Atlantis Alumni

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Dining In Madrid

The current development of Spanish cuisine is quite special. Though the country has long
been known for such favorites as tapas, sangria, paella a la valenciana, flan and many more specialities, in recent years Spanish cocina has rivaled French and Italian in variety, subtlety
and flavors.

On some visits to Madrid in the past we did not have good tips and encountered tourist versions of the paella or worse: tired classics. Thanks to Jim's Internet research, this time, we have already dined at two special restaurants, both in the bustling and thriving gay neighborhood, the Chueca. (Named, BTW, after a famed 19th century zarzuela composer.) At El Armario a light salad with fresh, miniature mozarella balls was followed by a balacao (cod) skewered with vegis, or the albondigas: balls made of white fish and shrimp, drenched in a stock and cream based sauce that tasted delicate and was not heavy.

For dinner at La Divina de la cocina (literally, the Goddess of Cooking) I enjoyed a tender duck served in a sauce with steamed plums, onions and a pear, while Jim had a melt in the mouth dorado fish. The lavish desserts included a velvety, extremely light cheese cake covered with an innovative cardomon sauce, and a banana-chocolate cake. As you can tell, we weren't bothering to count the calories: a twenty-fifth anniversary trip to Spain is a once in a lifetime adventure.

Most amazing of all are the delicious riojas, the red wines (or tintos in Spanish) which can rival any red wines I've ever tasted. They are full of flavors, good perfectly with the food and never feel weighty on the stomach.

We are already looking forward to our next round of exploring the current Spanish cuisine.


PHOTO: A fantastic plant-covered wall and building restoration near the Atocha Railroad station

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