Welcome to My Madrid, a new series here on the Madrid Food Tour blog in which bloggers from Madrid and all around Spain tell us a little bit about what Madrid means to them. We love hearing about other people’s Madrid favorites, and who better to ask than a bunch of adventurous bloggers?
Today we’re excited to talk to Courtney, a Seattle native living in Madrid and working as an assistant English teacher. Besides venturing around Europe, she likes drinking tinto de verano in the sunshine, embarrassing herself by trying to speak the local language, and attempting to seek out the best brunch in Spain. You can follow along with her adventures on her blog Adelante, as well as on Instagram and Twitter.
Hi Courtney! Let’s start off with your history with Madrid.
I packed my bags and said adios to the rainy Pacific Northwest last September, and I’ve been eagerly soaking up everything Madrid has to offer since! Technically speaking, I moved here to teach English as an auxiliar de conversación… but realistically, it was the savory tapas, affordable vino tinto and mesmerizing language that lured me over.
The food has captured our hearts, too! How was your first impression?
I first visited Madrid in 2010 while I was studying abroad in Andalucía, and I was instantly enamored by its unpretentious charm and sophistication. Dissatisfied with small town life in the south, Madrid possessed everything that I was so desperately yearning for. A mecca of vivacious neighborhoods with diverse personalities, Madrid’s many flavors continue to seduce me even after eight months of living here.
What is one thing you wouldn’t leave Madrid without doing?
I still haven’t visited all of the museums here, which is a shameful thing for an art-lover like myself to admit. Before I go back to the States for the summer, I’m going to set aside plenty of time to devote myself to the city’s many world-class museums. I’ll get there eventually, I promise!
Do you have a favorite Madrid experience?
I love going to the market and picking up an assortment of creamy cheeses, buttery jamón ibérico de bellota, dried figs and plums, some freshly made chips and a bottle of Rioja, and then bringing it to Retiro for a picnic with friends. I prefer parking myself near the pond, so I can soak up the sun and relish my snacks with a gorgeous view!
A picnic is one of our favorite activities, we’re so lucky to be able to enjoy them all year long! Now, name your favorite Madrid meal.
Despite being a Celiac and an ardent seafood-hater, I still manage to constantly embrace my inner foodie here in Madrid. If I were to die tomorrow, I’d want my last meal to be a pincho de tortilla and huevos rotos from Juana la Loca in La Latina, generously washed down with a few glasses of tinto de verano. Tortilla española and huevos rotos are my most perilous addictions, and after half a year of vigorous taste testing, I’m convinced that Juana La Loca offers the best of both.
What would be your ideal night out in Madrid?
I would start the evening out by watching the sunset from a rooftop bar such as La Azotea del Círculo de Bellas Artes, admiring the sublime views of the city with a glass of vino tinto in hand. After that I’d surely be craving some tapas, so I’d venture to La Latina or Huertas to various hole-in-the-wall bars with long wine lists, like Casa González or Almacén de Vinos Casa Gerardo. The older, the better! I’d cap off the night with a few smoky glasses of Ribera del Duero and good conversations with friends.
And last but not least, what’s your favorite day trip from Madrid?
While everyone should experience the rustic quaintness of Toledo at some point, I much prefer the magic of Segovia. Between the regal Roman aqueduct, ornate cathedral and whimsical Disney-esque castle, it’s no surprise that this town emanates charm. The colors are warmer, the streets are more inviting, and trying traditional dishes such as cochinillo, or roasted suckling pig, is a culinary experience that can’t be missed.
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