March 1st, 2011

Sarah Goes To Madrid.

Two places to visit in the Plaza Mayor: Chocolateria San Gines and the Mercado San Miguel. You will inevitably head to the Plaza Mayor, one of the historic centers of Madrid. While you’re there why not eat well. Find your way to the Chocolateria off of the main street. Follow the florescent red sign around the corner to the café with the line out the door. Do not be dismayed. Service is brisk and the line moves. Just know what you want when you get to the front. Stand at the counter and watch the action. There is a small service window that allows you to see the churros and purros (a supersized churro) being made in the tiny kitchen. Or, wait for a table. Again, tables are vacated at a fair clip. Most are here for the churros and chocolate and however long you linger it does not take long to make your way through your plate of golden fried goodness. The chocolate here is nothing like the Swiss Miss that masquerades for hot chocolate at home. It is more like warm ganache: rich, thick, fragrant, and just sweet enough. The room is a total throw back to another era with art deco sconces and well worm green velveteen bench seats . The mirrored walls are covered with shiny black and white subway tiled walls and photos of the celebrity (mostly Spanish) patrons.

Meander your way through the maze of streets to the Mercado San Miguel. The glass and steel structure was recently renovated. There is some produce sold here along with fish and ham. The main draw is the many, many food stalls. There is a cart selling paper cones of potato chips or Serrano ham chicharones. Across the aisle are plates of glistening olive skewers, behind that a cart offering half a dozen different kinds of croquets. Oysters and cava, bocadillos de jamon, fresh juices, pastries, oh my.