It turns out I don’t really like writing as a food traveler. (Quelle grande surprise.) Yes, I dutifully kept notes during my time in Madrid, but I ran out of glibness rather quickly. In retrogust, I also felt weirdness about the colonial tourist gaze. And then it just got hard to keep up with all those meals. Too many, too late in the day, constantly eating when I wasn’t hungry. So here are the notes, at least. Sorry to be a tease. Sorry to be boring. Oh well.
2a. coffee with oat milk, toast with Melis tomato/walnut spread, olive oil, paleta iberico (front-leg ham), halvah, almond biscotti. A jetlag nap on the couch.
2b. more paleta and Galician smoked cheese, sweet potato chips with “winter spices,” rosé Lambrusco; chicken ‘Madrid’ (aka stuffed and rolled with veg and cheese) à la vapeur with tomato vinaigrette, red quinoa with leftover cardoons, Greek coffee (not Turkish); discussion of bacteria, cooking rules, not wasting the the Thermomix bong water (chicken broth), throwing out the Air Canada banana bread.
2c. at a crusty retro bar, two glasses of sweet house wine and some microwaved tortilla española
2d. back at home, a simple soup made with the leftover chicken broth, spinach, onion, rice semolina, and shaved carrots; herbal tea
3a to 3d. a blur of jamón, honey, croquetas, bacalao, fried pimentón, more croquetas, beer, tostada de morcilla (blood sausage on toast), middling Rioja, more croquetas, and a bonito tapa (with draft vermouth)
4a. sweet tortas de chicharrones (pork crackling buns) with coffee, a little crossword puzzle, a helicopter floating in the distance
4b. gin and tonics, reheated chicken and quinoa
4c. pesto-stuffed gnocchi (bought) in pink sauce (made), sliced tomato, HB egg and breadcrumb topping; salad of roquette and frisée with olive oil, white vinegar, honey vinegar; Tempranillo
5a. just coffee
5b. a coconut water
5c. gluten-free rice pasta with yu choy, tomato sauce, and leftover egg crumbs
5d. afternoon snack: chocolate with churros, several slender and salty, one large and greasy; aperitivo: Amontillado, olives, Palo Cortado, cecina (cured beef) and mojama (cured tuna); dinner: nettle and zucchini soup, Verdejo
6a. coffee, a piece of cheese, tomato slices
6b. a coconut water
6c. supper at home (I perform): cucumber and carrot crudités with hummous; crostini of cashew butter, roasted cauliflower, black garlic; monkfish soup with miso-and-preserved-tofu broth (also in there: rice vermicelli, cod roe pâté, yu choy, cucumber, cilantro); shumai with soy-ginger-vinegar-lime sauce; a blindingly extraordinary 2004 Lan Rioja (another Victoria’s/Davidoff experience to ruin me forever); Chinese sweet bean cakes and hot-house strawberries
7a. coffee, panettone, and jamón
7b. aperitivo of stewed pork with peas; Verdejo; pisto toledano (caponata-ish) with crispy fried egg, crema de calabazita (zucchini soup), boar stew with fried potato wedges, coffee, chupito (nasty, kiddie-candy flavoured)
7c. afternoon snack: marzipan, yemas de Santa Teresa, mint tea
7d. last supper: a can of Mahou lager; scrambled eggs with rye flatbread
On the return flight, I have the chicken again, with puréed potatoes and mayonnaise salad. Another marvelous AC assemblage (white grenache, pinot blanc, and chardonnay, or some equally bizarre blend), and the last of the Mary’s crackers and golden raisins. My digestion is by now offline. Way off. I need to drink some soda water and eat some fermented things when I get home.
The snack-before-arrival is a ‘hot sandwich’ with either chicken or vegetables. The woman in front of me asks if it’s made with “real chicken” and the flight attendant jokes (maybe) that she’s “not allowed to say.”