Madrid's Best Jamon & Churros?
1 Deciembre 2016
Tokyo is without a doubt the best foodie destination city in the world. Paris isn't bad either but Madrid probably just pips Paris for second spot, especially if your food obsessions runs to pork and donuts. Jamon and churros.
The itinerary for our first full day in Madrid was essentially breakfast, breakfast two, churros, coffee, lunch, lunch two, coffee, pre-dinner snacks and dinner. We hoped to do a bit of site seeing between meals.
Conveniently for us just around the corner from our apartment is an Enrique Tomas outlet. Enrique Tomas is a chain of franchised jamon shops. I know, it sounds as appealing as trying to get gourmet burgers from Maccas. But trust me, they have great jamon. From great slabs of piggy legs to the most delicately sliced shavings of the finest Jamon Iberico. All sorts of cured pork products. And cheap. Well maybe not for a 500 euro leg of jamon bellota, but the jamon bocadillo's - in bread rolls or croissants, were very cheap. A couple of euros each, max. The Spanish bread was almost as good as French bread. Crikey, even the croissants were approaching French standards. We sat outside the shop and demolished the rolls. It was a perfectly porky way to start the day.
So after the jetlag and cold and frenetic pace of Paris, Madrid is all Jamon and chill. A timeout for breakfast of a bellota jamon bocadillos and watch the world go by. I must mention the people who worked in the shop too. A man and a woman. Both very very friendly, chatty, helpful and informative. For the record this particular outlet is at:
Calle de la Cruz, 12
It is also across the alley from a couple of Madrid's best tapas bars. We could stay in Madrid for a month and not need to venture further than about 100 metres from our apartment. But unfortunately for us the the best churros place in town was a bit further away. We'd have to see a bit more of Madrid first. So more on the tapas bars later.
Museo del Jamon
Not far down the street from Enrique Tomas, and just across from Puerto del Sol, is what some say is one of Madrid's worst tourist traps. The fabulously named Museo del Jamon. Apparently this place has a reputation for rudeness and for ripping off tourists. Definitely abrupt service, possibly verging on rude, but we weren't ripped off. It was really cheap. Jamon bocadillos were only 1 euro for example. The coffee was underwhelming but I didn't expect it to be great. It filled a great coffee shaped hole though. There is an art to the way the barista threw down and saucer and a cup of espresso then slopped steamed milk into the cup. All the time with a look that said "Whatever, I don't give a fuck".
Puerta del Sol today had at least one Pikachu, both Mario Bros, the entire Paw patrol, Mr Bean, Charlie Chaplin, 2 Minnie Mouses, Mickey Mouse, a Predator and an Alien, 70 bazillion human statues, at least 15 beggars with various deformities and disabilities, a mariachi band and Santa. And us.
The previous day we'd managed to avoid Pikachu and co in the Puerta del Sol. No such luck today. Georgia really wanted a photo with Pikachu. The going rate was one euro so a euro couldn't hurt to make Georgia happy. Unfortunately one of the Mario Brothers jumped in for the photo and Pikachu was adamant that Luigi got a euro as well. 10 years earlier we'd been entertained, for want of a better word, by Micky Mouse and a one-armed beggar getting into a wrestle on the plaza over... I don't know what? Your guess is as good as mine why a disabled guy and Micky Mouse would get into a fight? Turf wars? No such theatrics on this day. But who knew what Luigi and Pikachu would do if I didn't hand over a euro each. Georgia was happy and that is all that mattered.
Chocolateria San Gines
Two breakfasts and some photos with cos-players builds an appetite. Spain isn't all pork products and tapas. Churros! One of the things I'd been looking forward to most in Spain was churros. We have a chain of chocolate and churros shops in Australia. Their churros is okay but I've never been compelled to go out of my way for their churros. Even the very best at home aren't a patch on Spanish churros. It just isn't quite right. Theses sweet delicious things are best had in Spain. Although it had been 10 years since we were last in Spain I still recall the three best places we had churros. Two in Barcelona - small nondescript places - one near the La Sagrada Familia and the other in an alley just off Las Ramblas. The third was right here in Madrid. Probably the most famous churros and chocolate shop in Spain - Chocolateria San Ginés. They've been making churros since 1894 so it is no wonder they get it right. Cheap too. Half a dozen churro with hot chocolate for less than 5 euros. The coffee isn't bad either. Who knew deep fried dough sprinkled in sugar and dipped in chocolate could taste this good? Isn't that a stupid question. Let's call it rhetorical then.
We'd just finished our hot chocolate and half a dozen churros when the waiter brought us another half dozen "por los niños" gratis. Spain I love you. Chocolateria San Ginés I love you. Spain is so kid friendly it is embarrassing.
You can never have too much powdered sugar. We needed it for energy. By Spanish standards the day was still young and it was nearly lunch time. Then there may be time for a visit to the fantastic Prado Museum.