So I found my favorite restaurant in Madrid. I am not really sure of the name because it is a hole in the wall in Chueca. It is very "cutre" as they say here, meaning that it seems tacky, low-quality and of the lower class. But the truth is, "cutre" is in right now in Madrid according to Manny and I will use that or any other excuse to go there. It is authentic, Spanish cuisine. There is no salty paella in some touristic pan or other culinary manifestations of tourist exploitation. You walk into a smoky glass mirror and you see about 10 tables for two. Three waiters are running around, yelling at each other. But the yelling is in a manner that American's think how the Japanese talk, we know it's friendly but we wouldn't be surprised if someone was shot.
Last night I took Charlotte on an accidental walking tour of Chueca as I attempted to relocate a hole-in-the-wall restaurant by sight and vibe. We walk in and they place two mini-loaves of bread directly onto the crate paper table top. With some clear vinagarette and some olive oil, the restaurant starts off seeming a bit "dodgy". They place leather-bound menus on the table as if it were simply a gesture, expecting any person who knew of the restaurant and its location to already know of what the menu consists. Ten different types of tortilla española and chicken offered to suit anyone's liking. Each one only setting your wallet back 6 Euro, which is unheard of in my time here. Oh, and did I mention that a bottle of chilled red can be brought to your table for a measly 5 Euro.
Our food comes (garlic chicken wings with fries for Charlotte and veal with gravy and mash potatoes for myself) and we dig in. It tastes as though it had been cooked a million times, a taste that has come into its own after years of passed down recipes and different execution strategies. Since my walking tour of Chueca left us sitting at around midnight, we finally finished eating around 1. The restaurant usually closes around then, but you will never find a Spanish restaurant asking people to leave. Charlotte and I were joined with two other groups of people to shut the place down. Just left with a bottle of tinto in the company of some locals, the owners of the shop decide to shut the lights off. The couple behind us were still eating but there was oddly no fuss. They bring out Heineken bottles with candles in them to each table. It is a sign to the outside that they are not excepting others, but creating such an ambience for the patrons that I never wanted to leave. We were talking about our pasts, our indiscretions, our futures and the destestation of thinking about it. We had a flow to our conversation, a back and forth but that is typical of Charlotte and I.
Remember when I talked about how I wanted to help Nena and Ollie let their freak flag fly? Well let's just say that Charlotte is the Betsy Ross of my brand of freak flags. Something about her Scottish accent or her deceivingly profound street smarts that make my freak gates swing wide open.
Around a candle lit table, with friendly staff and enjoyable company, Madrid is wooing me. It wines me and dines me and pushes my limits. I do not usually have feelings Madrid, some call me a robot. But you, oh powerful and attentive suitor, I may fall for you, I may fall hard for you.