So you cannot show up to Spain and leave without a day of exploration! Hello Saturday! Sra. Perry and I had no specifics on the agenda, just a little shopping, a lot of walking and a much-needed breakfast stop for some churros! We only have a couple more days left in Spain and had yet to have eaten churros. The obligatory churro stop if you are ever in Madrid is Chocolateria San Gines, in between the Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol. San Gines has been serving chocolate and churros since 1894! We sat on the patio for breakfast (you must order inside first though) to much on the churros and dip them in the decadent chocolate. I wish I could describe what this chocolate tastes like but there are no words. Seriously, get to Spain and try this. It is AMAZING. It will be one of the tastes I miss the most!
After our churro breakfast, we decided to go on the opposite side of Gran Via to do some shopping near Fuencarral, one of the best shopping streets in the city in my opinion. We purchased a few shirts, souvenirs for friends and family and some items for our classroom. Our most notable purchase was a stuffed ham leg we plan to hang from our ceilings just like they hang in the restaurants in Madrid!
We stopped at a Mexican inspired restaurant for lunch and had a chicken salad that was overly dressed in vinegar. Vinegar and olive oil are the typical dressing in Spain for a salad but whew, did this salad reek of vinegar and pack a punch with every bite! I could not even finish it. Thankfully, we also ordered some Patatas Bravas to get us through the meal. Patatas Bravas are cubed potatoes prepared similar to french fries with a semi-spicy red sauce served on top. Love these every place we go! The menus were pretty abanicos (fans) that we would have loved to have for our classrooms. What did Sra. Perry do? She asked it we could both have one! What did the waitress do? Brought us each one to take home! I guess it really does never hurt to ask!
As we sat on the patio eating our lunch we kept seeing people pass by with popsicles and ice cream bars. We obviously needed to figure out what all of this fuss was about and why everyone was munching on these treats. So after waiting about a half hour for our waitress to bring the bill (most of the time you have to signal as if you are signing something for them to bring it), we were off to the ice cream shop!
We walked into the shop that resembled The Pop Shop in Montgomery or Street Pops in Over the Rhine. There were so many flavors! Despite the heat, I wanted something chocolatey and funny enough, Sra. Perry was eyeing the same flavor! We both chose the peanut with milk chocolate and caramel flavor. Wow. It was delicious!
On our way back to the hotel from our shopping adventure (nearly 7 hours later with many bags in hand), we passed a huge store that had been full of people since the day we got there. I mean, TONS of people were going in this store called Primark, that was four stories tall on the main shopping street in Madrid. We had to investigate. Primark was the biggest store I had seen in Madrid. It had fancy graphics, videos, tons of escalators and was packed with people! We were told that people go there because clothes and other items are cheap which explains why we saw people with bags full of clothes when we left!
We laid down for a quick siesta before heading over to Pablo’s house for dinner! Another dinner prepared just for us by a Spaniard! How lucky are we?! After a ride on the metro to Pablo’s station, he greeted us from his balcony as we walked along the street. Pablo knows how picky I am when it comes to eating, so he prepared a meal he knew I would love! We started with a white wine from the Basque country, some shrimp and lomo sliced very thin. The lomo was one of my favorites I tasted in Spain! Chicken tenders and Solomillo with caramelized onion spread were the next course. It was so tasty! Believe it or not, I devoured the steak sliders before even touching the chicken! I asked Pablo to pick up some of the caramelized onion spread for me to take home. We finished with cute little ice cream cones that I could have sworn Pablo made by hand. Nope. Store bought. I was totally okay with it though! Something about this Spanish ice cream tastes so good!
After going back through this post, I have realized the obsession with food in Spain is contagious. I need to take more pictures! 🙂 Tomorrow, we plan to go to the huge Sunday market in Madrid, El Rastro. It was a great time last year and I am ready for Round 2! Better rest my feet for another long day of walking, shopping and food adventures!