrid – a Food Photo Essay

Tapas in Madrid – a Food Photo Essay

Recently, I started adding some photo essays to this website, to tell our travel story through photos.  Most of our experiences focus on food, but we have seen some lovely cities as well.  The photo essays can show you the buildings, the architecture, the street scenes. But, in Madrid, it was cold and rainy the entire time we were in the city – making it pretty hard to take many good photos.  So instead, here is a photo essay of another kind. There are so many things I love about Spain – most of them revolve around the Spanish food.  We ate so much good food while in Madrid, I would love to explain each and every dish we ate over our four days.  These were some of my favorites Spanish tapas in Madrid: Our Spanish “breakfast” – french fries, chorizo, roasted peppers, and fried eggs Yes, this was pretty much the first thing we ate.  We stopped for a coffee just before, but this was our breakfast.  Not really a problem with the fried egg on top.  What you don’t see are the two beers sitting on either side of the plate.  Happy breakfast! Bacalao – cod fish fritters at Revuelta One of the stops on our mega food tour of Madrid, Revuelta is an institution.  We were surrounded by locals eating these crispy and fried pieces of fish on a rainy afternoon in Madrid.  Now, this is tapas in Madrid. Homemade vermouth, with tapas Certainly not what we imagine as tapas in the US.  These are tapas in Madrid, really something to accompany the giant glass of...
Eating Like The Locals in Madrid

Eating Like The Locals in Madrid

We have met a lot of people on our travels around the world, and have contacts on several continents.  A decade or more ago, it would have been impossible to keep up with them after leaving.  They would have served as nothing more than single serving friends. Why I Love Facebook People have a love hate relationship with Facebook – they either love it or hate it, or minimally are indifferent.  They hate the lack of privacy, or think it is a giant time suck – nothing more than voyeurism run amok.  I look at Facebook as my window to the world.  Most of the travelers and locals I meet are on FB, which allows me an opportunity to find them after my trip, share photos, and to hopefully meet up again. Our experience in Madrid was the result of the genius of FB (as much as it pains me to say that). In August 2009, while stuck aboard a Yangtze River cruise in China, we met some wonderful people, including two Spaniards, a Dominican, and a couple from Italy.  In February 2010, towards the end of our first round the world trip, we stayed the weekend with the Italian couple, Silvia and Ricardo, in Lucca, Italy.  We had an amazing time eating fantastic Tuscan food in country restaurants that tourists just don’t find.  Silvia taught me her recipe for tiramisu.  Thank you Facebook. We have had amazing times in Mendoza, Argentina, because of an intro through FB from a friend of a friend.  We drank wine, ate Argentine fusion cuisine prepared by an asado evil genius.  Now, we...
Eating in Madrid – Becoming Human Fois Gras

Eating in Madrid – Becoming Human Fois Gras

I love traditional tapas – not the kind you get on small plates in State-side restaurants along with sugary or syrupy sangria, but the traditional kind, the kind I love eating in Madrid. The tradition of tapas originated when people would order a drink and a little bit of food came on the side, for free.  Part of the original purpose was to put the snack on top of the glass, to keep the flies out.   Although I don’t generally worry about extra protein in my drink (I generally just pick out suicide bugs that gorge themselves in my liquor), I was thrilled to find these traditional tapas while eating in Madrid.   Our first night, we made our way to the roads south of the Puerto del Sol Metro, to an area that was chock full of tapas bars.  The first place we saw, Museo del Jamon, was packed to the brim – to the point of being intimidating.  We had no idea what to order or how to even make our way to the bar.  I was just beginning to get my Spanish language legs under me.  The Tapas Band-Aid We continued on, and instead of looking for the perfect spot, we just stopped in some place and ordered some drinks, a patatas bravas, fried potatoes with a spicy sauce on top, and some sliced chorizo.  They are some of the most touristy tapas, but we needed to just get something in our system.  So, we ripped off the tapas bandaid.  It was fine, but nothing great. We continued to make our way through the neighborhood,...
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