After settling into my hotel, I went out to buy some last minute gifts. I headed toward the Puerta del Sol, the plaza that is the heart of the city. But the Puerta del Sol was impassable because they were having a huge rally against cruelty to bulls. The issue of outlawing bullfighting is a very controversial topic in Spain. I can see both sides of the argument, but I tend to be more on the anti-bullfighting side. However the speaker at the rally was screeching at the top of her lungs. She was so annoying that it almost made me want to tell her to "shut up".
I detoured around the plaza and by six o'clock I had finished my shopping. I had not eaten since breakfast so I hungry. But it was way too early for supper. In Spain most restaurants don't even reopen until 8:30 or 9:00 PM. And then right in front of me there it was... "El Museo del Jamón" (The Museum of Ham). "El Museo del Jamón" is a chain of shops in Madrid that sells (what else?) ham, but it is also a restaurant. You are not going to get a gourmet meal here, but if you're in the mood for ham, it's a great place for a light meal.
I mentioned in a previous post the "jamón ibérico de bellota"... made from free-range pigs that have a diet of acorns. It's very expensive. As you can see from the sign, it costs 30 euros per kilo... or about 15 dollars per pound. It always amazes Americans when they see the hams hanging from the ceiling unrefrigerated. Notice also the cones attached at the bottoms to catch any drippings.
Much less expensive, but still tastier than the ham in the United States is "jamón serrano".
The stand-up bar (where you eat more cheaply) was jammed with people, both locals and tourists. I went upstairs to the dining room which was fairly crowded also. I have not eaten many vegetables on the trip so I ordered the Iberian salad.
The salad featured a couple rounds of Spanish cheese (I don't know what kind of cheese it was, but it was tasty) and several slices of "jamón ibérico."
I was thinking about ordering dessert, but then I remembered... my favorite pastry shop was just down the street!
"La Mallorquina" has been selling sweet treats on the Puerta del Sol since 1894. Fortunately the rally on the plaza was over... but it seemed as if everyone went to the pastry shop afterwards! It was even more jammed than "El Museo del Jamón"! But I made my way through the crowd and ordered a chocolate "Napolitana". Yum!!!!