Wanderlust has a cure. We are two moms with three kids each, animals, carpools, sports, volunteering, etc…you know the drill. We are happy to do it all and even enjoy it (most of the time). We are also fortunate enough to have husbands that have encouraged us to embrace our travel dreams! Traveling in January may seem odd to some, but for us, it is ideal because it’s affordable, there are less tourist and it’s off-season for our kids sports.
The Winter Winds called this year and sent us to Madrid, Spain. Visiting Madrid wasn’t at the top of our travel list, but we had the opportunity to visit a friend living abroad for a year with her family ( I know, right??). We were lucky to find our very swank mom pad apartment (we also traveled with another friend on this adventure) just a few blocks from our friend’s apartment and just next to the Biblioteca National and Museo del Prado. Madrid impressed the heck out of us from the minute we dragged our suitcases down the cobblestone streets. Behind our apartment we found unbelievable shopping and small neighborhood cafes and restaurants.
Madrid is a total food mecca. Markets, restaurants and taverns serving tapas with every drink order buttress the city. Between us we took hundreds of pictures of amazingly beautiful food! Our favorite and most memorable offerings were bites that were typically Spanish with simple ingredients turned impressive, like those from restaurants like Taberna Ricon de Goya. One favorite was Patatas Bravas which is a native dish of Spanish fried potatoes served with a warm, spicy tomato and pepper sauce spiced with paprika, chili, and vinegar. Jamon and Manchego cheese were at the ready at all times and delicious beyond our American comprehension. The tapas from the Mercado San Miguel killed us with loving goodness. We ordered and incredibly creamy burrata served on a soft, yet crunchy bread, slathered in local olive oil with the most savory sundried tomato and onion jam (yes, jam!) topped with tiny, crispy fried onions. There are no words. See below the recipe for this tasty dish!
When we came home we tried this recipe immediately! When in Spain, do as the Spaniards, right? We thought the fishbowl size drinks that every single person, (not exaggerating) at every single bar, (still not exaggerating) were drinking was fruit filled white Sangria. Um, no. We learned after we proudly tried to order “Sangria” like everyone else, that it was actually gin and tonic! So order a gin and tonic in Madrid and you will be one of the cool kids. Since none of us actually drink gin and tonics we went for the Rioja. Rioja is a Spanish red wine from the region of Riojo (bet you didn’t see that coming). It’s readily available and reasonably priced…not to mention great tasting.
What we observed on our Madrid adventure was a incredible mix of generations enjoying Spanish life together. Families strolling the streets hand in hand, old and young. Upscale dinner spots turned into eclectic, bustling crowds enjoying life! Madrid is a culinary pleasure, a shopper’s paradise and a cultural and artistic adventure. It is filled with important heritages in Western history.
Would you like to visit Spain someday?
Banner Image courtesy of National Geographic
Cathy Ingram and Kerrie Ciano make up the Field Trippin’ Moms crew and will be providing more travel tips and recipes for us! Can’t wait to see what recipes these two come up with and where they are off to next.
Burrata Crostini with Tomato and Onion Jam
Tomato & Onion Jam
1 jar sun dried tomatoes (reserve the oil)
¼ of a thinly sliced brown onion
¼ C red wine vinegar
½ C chicken stock
1 garlic clove
2 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
3 tsp sugar
In a saucepan, soften sun dried tomatoes and onion with 1 T of the oil from the tomatoes. When tomatoes and onions are soft, add the red wine vinegar, chicken stock, garlic clove, thyme sprigs, bay leaf and sugar. Cover and let simmer on low until ingredients are really soft (about 35 minutes). Remove bay leaf and thyme sprig. Uncover and continue to simmer until liquid has mostly evaporated. Chill and spoon over fresh burrata cheese and toasted baguette. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.