Monday, May 19, 2014

My Trip to Madrid, Spain (Day 1): Museo de Jamon

When traveling abroad, we generally like to pick flights that arrive in the morning. That leaves us with plenty of time to check into the hotel and jump straight into the city. We landed in Madrid first. And boy were we anxious to see and absorb everything. But first, we were hungry. After walking around a bit, we settled on Museo de Jamon in the Plaza Mayor. There are several locations of this place but this was closest to where we were at the moment. Besides, it was a beautiful day out and we wanted to sit outside. Also, we were a group of 7 at this point so we had to pick places that would work with a bigger group.

After looking over the menu (which was presented in both English and Spanish with lots of pictures too), we ordered a bunch to quench our growling stomachs. First, the jamon. My first taste of this black footed acorn fed pig. Oh yeah, this is very good ham. Thinly sliced by hand with a deep rich flavor and marbled fat all around. The flavor is almost earthy and pungent but not in any offensive way. Below is a plate of a variety of jamon that's offered including iberico and serrano.
We also ordered some anchoas fritas (fried anchovies) that came crispy and light. A good squeeze of the lemon and this dish was set. Fresh and delicious. Eat them like french fries but they're so much better. Bones, tails, and all. Eat them whole.
We needed more meat so chorizo was also ordered. Bright red paprika stained pork sausages served in hot oil. Save that bread for this oil. Dip and grab a piece of sausage. Really good food so far.
And tocino frito (fried bacon). Because, why not? We're on vacation so diets aren't a concern here. Deep fried nuggets of pork belly. Layers of meat and fat cooked until crispy. Oh yeah, pork heaven.
We thought to be a little more healthy and ordered the jamón champiñones rellenos (ham stuffed mushrooms). But guess what? They're stuffed with ham! Hahaha! We soon found that it's pretty difficult to find lone vegetables in Spain. It's not a problem at this point. But a few days in and we were looking places to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. You've been warned. Anyway, these mushrooms, delicious as expected. Tender and filled with delicious pockets of ham goodness.
And a big ol pot of sauteed gambas al ajillo (shrimp with garlic). Plump little shrimp bathed in oil and garlic. Yes, save your bread for this as well. Sop up that delicious olive oil with the essence of shrimp.
And finally, a big plate of pulpo (octopus with potato). There's something that needs to be said about the Spanish and their incredible ability to cook octopus correctly. No rubbery pieces here. Just tender pieces of tentacles with the flavor of the ocean. If it's fishy, it's no good. Thankfully, that wasn't an issue here.
With a few beers in hand and lots of ham and other delicious plates, we were happy tourists. A very good beginning to our trip.

Museo del Jamón
Plaza Mayor, 18
28012 Madrid
+34 915 42 26 32


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