Tapas Tour (Madrid, part DOS)

Hey everyone!

So I planned on breaking down my Spain trip into 3 sections…but the tapas tour we attended deserves its own section…so there will now be 4  🙂

Today was a very fun day!  After my Cross Fit class on Monday, I’ve been dying to get in a good workout.  I was too sore on Tuesday and Wednesday to get in a good run, and unfortunately it was storming big-time here yesterday.  Such a bummer.  I decided to make up for it today though. I woke up early ready to run.

I ran 4.37 miles at 8:41 pace.  It wasn’t my best time, or my farthest run, but I’ll take it.  I’ve missed running after taking 2+ weeks off for vacation, and only running 3 miles at a time before vacation.  I don’t know about you guys, but I definitely prefer my cooler weather runs.  C’mon Mother Nature, throw just one 40-degree morning my way, please?  It can get hot later on, just give me a cool morning 😉

After my hot & humid run (80s and 50%+ humidity at 7AM), I got ready for the day.  My mom and I headed to Oak Brook where they have a beautiful outdoor mall.  They decorate it beautifully with flowers and some fountains – oh, and I guess the beautiful shoes & handbags don’t hurt the landscape, either 😉

We enjoyed our day shopping and talking, which was very similar to our trip to Spain.  Mom and I pretty much shopped every day while in Spain – tough work, but someone’s gotta do it, right?  Although Oak Brook has delicious restaurant options, they don’t quite have the tapas that Madrid does.  But that’s okay, I can live through my pictures tonight.

Before going to Spain, we booked a tour with Adventurous Appetites which had rave reviews on Trip Advisor.  Our tour guide was James, who was great and provided us with helpful tips about tapas, bars in Madrid, and Spain in general.

One tip about ordering tapas?  Always order your drinks first and wait before you order your tapas.  Some bars give you free tapas, but if you order your food when you order your drink, they may skip giving you the free tapas.  Thanks for the tip, James! 🙂

Without further adieu, here’s the tapas!

Bar 1

(Seriously) Blue Cheese

Cider, Cheese + Ham, and maybe a Tortilla in the back? So much food, so little time…

Sorry the picture above isn’t so hot!  I wasn’t going to include it, but I didn’t want to leave any of the food out!

Delicious Sausage + Potatoes (covered in paprika)

Cheesy Tortilla (get in my belly)

Walking to Bar 2

how cute is this chocolate shop?!

Bar 2

*NOT* Sangria! it’s red wine + soda.

I can’t remember what the above drink is called, but James made sure to tell us that it is not sangria.  It’s something that is less tourist-y than sangria, and what locals drink.

Sausage, Rolls, and Ham

Those little sausages were my favorite in Spain.  SOOO GOOD

Ham (from a pig that ate chestnuts, so the meat is fattier) and Cheese

Walking to Bar 3

Bar 3

mmm pouring Rioja

CHEERS! we had a fun group!

part of the tour group!

Mussels (with green and red peppers) and Toast (with olive oil)

Tripe and Beans

Beans, beans, the magical fruit..

Fried Pedron Peppers

Some are spicy, some are not…you don’t know until you bite in!  So much fun 🙂

Croquettas (filled with cheese and pieces of ham)

Black Pudding (Blood Sausage)
(Gross stuff that tastes good because it’s seasoned well)

Amazing Mushrooms and yummy meat (can’t remember what it was, exactly.. pork maybe?)

Cold Vegetable Salad topped with Cold Cod
(Mom and my favorite dish!)

Walking to Bar 4

Bar 4

Mushrooms with Garlic Mayo Spread on Toast

I didn’t have the tapas picture shown above, but past tour attendees described it as being so good and like “crack”.

Garlic and Oil Shrimp

Octopus covered in paprika

At this last bar, some drank white wine and others (like me) drank water.

I may have ended the night with some gelato, too.  My sweet tooth was callin’, and I couldn’t ignore it.  Luckily they have smaller portions in Spain (they’re small is a “baby” size in the US), so I could eat it without exploding.

