People tend NOT to go out on very cold weekend nights. Well, that’s what I thought. Sure, the terrazas were put away and few people were walking in the streets but the bars I saw were packed!
I was sitting home, feeling kind of bored and lonely, and just up-and-decided I’d go downtown. Plus, I was hungry and really had a craving for morcilla. It’s been so long since I’ve had some. I asked a few people if they’d like to accompany and they all (okay, I only asked one person) said, “No way! It’s too cold. Better to stay home.” NOPE!
So I put on my shoes and coat and went down to catch the bus right at 10pm. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long although it’s not ALL THAT cold, at least not for a Midwestern USA boy. “This ain’t nuttin’!”
The bus dropped me off at its end-point, next to the Plaza de Oriente, Opera, Palacio Real and I made my way towards the streets between it and the Plaza de Santo Domingo – and there are LOTS. I chose one bar on the corner of Calle de San Martín and Calle de las Navas de Tolosa called “Restaurante Cervecería Doña Juana” – right across the street from the VALOR “chocolate” shop. Doña Juana was one of the few which had space at their bar and so I entered and ordered a beer, got a free tapa of salchichón on bread. Then I ordered a single, FAT croqueta de jamón and a “pincho de morcilla“, which was 4 slices with bread for roughly 2.50€. Good stuff. Another caña and a plate of green olives accompanied it. A crowd of 20-somethings came in, all wearing Santa Claus hats, boisterous but friendly, and crowded around me. I was finished anyway so I decided to try someplace else.
I walked two doors downhill on the same Calle de San Martín to the Restaurante Mesón Las Descalzas. They too had the bar wide open and only one table occupied with a bunch of other 20-somethings. So I grabbed a stool, ordered a caña, and got the free tapa of black olives this time. Looking over the sign behind the bar I decided on the pincho de moruno (2.80€) which is skewered and roasted pork cubes with a slightly spicy sauce. More good stuff. While waiting for it to arrive I noticed the patatas bravas (3.10€) on the board behind the bar and almost wished I’d ordered that instead. So many delicious Spanish foods and so little time and space in my stomach! So then I ordered another caña and got a slice of tortilla de patas as the free tapa. I ate in peace here, watching a bad Hollywood Christmas comedy movie on TV and covertly eavesdropped on the table to 20-somethings until I finished my food.
Watching the clock, it was now about 11:10am and the last bus on my line left Plaza de Oriente at 11:30pm so I paid the bill and made my way back. And wouldn’tcha know it, just as I arrived the second-to-last bus was pulling away so I had to wait in the cold for the next one. Nor problem, jacket unzipped, cool but refreshing after my 4 beers, and a belly full of good, Spanish food.
On the short bus ride home we drove by the Parque de Atenas, the park which is between the Almudena Cathedral and the Puente de Segovia… and it was FULL of youngsters enjoying their Botellón. Man, they must have been A) Crazy, B) Freezing, C) Alcoholics, D) hoping to “hook up”, or E) ALL OF THE ABOVE.
Now I’m back home, it’s about 12:15am, and I may just go to bed.
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