Sunday, August 9, 2009

Bowled Over

I have been loving Madrid's hearty fare for the past month, but with the temperatures routinely in the mid to upper 90s I've been feeling like some seafood was in order. The land-locked capital of Spain is (perhaps surprisingly) known for its excellent seafood, with the freshest options flown in daily from all three coasts. Several locals insisted I dine at Taberna Maceiras to get my fix. 

Located on Calle de las  Huertas, a hub of nighttime activity with a plethora of bars, restaurants and jazz cafes that beckon to you, Maceiras looks like nothing special when you walk by it. With an unassuming hand-painted sign, you're almost temped to pass it by. 

But the people waiting in line outside with a look of slight desperation on their faces make you think twice. [Disclaimer: This photo was taken after dinner, when the line had subsided.] 

The interior is cozy and rustic, filled with communal tables and wine barrels in the corners. It has a kitschy nautical theme going on, which seems fitting here. As you sit down at your table (that you'll likely end up sharing with others), you're handed the menu — a simple, round piece of wood with the selections hand-written in different ink colors. It looks a little bit like a middle-school craft project but it works with the vibe of the place. 

The restaurant specializes in seafood from Galicia, which I discovered is as delicious as their wines! The Galicians are known for eating gargantuan amounts, so when in Rome . . . . It was hard to choose, but my friend Karen, who'd come to hang out with me during my last week in Spain, and I ended up going with some fried calamari (that looked like enormous onion rings when they arrived but were incredibly tender) . . .  

. . . mussels baked in this delicious spicy, tomato broth . . . 

. . . and baked hake in a garlic butter sauce, served right out of the oven (and the pot)!

But to fully compliment the superlative seafood, we needed some wine of course! The selection is first-rate and well-priced. We went with an acidic and vibrant AlbariƱo, which was the perfect match. In keeping with the Galician tradition, the wine is served in ceramic bowls. 

I can't put my finger on exactly why, but I loved drinking wine from the bowl. It has an informality and an intimacy to it. Like you're drinking coffee with your girlfriends. I don't actually drink coffee, but I'm thinking this new vessel for wine might be a way to get my "coffee talk" in while sipping on something more up my alley. Wine at Starbucks: Now that would be a strategic way to dig out of the recession and recapture the market share McDonald's has taken away. Doesn't a glass of wine cure more than a cup of coffee? I rest my case. 

1 comment:

  1. Holley, I have to stop reading your blog. After every entry I get up and make myself something yummy to eat, even if I just finished a meal.

    Look forard to seeing you when you get back.