Hope you enjoyed the tapas tour with me!  If you go to Spain, I highly recommend going with Adventurous Appetites like I did.  As you may or may not have noticed, I didn’t include the names of the bars.  This was done at the request of my tour guide, because they change the bars every time.  They try to switch up the bars and keep them unpublicized to help them from becoming tourist-y.  If you are extremely curious about one of the pictures and need to find out where exactly you can get it, let me know and I may be able to help you out.  🙂 But trust me when I say, you really can’t go wrong.  Especially with a tour guide like James helping you out!

Adios! 🙂

Questions for you:
Do you usually take tours while on vacation?  My family almost always does!  I love them because you get to ask a local tons of questions- some related to the tour, others just about food and life in that city!
Do you like to branch out and try new foods while vacationing?  I tried blue cheese, tripe, and black pudding during the tapas tour…some things that I’m either not a fan of (blue cheese) or never had (tripe and black pudding).  I’m so glad that I stepped outside my comfort zone to try these!  Even though I probably wouldn’t order them on my own in the future, I’m glad I had a bite! 🙂

Spain Part 1: Madrid

Hola!

I hope your day is going well!  My morning began with a 6+ mile bike ride.  I had planned on going for a run, but after Monday’s CrossFit class (and the 2 mile run that night), my legs are still feelin’ it.  Apparently doing my first squat ever- and 199 more after that– in one day isn’t necessarily the smartest idea.  Who would’ve thought?

I love feelin’ a good workout though, so I can’t complain too much. 🙂

Okay, let’s get to the travel stuff.  There’s so much to say about Madrid, and not enough web space to hold it.  Instead, I’m going to share my trip mostly through pictures and include a few words.

Ready to head to Spain from your seat? 🙂 Let’s go!

Ready for the flights (to NYC first and then Madrid!)

Spain from the sky!

Madrid Airport!

Seriously, how cool is the airport’s ceiling?

Okay, okay, I’ll stop with all the airport pictures. On to some real stuff! 🙂

Here’s Madrid architecture:

love this so much

check out that statue in the park 😉

Madrid is gorgeous at night

Madrid Cuisine:

Seafood and Chicken Paella

One of the richest, and most delicious things I ate.
Toasted bread with ham, drizzled with olive oil.

Rioja ❤

Octopus and potatoes, cooked in olive oil and covered in paprika

From the hotel breakfast buffet:
Tortilla (basically, a Spanish frittata) with spinach
(and, of course, delicious grapefruit and oranges)
holy yum!

Okay, okay, I know this isn’t necessarily “food” but it’s a market that serves incredible tapas. Check out some of the tapas we tried there in the next few photos!

Cod + Tomatoes on Toast (from the market)

“Seafood Salad” – fish + peppers and other veggies, in an olive oil and vinegar dressing (from the market)

Shrimp with an avocado-mayo spread on toast
(from the market)

macaroons = ❤
(from the market)

churros and “hot chocolate”

You dip the churros into the “hot chocolate” (which is really a chocolate sauce, because it’s thicker than regular hot chocolate).
You’re supposed to drink the hot chocolate after you finish the churros, but my mom and I found it too rich (and thick) to do that.  But don’t worry, we tried 😉

delicious chocolate = happy girl

amazing bean salad. one of the best things I ate.

Roast Chicken and Patatas (fries)

oh you know, just one of the sweetest waiters in Madrid. and my ice cream dessert. (vanilla, chocolate, and cream)

Are you hungry yet?  🙂 I’m definitely getting ready for dinner after looking at all of these.  These are most of the food pictures, but not all of them.  My mom and I also had dinner at the OLDEST RESTAURANT IN THE WORLD (Botin), but unfortunately the pictures didn’t turn out super well.  Apparently my camera didn’t want to make pretty pictures? what the heck.  My mom and I also attended a tapas tour, but that is worthy of it’s own post.  Plus, can anyone really handle any more pictures of food in this post? 😉

Hope these pictures made you feel like you were in Spain, too!  Or, maybe they gave you some inspiration for tonight’s dinner.  Let me know if you decide to make a Spanish-inspired meal after seeing these! 🙂

Okay, after all of those pictures, I think it’s time that the Madrid recap comes to a close.  Although the Tapas Tour photos are still to come, it’s time to say “adios” for now 🙂

Questions for you:
Have you had Spanish food before?  (Either in Spain, or at a Spanish restaurant somewhere)
What’s your favorite type of food? (Spanish, German, Italian, Mexican, American…)