Friday, December 24, 2010
Madrid: Taqueria Del Alamillo
Ricky went off to his grandparents last night, and dinner was up to us. Ana and I were kind of tired, because the whole getting rid of everything scene we are in is kind of stressful - there is a feeling that we are moving too slow, that it will never actually get done, that we are not going to be able to be ready when the time comes to leave. And there is the actual work, which is no fun at all.
The weather turned cold, and going out did not seem appealing. Staying in was not doing it for me, though, and I have been wanting Mexican food for weeks, but for one reason or another, we have not been able to get there. Last time, we drove out to the restaurant, found no parking in the area, and wound up going elsewhere. This time would be different.
We drove off and went to the pharmacy, where we picked up some of the medicines we had ordered. Yesterday was very productive in this regard. We were able to pretty much finalize our traveling medicine cabinet, and now we can start taking some anti-cholera vaccine. In Spain, if the pharmacy does not have something in stock, they tell you to come back later in the day to pick it up. So we did that. Then, having learned from our abortive attempt to drive to the restaurant last week, we found parking near a metro stop that was on the same line as the restaurant.
Now, Ana had been very reluctant to go out last night. She actually had not wanted to at all. But she went, because I wanted to. I appreciate that, greatly.
We got to the restaurant a little before 8:30. It was open, but only one table was occupied. We did not have a reservation. Ana had called, but they could only put us on the wait list. It's all but impossible to get a reservation here, especially at this time of year. All of December has been booked for more than a month, and last week they would not even put on the the wait list. We were greeted in a friendly and familiar manner, and then the hostess, Rita, told us that she did not have anything. Then she examined her book again, and said she had one table, and we could have it but it was reserved for 10 p.m. That was fine with us.
The restaurant is decorated in a traditional Mexican style, and there are paintings on the walls and many small items all around, giving the place a festive look. The staff is extraordinary. They are very welcoming, they greet you like an old friend. Many Spanish restaurants are either an extremely informal place where you stand at the bar or a very stiff, formal environment with either old, professional waiters, or youthful, supercool staff, neither of whch are particularly warm.
There are chips and salsa on the tables when we sit down. Ana asked for some additional spicy salsas, and they were quickly brought, along with margaritas. I ordered the ternera arrieta tacos con queso, while Ana opted for the pozole. We also got guacamole.
We drank our drinks and ate our salsa and chips and guacamole and we were able to relax and enjoy ourselves. The guacamole was terrific, so were the salsas. The margaritas were strong and tasty. When the food came, I was very happy. My three tacos had spicy, tasty bits of beef, well-marinated and with cheese. There was a large jalapeno served with it, which I cut up and put into the tacos. It was so good. I was so happy. I ate it without stopping to chew, I think. Ana's pozole, which is a Mexican stew, was good for the cold night. It was, though, not as good as the pozole which our friend Concepcion makes in Los Angeles.
This restaurant is so good, and so reasonably priced, it is amazing. It is really hard to go here during the winter, because the outdoor seating, which is probably 40 percent of the restaurant's space, is not available, so it is smaller and very hard to get space in. But it is so worth it. Our bill, for the guacamole, tacos, pozole, two margaritas, and a beer, totaled 41 euros. And when the check came, it was brought along with shots of tequila.
It was a good meal. I have scratched the itch. We may not make it back here again before we leave, but we will certainly come back here when we return to Spain.
Taqueria Del Alamillo, Plaza Del Alamillo, 8. Located near the La Latina metro stop. 91 364 2088. Closed Mondays.