Madrid Dishes We Dare You to Try

You’ve landed in Madrid and you’re ready to explore its narrow streets, bustling plazas, historical sites, and  try traditional dishes, but for those thrill-seekers out there is that enough?  When it comes to food there’s plenty of tasty yet strange, actually some would possibly say disgusting, dishes you should surely try if you want to feel like a “real” Madrileno.  All these dishes will have any vegetarian running for the hills. Here are four plates we dare you to try and if you have any complaints, well, we double dog dare you to raise that to your waiter as well!

Morcilla – Sausage stuffed with pig’s blood, onions, and rice
The wonderful news about Morcilla (black pudding) is, well, you can find it pretty much everywhere. Walk in to any tapas bar in the La Latina neighborhood and you’re bound to see people eating it by the mouth full.  Although it looks gross (black, almost purple-lish in color, and thick), it’s actually really sweet tasting and addictive. Depending on where you go they may stuff it with different spices, but the main ingredient, pig and pig’s blood, well, you can’t really swap that for something else. I’d definitely recommend eating it with lots of bread on the first try … it’s an acquired taste.

Cochinillo – Suckling pig
The best Cochinillo in Madrid is served at Botin (Calle de los Cuchilleros, 17, Metro: Tirso de Molina / Sol, Telephone: 91 366 42 17). Botin is noted in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest restaurant in the world, and has been mentioned in many famous literary texts (the owner, Carlos, says that Hemmingway finished the last page of The Sun Also Rises at an upstairs table). The current owners’ grandparents bought the establishment over ninety years ago,  and they’ve used the same oven since 1725, which is maybe why their suckling pig is the best in the city. The restaurant has strict rules for the little piggies before they arrive at the restaurant. They cannot be over four kilos or twenty days in age, and the must have only been fed mother’s milk. Once the piglets arrive at the restaurant they are put into the oven for two and a half hours. To get a glimpse of the little ones waiting to be placed in the oven – walk straight back from the entrance and look in to see the shelves of piglets and the ancient oven.

Oreja de Cerdo = Pig ears
I’d say if you don’t know how make pig ears (do you fry or boil them?) then head to Bodegas de la Ardosa (Calle Colon, 13, Metro: Chueca, 91 521 4979). Founded in 1892 and known as the seventh oldest tavern in Madrid, here is where you can enjoy a succulent pig ear all for yourself. Lucky for you, they serve this Spanish delicacy with Salsa Brava (red sauce).

Gallinejas, Entresijos and Mollejas – All parts of a lamb fried in its own fat!
One of the fattiest and almost gut wrenching (not only when it goes down but also the smell) must try foods are the Gallinejas, Entresijos and Mollejas. The best place, and one of the few places that still serves them, is  Gallinejas Embajadores (Calle Embajadores, 84, Metro: Embajadores). The large plate shows off the loveliest fatty fried pieces of lamb and they top it off with some french fries. Yep, you’re all set for a great night owt on the town, or on the toilet.

Complain or Change of order
You’ve decided to try one of the foods mentioned above and you don’t like your meal, or after you’ve ordered you’ve changed your mind. Well, we dare you to ask the waiter to change your order, or complain that the food is too salty, fatty, or the fish is not fresh, the meat is not cooked enough. In Madrid the service at restaurants is not like in other parts of the world … But if you’re up for a heckle and big-to-do it’s a great way to entertain yourself and the people you’re with.

A Family Vacation in Madrid that Won’t Break the Bank

Want to take a family vacation in Madrid that will really stand out? A visit to Madrid may be more within reach than you think. There are plenty of family friendly activities to keep the kids busy and accommodation options that will allow you to bring the kids without breaking the bank.

What makes Madrid a great place for children to visit? To start, there are plenty of sightseeing activities to keep the kids entertained while exposing them to a great deal of history and Spanish culture. Another key factor is the public transportation. The bus and Metro are extensive and make getting in and around the city easy to do. The stations are not only impeccably clean and well lit, but most are also equipped with elevators and escalators. Renting bikes in madrid is a great option to explore Madrid .

Of course there are world class museums to visit and many monuments to see, but if you have a sports fan in the family, don’t miss the chance to tour the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. If you are here during the warmer months, take advantage of the
weather and enjoy Madrid’s own Amusement Park. To get a bird’s eye view of the city, take the family on a ride on the cable cars, then enjoy Casa de Campo, Madrid’s largest municipal park.

When looking for family friendly accommodation in madrid, there are several things to consider. The obvious one is location. Even with great public transportation nearby, you want to be close to the center of town to make the most of your time. Is the hotel near a park? Even with all of the sightseeing activities in Madrid, young children will greatly benefit from being close to a playground. Can the hotel offer a baby cot/crib, and do they have multilingual staff to help accommodate these requests? These simple details can make sure you stay within budget while having a comfortable stay. Here are our picks for family friendly hotels for 100 euros or less per night:

  1. Aparthotel Quo Erasorooms start at 65 euros
    The Aparthotel Quo Eraso is close to the center of town and offers continental breakfast to your room each morning. They have multilingual staff and each room is equipped with a kitchenette.
  2. Hotel Alexandrarooms start at 69 euros
    This hotel is featured in an unbeatable central location, just off the main street of Gran Via. They offer options including non-smoking rooms, baby cots/cribs and even a babysitting service.
  3. Hotel NH Suites Prismarooms start at 74 euros
    The Hotel NH Suites Prisma offers a central location and a variety of helpful amenities including rental car and medical services. It’s within walking distance of Madrid destinations and close to public transportation as well.
  4. Ayre Gran Hotel Colonrooms start at 85 euros
    The Ayre Gran Hotel Colon is an excellent choice for families. It is within walking distance of many key Madrid locations, including el Retiro (the city’s largest park). Baby cots/cribs, additional beds and non-smoking rooms are all available upon request.
  5. HRC Hotelrooms start at 95 euros
    For those who want to stay near La Latina and La Plaza Mayor, the HRC Hotel is a fantastic choice. Services include a city tour, laundry service, additional beds/baby cots and non-smoking rooms.

