May 23, 2024

Hello loyal readers! Remember the posting I made a couple months ago entitled “Menu del Dia – Menu of the Day for Cheap Lunches“? Well, today’s another story just as incredible as that previous posting.

Today I went to the SAME bar/restaurant about which I wrote in the aforementioned “Menú del Día” posting hoping for the same “Cocido Madrileño” offering – but I was INITIALLY disappointed because it wasn’t listed on the menu board outside. Too bad. Oh well. So I tried something else.

Instead, I ordered the paella to start and the “huevos estrellados con jamón” (“broken eggs with cured ham). They first brought me the same mini-salad (about half the size of a normal starter salad). About 30 seconds later came the paella. I looked at it and it appeared full and tasty – and it was, but they brought it so fast I was worried it might get cold before I finished my salad.

3 minutes later, while I was still on my salad, the same older Spanish waitress brought me the SECOND course and set it next to the cooling paella. Hmmm… Now, that SECOND COURSE WILL SURELY BE COLD by the time I get through the paella!! This was more than a bit disconcerting but okay. USUALLY they wait until you finish your first course AND THEN bring you the second course. I couldn’t complain too much for the SIX EUROS this meal was going to cost me.

I started in on the paella which contained the largest single “mejillón” (“mussel”) I think I’ve ever seen in my life! It was good as was the paella rice and chicken pieces and single shrimp.

Then, finishing the paella, I started in on the eggs and ham. But this plate was ENORMOUS! And not only did it have eggs and cured ham strips but it was laying on a huge bed of salted, fried potatoes. Damn! My first thought was, “I hope I don’t have a heart attack before finishing all this,” since it was loaded with cholesterol. I didn’t. Yet.

Just after beginning the plate the waitress returned and asked if they could heat up the plate a bit. I tried a potato and piece of egg and it was still warm so I stayed with it as it was. That was nice of her to ask and I thanked her for doing so. She went back to the bar and shouted something into the kitchen like, “Manolo! It was okay!” Apparently the cook was concerned that my quickly-served meal was cold by the time I got to it. Wasn’t that nice!!?? I was impressed that they paid so much attention to this detail – whereas they didn’t notice they served me too quickly. hehehe…. No problem.

As the bleach-blond waitress was going back and forth from the kitchen to the dining room, carrying plates and serving meals, I overheard her chanting, in not such a low-voice, the mantra, “OBAMA! OBAMA! OBAMA!”, all the while with a smile on her face. Apparently she was happy with the outcome of the US Presidential Election. I wanted to tell her that I was a proud American (expatriate) and that Barrack Obama was going to be my new President – but I refrained.

And also, every time a new customer walked into the dining room they said to everyone in the dining room, “”¡Que aproveche!“, which means “Enjoy your food”. The French say something similar, saying “Bon apetit!” I love this custom.

All the while eating I was drinking a freshly opened bottle of red wine – opened by me with my knife (plastic-covered topper) – and a new bottle of “La Casera” soda water. I refrained from drinking too much so I stopped at half a bottle. Funny, that AS SOON as I finished my second course the waitress whisked away not only the wine and bottle of casera water but also the remaining bread in the bread basket. Seems this is the custom. Who would drink wine with dessert, afterall??? Well, maybe *I* would!!!

Then dessert. I chose the home-made “pudin” which is a kind of cold, firm custard – not to be confused with flan, though. The Spanish “pudin” is not like the English “pudding” though.

Upon finishing I fished out the SIX EUROS and an extra 1 Euro coin and walked up to the bar where the bar tender/owner and older, Spanish waitress were standing. I handed the waitress the 1 Euro coin, thanked her, and handed over the 6 Euros to the bartender/owner for the meal. He apologized for the quick-service and I assured him it was okay and everything was still warm by the time I ate it.

Yet another good example of eating good food at cheap prices in Madrid – although I’ve yet to find such a place in the old downtown yet. This place is in my neighborhood on “the other side of the river”.

I’m still stuffed. Now time for a nap……

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