Travels in Madrid-Barajas, Spain – Part 10
By Nancy Hartman of What’s Cooking America
Destino – Madrid-Barajas, Spain:
The March In March: The next day we flew from Málaga to Madrid where we planned to spend our last day in Spain before flying home. Unfortunately our arrival coincided with the march on Madrid where thousands of people walked across Spain to Madrid to protest austerity which they claim is destroying their country. According to El Mundo newspaper reports, the day before our arrival, Police arrested at least 29 protesters following the clashes which took place after the march. According to emergency service, 101 people were injured – 67 of them police. We made the disappointing decision not to visit Madrid. Instead we stayed in the small neighborhood of Madrid called Barajas, near the Madrid-Barajas airport.
We found a shuttle to our hotel and asked the shuttle driver for a recommendation for lunch. This was obviously a popular question as he was ready and willing to share where he likes to go eat lunch. He qualified his recommendation by saying, “I get no kick back, it is just really good food, so visit Pepe at Campanillas Restaurante across from your hotel.”
We thanked the driver for the suggestion and checked in to our hotel before wandering across the street to visit Pepe. It was early afternoon and the restaurant had a lunch counter with stools occupied by the mayors of the neighborhood, who smiled as we wandered in and found a table in the dining area. We were greeted by the friendly proprietor, Pepe, a very friendly, happy, and uninhibited gentleman who stated he was 52.
He assisted us in selecting lunch by walking us back out to the front to help us read the Menú del Día (menu of the day), which was written on the chalkboard. He patiently pointed at each one and pursed his lips to kiss his fingers and throw the kiss in the air to express which his favorite suggestions were. My Mother and I ordered for the table and returned to wait for our lunch.
When our meal was finished Pepe gave the guys Madrid hats and my Mother and I refrigerator magnets and key chains as souvenirs of our visit. We thanked him, hugged, and wandered out into the streets of Barajas for the afternoon. As we wandered, we decided that we would go back to Campanillas to visit Pepe for dinner that night.
Zip It! We found Barajas to be a very friendly neighborhood. We visited a jewelry store where my Mother purchased me a fabulous zipper necklace to celebrate the close of our trip where I rolled my years over and turned 50. The necklace was made by a company called una50, and had its charms emblazoned with the number 50. It was a fitting gift to remember our time in Spain. After paying, the sales clerk was wrapping up the necklace in adorable gift bags; she slipped in extra charms for us to take home. We felt well loved and cared for in Barajas receiving these little extra something, something here and there.
Comida – Our Last Supper: It is time for dinner and we returned to Campanillas, and Pepe was very excited to see us again. He ushered us in and made a special table for us, and informed us that he would order for us tonight. We were thrilled; a foodies dream to let the chef choose your meal. Pepe also told us that he would be sharing with us his secrets of sangria. Before the food came, Pepe brought his lovely wife, Carmen over and introduced her to us. Photos were taken all around and we all felt like long lost friends. After the photos, a plate of ceviche mussels arrived and baskets of warm bread.
Sangria: As we ate our tapas, Pepe came in with a flourish and set a tray of spirits on our table and began a demonstration of how to make Sangria. It was fun, we nodded our heads, and we all laughed. Pepe then brought us a paper with the recipe typed up and he made notes and pictures as he explained, in his tourist English, the secrets of sangria. When he was finished we had a lovely pitcher of sangria to drink with our dinner. It was smooth, packed a good punch and the pitcher seemed to keep filling our glasses we just never ran out.
Check out Pepe’s Secret Spanish Sangria Recipe. I really like this version of sangria as it is very smooth and delicious tasting! We also made a video of Pepe’s sangria lesson that you can watch here: Pepe’s Secret Spanish Sangria
And Then – There Were Kabobs and They Were Good: Then came dinner, a plate of savory kabobs of pork, beef, chicken, and lamb, mixed vegetable salad, mango salad, delightful mussels, Spanish potatoes in garlic mayonnaise, Spanish potato omelet, and a serving platter of mixed vegetables. We ate our meal and enjoyed every bite!
Photos (left to right) – Spanish Shish Kebobs, Mixed Vegetable Salad (Enssalada de vegetales mixtos), and Mango Salad (Ensalada de Mango).
Photos (left to right) – Mussels (Mejilones), Spanish Potatoes in Garlic Mayonnaise (Patatas Alioli), and Spanish Potato Omelet (Tortilla Espanola).
Just before finishing our delicious dinner, Pepe brought over glasses of sherry and homemade chocolate truffles. After all was said and done, we patted our tummies wiped off our rosy cheeks and along came Pepe with shots of Irish Cream and dollops of whipped cream. They went down just as easily, as Pepe sat in the chair at the table and shared in a Spanglish conversation with us for about an hour more.
We really enjoyed our day in Barajas thanks to the people that live there!
We plan to return to Spain as soon as is possible (hopefully we will have learned more Spanish in the meantime). This culinary adventure through southern Spain has only increased our desire to return. We say good bye to Andalusia, Spain for now only!
We learned a lot about the region, a little about the wonderful people and language, and found that everyone was really very friendly. Spain is a beautiful slice of paradise with friendly people, lovely beaches and palm trees, warm weather, delicious food, and amazingly easy driving.
Check out out Spanish Paella Dinner Menu and Recipe that feature recipes from our culinary adventures in Andalusia, Spain.
Matt and Nancy Hartman
Don and Linda Stradley
Categories:Travels in Spain