After seven successful installations, the Tapas Fair has returned to Madrid. Starting tomorrow, Thursday June 21st, the Palacio de Deportes (metro: Goya) will convert itself into a giant bar of sorts where you can sample some of Madrid’s best tapas accompanied by a caña of Mahou.
Thirty-eight different bars and restaurants will participate in this year’s feria, each with their own small stand offering a few of their signature dishes from madrileño classics to inventive new plates.
Each tapa will cost €1,20 and each caña will also cost €1,20. There also non-alcoholic drinks available at the stands. In past years, these transactions have taken places using fichas - small commemorative coins that you must purchase in advance at the Palacio de Deportes ticket window or at special stands within the event, so keep that in mind as you rush in with an empty stomach!
This year’s Tapas Fair runs from Thursday, June 21st to Sunday, June 24th, with a split timetable of 1200-430pm and again at 8pm-midnight. Entrance to the event is free.
…is through your stomach.
I would like to introduce you all, faithful guiris, to Lauren Aloise’s Madrid Food Tour. This tour provides a custom assortment of Madrid’s finest cuisine, hand-picked by one very passionate guiri.
Lauren is an expat from Massachusetts who has lived in Granada, Sevilla, Cádiz, and Madrid. Her already existing passion for food increased immensely after living in Spain, marrying her very own Spaniard, and meeting her suegra, Antonia. Thanks to time abroad and the lessons learned from her mother-in-law, Lauren has learned a great deal about Spanish cuisine and has found a way to share it with the world! In addition to running Madrid Food Tour, Lauren writes both Spanish Sabores (in English) and Recetas Americanas (in Spanish), two excellent resources for anyone interested in Spanish or American cuisine.
Madrid Food Tour’s “signature tour” includes samples of various Spanish treats widely available in Madrid at both popular and unique stops around the city. The tour typically takes from three to four hours during off-peak times so that those on the tour can see Madrid in a way that most tour groups don’t typically get to experience. Not only does the tour hit all the general flavor groups–sweet, savory, and everything in between–Lauren shares some history and information about every plate sampled. Want to know what’s in what you’re eating? Where it comes from? Just ask!
Does the signature tour not sound like what you’re looking for? Want to try something a bit more off-beat or specific to your tastes? Do you have the most discerning of palates? Again… just ask! The best part of these tours is that they are almost entirely customizable based on what you like, so if Andrew Zimmern’s bizarre tastes inspire you to try something completely new and different, let Lauren know!
The Madrid Food Tour website can be found here, and tours are available now! Tell them Guiri Guide sent you, and then let us know how much you loved it!
Computer applications have become a business of seeing gaps in currently offered products and places where a new product would make people’s lives easier. That is the idea behind mitmi, a mobile application start-up in Madrid. The mitmi team of José Luis Fernández, Eduardo González, and Guillermo Zotes addressed a gap when they released their application in January: people need a way to organize via their mobile phones specifically about where, when, and how they are going to meet up in person. What about an application that combines instant chat, a listing of personal events and their locations, real-time maps/checking-in technology, and even the ability to make reservations at restaurants and clubs? The product, which is ever updating and growing with its growing consumer base, is mitmi.
The name comes from the English ‘meet me,’ but with the Spanish spelling of the phrase. From your phone, you can use this free application to connect to your Facebook and invite both Facebook friends and people who also have mitmi to do something with you, be it going for a hike in the mountains or meeting up for cañas or anything else. You can monitor who is planning on coming to the event and have a group chat discussion of times to meet, meeting spots, etc. Finally, as the moment approaches, if you arrive early you can click ‘ping pong’ and find out where your friends are at the moment using a map, which gives you a much more accurate read on when they will arrive than ‘c u soon!’ ever has given.
Coming from a small town, I was surprised when I arrived in Madrid and it became much more difficult to meet up with friends; selecting a time, location, and activity became something complicated, especially if I was involving lots of people or people who had never been to that part of the city before. This application makes an effort to reduce the complexity of that task, and offers other perks like connections to other people who like similar events to yours and the ability to make instant reservations with discounts at participating restaurants.
The application is based in Madrid, which means there is a high concentration of users here, but it is an internationally available application in Spanish and English, so you can use it if you are in the United States too. In the future, the application team plans on expanding and will continue adding features.
The application is currently available for iPhone and Android. Visit www.mitmiapp.com to learn more and download the free application to try it out yourself.
We’ve told you about many Tapas crawls and food opportunities in Madrid, but this one bears mentioning for the next week in particular: until May 20th, De Tapas Por Madrid is an enormous tapas crawl with no less than 4 routes, each boasting between 15 and 30 spots in bars and restaurants.
Organized by La Viña, a business organization for restaurants in Madrid, and sponsored by Cruzcampo, the route makes ordering simple: each restaurant has one featured tapa, which comes with a mini-bottle of Cruzcampo beer (some restaurants offer both with and without alcohol), for €2.40.
If you are adventurous, I recommend just picking an area of the city that you like and finding a bar with a sign for “De Tapas Por Madrid” outside, and then going from bar to bar in that area. Inside, you’ll find maps of that particular route (there are four, based in different neighborhoods of the city). The maps have good quality photos and descriptions of the tapa offered in each area as well, so if you have dietary restrictions or just want to know what you are eating before you order it, you can pick and choose from the tapas suggested.
My first route this year has been the yellow route, where I visited three spots: Lhardy (an old and classily furnished delicatessen-type spot), Majaderitos Café (a more modern bar/restaurant on bustling calle Cádiz), and Grazie Mille Kitchen Bar (a cute and cozy Italian restaurant). I ate a salmon tartar dish, which I didn’t expect to like, but which was really savory and flavorful, a fried fish-in-sauce tapa, and (believe it or not) the signature spaghetti of Grazie Mille, packaged in a ball of tinfoil, no less. Do not expect large portions; while you may luck out with some of the tapas being generous, the ones I tried were reasonably small and packed more flavor than they filled me up.
After getting a tapa, you will be given a flyer with a code on it that you can use to vote for your favorite tapa on the route and also to enter a raffle for iPads and Cruzcampo products. After you try some out, post your favorite stops on the route in the comments of this GuiriGuide entry!
De Tapas Por Madrid