By Alondra Palomino

Madrid Movies and Music

Looking  for something to do this weekend? Well, La Casa Encendida is filling “La Terraza” with their summer music and film presentations.  La Terraza suena will rock out with underground music from around the globe.  This Sunday, August 22nd, Toro y Moi will be on stage giving us a look at the unique musical stylings of Chaz Bundick and a taste of his contribution to the musical genre, chillwave.  Cine en La Terraza’s theme this year is “Through the Looking Glass” and takes a look at the influence of Lewis Carroll in cinema.  This week’s movie is Juliet of the Spirits, a classic from one of the world’s greatest directors, Federico Fellini.  For all the info on the music series click here and for the film presentation click here.

La Casa Encendida always pushes the envelope when it comes to exhibitions, and the summer music and cinema presentations are no exception.

Where: La Casa Encendida
Metro: Embajadores

By Coleman File

Flamenco Guide to Madrid

Seductive, serious and enchanting-Flamenco is the music and style of dance that has become synonymous with Spain. Although it has now become popular throughout the entire country, it is actually native to the region of Andalusia. It’s tough to pinpoint when Flamenco began, but it began to gain popularity during the 19th century. Some say its origins go as far back as that of the ancient Hindus, while others cite its roots come from the Moors, Jews and Gypsies.

What began as an impromptu solo performance has gone through various transformations. During the 1900’s, Flamenco went from something you would see at small venues to large theatres. These days, you can usually catch the most famous of performers at large venues, or catch up-and-coming artists at local establishments. The music itself has also evolved, often including influences of salsa, rumba, pop and jazz. In 1995, the Spanish director Carlos Saura, released “Flamenco ”, a documentary giving an up close personal look at this style of music and dance and its many varieties.

When you see , it will most likely be composed of 3 equally important parts: toque (guitar), baile (dance) and cante (song). However, the part which will undoubtedly get your attention is the baile (dance). This type of dance is performed solo and only uses a small area, so the dancer will use their arms to show expression while using their feet to add percussion.

Grab a seat and take in the performance with a nice glass of red Spanish wine. If you are looking for a more refreshing drink, ask for a Tinto de Verano (red wine mixed with carbonated lemonade) or a glass of Sangria. Either choice will set you back about 3-4 euros in most establishments. Here are our favorite local spots to catch a show:

  • Casa Patas – (Metro Tirso e Molina)
    This iconic flamenco tablao is a fantastic spot for dinner and world-class flamenco shows. You can even book a table ahead online via localhost:8888/mapmagazine
  • Cardamomo (Metro Anton Martin or Sevilla)
    Cardamomo is a great place to check out if you like variety. From the more traditional performances, to those with a modern twist, Cardamomo is a local favorite that offers a more casual and affordable flamenco environment.
  • El Corral de la Moreira (Metro: La Latina)
    Another fine spot for flamenco is El Corral de la Moreira. With a cover charge of 34 euros, El Corral is one of the pricier places to catch a show, but it offers one of the finest flamenco and dinner experiences. Another plus is the food! Their delicious dishes are worthy enough to be featured in the Michelin guide. This is where all Kings, Presidents and other dignitaries come to enjoy flamenco; dress to impress!
  • Clan (Metro: Embajadores)
    This is a laid-back flamenco experience. Its chic decor and local performers make this a favorite for large group events.

By Alondra Palomino

Madrid Weekend Roundup

It’s difficult to find motivation during weekends right in the middle of the “dog days” of August, especially if you’re stuck in Madrid while everyone else is out and about on their summer vacations.  With that in mind MAP is going to provide you with a few options that won’t break your budget and that you can find right here in Madrid, just a little something to get you by until the city comes back to life.

First, if you haven’t checked out the Circulo de Bellas Artes open rooftop views, then you must head over to the CBA immediately to see the spectacular views of Madrid.  The Veranos de la Villa music series is winding down, which hosted a slew of performances including the Blues Brothers founding member Lou Marini performing with the blues/jazz duo Red House.  Also in the Veranos de la Villa line up is STOMP, which is still playing at Teatro Coliseum.  If relaxation is what you want, then head over to Retiro park for some FREE yoga and meditation sponsored by the group LGTB BuHo.  In Retiro at “El Huerto del Francés” from 19:00 p.m. until 21:30 p.m. enjoy yoga for the first hour and then meditation to close it out.  There are still some great outdoor movie series going on right now, Veranos de La Villa sponsors two of them and the other is Cine de Verano brought to us by the Comunidad de Madrid.  This weekend you can catch some great flicks such as:  Doubt, The Curios Case of Benjamin Button, Up in the Air, Inglorious Bastards, The Lovely Bones, A Serious Man and many more.  And don’t forget about the celebrations this Sunday for the Virgin of Paloma in La Latina.

Hopefully this will help guide you through the weekends hot weather and empty streets.

By Coleman File