Tuesday, June 19, 2012

expensive tapas on the Calle Cava Baja

It's not often I can afford to eat expensive food. Thanks to an MIT Class of 2013 (yea, they have a website, what now), the 2013s in Madrid went out for expensive (and yummy!) tapas!

We went to the Casa Lucas on the tourist-famous-Calle-de-la-Cava-Baja and met at 9pm:

At 9 it wasn't crowded, but at about 10pm the bar got super crowded (good thing we had a table!).

We had four tapas dishes:
  1. ensalada (salad) - with tomato, oregano, and goat cheese. Not your typical Italian salad, since the goat cheese was super filling!
  2. calamares (calamari) - wrapped in bacon, fried, mixed with squid ink. The waiter placed the plate of calamari in front of us, cut it up, and mixed the ink in with it. The calamari were a faint orange color before he mixed the ink in, after which they were covered in a layer of blue-black sauce. 
  3. Arroz cremoso (creamy rice) - rice in a creamy sauce, mixed with duck foie and a poached egg. The waiter (after letting Evelin take a spoon without the foie) mixed in the foie and poached egg to make a rich and creamy portion of rice (pictured in the middle of the table below). 
  4. rabo de toro (ox tail) - the most tender meat you've ever had, doused in a creamy sauce and mashed potatoes. No bone!
And a bottle of wine, vino roija of which I don't remember the name other than it was from Enólogo

And all of us were super happy and satisfied that the entire meal (and wine) had cost us 6 euros each, thanks to the subsidy from the class council!
(photo credit to the waiter, thanks Sophie!)
In order, left to right: Sophie, Cristina, Lucas, Carlos, Michele, Evelin

A note about the Calle Cava Baja and tapas on this street. This street is famous in tourist guide books as being a street only filled with dive bars, tapas bars, taverns, and the like. Standing outside of the Casa Lucas for a few minutes waiting for my companions I observed the clientele along this street. It was all tourists - I didn't even hear any Spanish, while I heard English with all brands of accents (American, Scottish, Irish, British), French, and German. I realized that this street was made purely for the tourists - it was too pricey for the depression-hit madrileños - and that it wasn't an "authentic" tapas experience when every two seconds on the street you hear someone saying "is this the street with all the tahpahs?" (The word tapas is actually pronounced "ta-pas", somewhere between rhyming with "hummus" and "uppers").

Regardless of the modernity of the choice of tapas and the touristy-ness of the street, the food was yummy, the wine was flavorful, and the company was good, so we all had a great time!

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