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Archive for May, 2014

Monday, May 26, 2014- Breakfast in Madrid, Spain at Starbucks

Jamie says: I love breakfast, but I’m all about keeping it simple and light on most days. I was craving oatmeal and remembered Starbucks sells oatmeal. We popped into the Starbucks on our corner. I soon learned that the Starbucks menu is quite different in Spain. No oatmeal. No apples. No bananas. I grabbed a fruit cup with frutas- honeydew, large grapes (with seeds), pineapple, and kiwi- and we were on our way off to The Grand Palace!

Starbucks fruit cup, Spain style

Starbucks fruit cup, Spain style

 

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Sunday, May 25, 2014- Dessert in Madrid, Spain at Chocolateria San Jines

Kathryn says: Next to holy grounds, temptation awaits the sweet-toothed tourist.

Chocolateria San Gines is just around the corner from the church with its namesake.

Chocolateria San Gines is just around the corner from the church with its namesake.

Tucked up behind San Gines church, but in sight from the main street is Chocolateria San Gines. The electric red cursive sign lights the way to a place where vats of hot chocolate turn quicker than ham sandwiches – and that’s saying something in Spain.

The old-fashioned dessert shop on a hill dates back to 1894, and their offerings are timeless – rich, thick cups of hot milk chocolate, served with a spoon.

Dip and devour.

Dip and devour.

Your order comes with a plate full of churros – fried sticks of dough; think thick, crispier pieces of funnel cake, Americans.

Coiled churros wait to be cut and served.

Coiled churros wait to be cut and served.

The place feels like an upscale coffee shop inside, with shiny machines, mirrored walls and lots of small tables. You order at the counter and then sit in or outside along the narrow, cobblestone street alley.

Service is friendly and quick.

Service is friendly and quick.

Service comes with a big smile from young waiters wearing white paper hats and aprons. There are plenty of tables outside, but inside has its own charm and character.

K and J share a late-night treat.

K and J share a late-night treat.

They also serve a drink that pleasantly contrasts the viscous chocolate – a watery, nutty, cold beverage called horchata. Mix in a little hot chocolate and you just might have the best of both worlds.

Sweet decadence. Hot chocolate with churros, and a cold horchata.

Sweet decadence. Hot chocolate with churros, and a cold horchata.

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Sunday, May 25, 2014- Dinner in Madrid, Spain at 5J Restaurante

Jamie says: The 5J restaurant in Puerto del Sol called my name. I looked at the menu and saw the word goat cheese and was immediately sold. I had been craving goat cheese for the past few days (why? I have no idea) and was compelled to select the restaurant based solely on this one ingredient. I may have also been a little biased in my selection due to my favoritism for the letter J.

5J Restaurant

5J Restaurant

After ordering our beverages, a tapas of egg, potato, and (likely) cheese came out with the wine. We had heard that restaurants will often provide a free tapas with alcohol. It was alright. Not my cup of tea per se but my Dad really enjoyed it.

Free appetizer with the vino

Free appetizer with the vino

My meal was light, flavorful, and unique. The spinach salad was reminiscent of a brie. It had goat cheese in phyllo dough and a thick raspberry dressing. It was quite beautiful and the phyllo dough looked like a flower to me.

Goat cheese salad reminiscent of brie

Goat cheese salad reminiscent of brie

The chicken and cous cous were seasoned well. (Although I wouldn’t call it a vegetable couscous due to the absence of vegetables.) The dish was light, but I really enjoyed it.

Chicken and "vegetable" couscous

Chicken and “vegetable” couscous

It was a good thing that we did dine at 5 J’s, because we got to see the locals celebrate winning of a big soccer game between two sections of Spain (think the Yankees versus the Mets)! My cousin Elizabeth said it was two Madrid teams- Real Madrid verus Atletico Madrid in the champion league final. I learned it was the first time in history that these two Madrid teams played each other in the finals. Real Madrid, the popular team, had won.

The massive crowds celebrating their futbol (soccer) victory

The massive crowds celebrating their futbol (soccer) victory

There were massive crowds were cheering and singing. It was the hopping spot of the town.

The massive crowds celebrating their futbol (soccer) victory

The massive crowds celebrating their futbol (soccer) victory

Later that night when we were walking back to the hotel, we had a moment of “Stolarz luck” – we got to see the trophy  up close! We were walking through the ecstatic crowds celebrating their victory and saw the trophy proudly being held up from the front window of a coach bus driving right by us! Talk about crazy cool energy and impeccable timing!

Check out that trophy!

Check out that trophy!

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Sunday, May 25, 2014- Lunchtime in Madrid, Spain at San Bruno Restaurante

Jamie says: After church we were hungry for lunch. We had a hard time finding a place on the list and settled on a tapas restaurant called San Bruno.

Tapas at San Bruno

Tapas at San Bruno

We sat outside. On the corner, there was this meowing fake little kitten. It took us a bit to figure out what it was. It drove our waiter crazy.

Fun place mat

Fun place mat

The oil and vinegar containers (brought for the bread) were so cute. I thought they would be perfect to take for a salad lunch at work.

Cute EVOO and vinegar

Cute EVOO and vinegar

I ordered a gazpacho, which is a common cold soup in Spain. It was ok- it lacked texture and seemed like they took a stick blender to the soup. I would prefer the chunks of vegetables.

Gazpacho

Gazpacho

A tuna salad also sounded good. It was your basic salad with canned tuna. The two pieces of hearts of palm (resembling a mozzarella cheese stick) made it a little more interesting.

Tuna salad

Tuna salad

The garlic chicken dish ended up being fried even though it didn’t say “frita.” The potatoes were fried, very soggy, and dripping in oil. Not good enough to finish. They brought out the credit card machine to run our credit card in front of us, which was quite different, and we were on our way.

Ensalada, pollo, y papas fritas

Ensalada, pollo, y papas fritas

After lunch, we sauntered Plaza Mayor and checked into our hotel in the heart of town- Puerta del Sol.

Awesome staircase in our hotel

Awesome staircase in our hotel

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Saturday, May 24, 2014 – Sunday, May 25, 2014- Dinner and breakfast on the airplane ride from the USA to Madrid, Spain

Jamie says: !Hola! We’re in Spain!

My new suitcase

My new suitcase

The plane flight went by pretty quickly. I ate and slept and ate again.

Dinner- chicken and rice with veggies, salad with creamy parm dressing, crackers, cheese, roll, butter, H2O, and brownie

Dinner- chicken and rice with veggies, salad with creamy parm dressing, crackers, cheese, roll, butter, H2O, and brownie

I do have to say the food on the plane wasn’t as good at when we went to Italy- a little heavy on the grains and low on the fiber (dietitian talk). I didn’t feel like I wanted to try everything this time and I’m glad I packed my own snacks.

Breakfast- croissant, butter and jelly, yogurt, and OJ

Breakfast- croissant, butter and jelly, yogurt, and OJ

The airport in Madrid was huge and modern.

Airport ceiling in Madrid

Airport ceiling in Madrid

The taxi ride over felt surprisingly laid back compared to other trips. At a first glance, Spain seems surprisingly similar to Italy. Very charming and full of unique architecture. We made it right on time to 11 AM mass.

There’s a 6 hour time difference here compared to the States. As my Mom said, “Christmas comes first over here.”  I thought I adapted well to the time change until I almost fell asleep standing up in church. (We all enjoyed our cat naps later.)

 

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