It’s nearly a year now since we were in Madrid, and while during that time we’ve managed to shed some of the excess poundage we gained there, we’ve lost none of our longing to be back there. And, it’s a strange thing about longing that all your memories become more vivid, and you remember even the smallest details.
So, on Sunday morning, we sought to recreate what, while in Madrid, seemed like a comparatively minor facet of our stay – breakfast. In Spain, as in other parts of southern Europe, a typical breakfast is characterized by three things: sugar, caffeine and nicotine, but it would unfair to suggest there is no greater variety than the, admittedly delicious, combo of pastries, coffee and strong cigarettes.
Roommate Mario (our hotel, not an actual person), in the Opera district of the city (not far from the magnificent Palacio Real – see above), was a small, boutiquey-type place and not, by any means, the type of hotel we’d commonly stay in. And, apart from the unusually reasonably-priced room, what convinced us to pick this hotel was its renowned “free” breakfast.
Research suggested that not only was it sumptious and delicious, but that it was served until noon, which, given that we like to sleep on vacation and would be eating and drinking later than normal to fit in with the insomniacal Madrileño lifestyle, was another bonus. I’ve always found it despicable and somehow mean that most hotels only serve breakfast until 10am, so that people who actually on vacation nearly always miss it.
Our typical breakfast at Roommate Mario was, of course, a tongue-tinglingly powerful cup of café solo or “capuchino”, a tiny glass of freshly-squeezed and enjoyably sour orange juice, and several triangles of the most perfect tortilla española layered on fresh, crusty bread with slices of manchego and lomo – cured loin of pork delicately flavored with pimenton – and topped with a drizzle of golden Andalucian olive oil and, our new favorite condiment, grated tomato. I know it doesn’t sound like a wildly exotic or even a very exciting breakfast (especially to our Spanish readers), but to us, who usually only shove down a slice of toast before hurrying out of the door of an average morning, it was out of this world.
So, this past weekend, as you can see from the pictures, in a flood of nostalgia, and flush with many of the requisite ingredients, we recreated our Madrid breakfasts in our Brooklyn apartment – courtesy of a very kind deli counter worker at Union Market (69cents for six slices of jamon iberico!) and through the good graces of our friend Nuría Farregut at Spanish Recipes and the miracle of vacuum-packing. In fact, so thoughtful and kind is Nuría that yesterday, just as we were mourning the last of the chorizo de bellota she sent us from La Boquería over the summer, another package arrived with some magnificent-looking dry salami/salchichon! It’s as if we managed to telepathically transmit our longing for Spain to Nuría in Barcelona. I mean, we’re still desperate to return, but at least our stomachs are temporarily satisfied! Thank you so, so much, Nuría! Una amiga en jamón, es una amiga por la vida!