Free B.B. King Concert in Madrid

Madrid has been chosen to host the first official Nelson Mandela Day, and to top off the celebration one of the greatest blues guitarists of all times will be playing in Madrid for free. You might have already guessed by the introduction that we’re talking about B.B. King! Set to take the stage on June 2nd at Teatro Circo Price in honor of Nelson Mandela, King will play at 21:00 p.m. For more information on Nelson Mandela day click here. To collect tickets go to the Circo Price Box Office on June 1st from 16:00 p.m. – 18:00 p.m. or June 2nd from 16:00 p.m. – 18:00 p.m. Maximum is two tickets per person until capacity is reached.

Restaurante El Botin: Essential Eating and Sightseeing in Madrid

El Botin, a renowned Restaurant in Madrid

For its owners and many of its customers El Botin is more than a restaurant: it’s an institution that comprises history, fame, longevity and tradition. Part of this solemnity is explained by the fact that after holding its place on calle de los Cuchilleros since 1725, El Botin Restaurant is by the standard of the Guinness Book of World Records the oldest restaurant in the world. Those two hundred and eighty two years have seen much change and volatility, but never dullness. In fact, the last four decades up to the present have been the best years El Botin has ever had, what with its outstanding culinary reputation, tourist site status and close link to the city’s elite—it’s even got a recommendation from Ernest Hemingway. But most of all it’s the succulent piglet roast, the house’s specialty, that keeps them coming for more.

The current owners’ grandparents bought the place over ninety years ago and the descendants are as proud as they are concerned to keep the family business and tradition in good stance. Like their menu and many of their loyal customers, El Botin relies on consistent quality rather than variety, which might explain why they still use the same oven they did in 1725 to roast meat: precisely because of its age and traditional cooking method their meat has a savory  taste. The classic piglet, a Segovian specialty, roasts in this oven for two and half hours. Before getting to Botin however, the piglets have to acquire quite specific traits: they cannot be over four kilos in weight or twenty days in age and must have only been fed, before meeting their unfortunate end, mother’s milk (this is just to show you the seriousness that is involved in the preparation)

The whole place in general has suffered little renovations since it first opened as an inn to house and feed travelers: of its three levels the cellar remains the most untouched, while the middle floor was remodeled in the mid nineteenth century. The mostly wooden interior, old photos of the place and hanging porcelain decorations make for a great atmosphere that blends in well with the delicious smells that spring from the kitchen. The restaurant itself, as the owners often like to mention, has been described by other pens much mightier than yours truly: the widely celebrated Spanish author Ramon Gomez de la Serna declared that “it seems as if Botin has existed forever, and that Adam and Eve tried the first fried lamb ever prepared in the world”. Was Serna implying that Botin was within the premises of the Garden of Eden? Blasphemy! Graham Green wasn’t very quiet about his visit to Botin and his admiration for the tasty food, while Ernest Hemingway actually became close friends with the grandfather of the current owners, Emilio Gonzalez. The restaurant is mentioned in Hemingway’s classic The Sun Also Rises: “It is one of the best restaurants in the world. We had roast young suckling pig and drank rioja alta…”

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Relax; the menu has many other things apart from suckling pig. Ranking high among the classics are the restaurant’s old gazpacho recipe and its selection of Iberian hams. The roast lamb is another popular dish that is as mouthwatering as it is hard to finish, while Galician hake and clams a la Botin are the most recommended seafood dishes. The menu is in fact quite varied with many typical Spanish dishes to choose from ,which means a whole lot of potatoes, ham, green beans, eggs and chicken. There’s yet another reason to come if it happens to be after eleven o’clock: El Botin’s well known Tunos will show up in traditional clothing (and the occasional medieval guitar) to perform a musical tradition that’s over seven hundred years old. “Las Tunas” refers to groups of young men—in contemporary times university students—that would serve as troubadours and performers in medieval cities. This tradition survived in well in Spain and has been a cherished part of El Botin since its spontaneous beginnings back in 1959. Throughout the years the place’s tunos have gone to represent Spain in international world fairs and serenaded the  stream of celebrities—from king Juan Carlos I to Quentin Tarantino—that pass by the restaurant, wouldn’t it be nice to hear them too?

This is all-in-all a treat of a place worth visiting for its fine food but also the great deal of history surrounding the establishment, it’s anecdotes and heritage. May 2nd, 2009 El Botin received the silver medal from the Comunidad de Madrid for being one of Madrid’s most enduring and tasty landmarks—come visit when you can!

General price range
Starters: 7.50 – 18.75 euros
Soups: 6.50 – 16.50 euros
Egg dishes:  10 euros
Vegetable dishes: 10.25 – 13.00 euros
Fish: 17.00 – 27.00 euros (the next most expensice dish is a ration of Angulas, which costs 97.00 euros)
Meats: 11.00 – 23.00 euros

El Botin
Calle de los Cuchilleros, 17
Metro: Tirso de Molina / Sol
91 366 42 17 / 91 366 30 26
Hours: open every day from 13:00 p.m. to 16:00 p.m. and 20:00 p.m.  to 24:00 a.m.

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By Daniel Sznajderman

La Boca del Lobo: Erotic Film Festival

La Boca del Lobo is a mixture of venues in one: boasting a live music space, a restaurant terrace and an international short film festival which will be entering into its 13th year this year. And it’s for the latter that we’re shining a sex-fuelled torch on this cultural hub. The short film festival has gone sexual and with La Boca Erótica (“The Erotic Mouth”) the wolf’s gaze has turned to all things sexy. From June 2nd -5th, you can see a variety of fictional & documentary short films and theatre works that are all based around an erotic theme. One of the special shows takes place at 22:00 p.m. on Friday, June 4th, and is brought to you by the improvisation theater group La Tran Tran Improv who, with the help of 3 musicians, 3 actors, dice and the audience will take you on an erotic journey that the audience member helps guide.

The idea behind this sexual foray into the carnal jungle is to explore, challenge, excite, expose and celebrate the various parts of human relationships, including: eroticism, sex, love, seduction, desire, passion and conflict, among many others. So leave your prudish hat at home for the night, make your way to La Boca del Lobo and get a mouthful of sex. For more information click here.

By Tom Burgess

Circulo de Bellas Artes: Monty Python Film Festival

Led by the likes of Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin the Monty Python movies are some of the most loved and hysterical comedies to ever hit the big screen. These cheeky Brits take on all forms of social satire and have created one of the most devout cult fan bases that you will ever find. From May 25th until June 6th the Circulo de Bellas Artes will be presenting all of their films (And Now for Something Completely Different, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian, Live at the Hollywood Bowl, The Meaning of Life) in their great film series. For more information click here.

By Coleman File

Madrid Weekend Roundup – Friday, May 28th

As the weather heats-up so too do the well known night spots around Madrid, so head out this weekend to get your fix of late night revelry with MAP’s quick picks for the weekend.

Friday May 28th

Soul Station takes us to Brazil with an evening of, well,  Brazilian beats. There’s no better time to work on your samba steps then now with SORRISO SACANA and DJ MARCAO . They’ll keep you up and grooving all night.

For a funk and soul inspired night pop in to Tempo Club as cover specialists Corn Fakes will take the stage ahead of German producer/DJ Tobias Kirmayer.

Saturday, May 29th

Spanish rock on the agenda, then roll on out to the Wurlitzer Ballroom where Las Aspiradoras will be playing with a special guest. Click here for the venue review.

Another good bet for live local music is the fusion jams of Niño Pajaro over at La Boca del Lobo.

By Coleman File