La Catapa Madrid, Spain

CATAPA4
“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy” Benjamin Franklin

Tapas are what you want when in Madrid. No need to book a  table at a fancy restaurant -there are plenty of great ones – but really, tapas are satisfying enough and often times much more fun. It’s all about sharing small portions of whatever the bar serves and most offer great dishes that pair really well with a cold “caña” (small glass of draft beer) or a nice “chato de vino”, a small glass of wine.CATAPA3

On a warm tueday night last august, half of Madrid had gone on vacation. Many restaurants and bars were  closed . Fortunately, in the barrio de Ibiza,  near the Retiro park and Salamanca, a few were still open like  La Catapa on an otherwise boring weeknight. Packed with patrons, as if no one had to work the next day, this small eatery was bustling with people while a petite waitress ran around tables ensuring everyone was well served, the chef also comes out to check on his happy crowd. Another fun spot for tapas and drinks in Madrid.CATAPA1

We ordered the tortilla de bacalao…a freshly made omelet oozing with sauteed salted cod, onions and green peppers served with plenty of country bread…a lovely combination that proved absolutely  satisfying.  We also had a nice salad of burrata drizzled with a basil vinagrette that was nicely chopped up for tapa convenience – when sharing you want to have bite size pieces on your plate for easy serving. 

I thank God for places like this one that make a tuesday night a little more special, breaking away from the sleepy routine of a hot summer weeknight in Madrid. 

La CatapaCATAPA5

Calle Menorca 14

Madrid 28009

Tel. 686143823

91574615

tabernalacatapa@yahoo.es

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Ensalada de Ventresca- Café Emma, Barcelona

ventrescaI took an early flight to Barcelona and  was starving by the time I arrived. As soon as I dropped off my stuff off at the hotel, I went anxiously searching for a good place to eat but I knew it wouldn’t be easy. In Spain, most people have lunch around  2 pm so  at noon, I knew  the options would be few and far between. Luckily, I spotted an older woman who looked liked a local and asked her where to go.  She kindly recommended a small brasserie called Cafe Emma down the street on Career de Pau Claris. So, I followed her suggestion and headed for what  happened to be a  very cute eatery named just like my daughter. It was bound to be good!

As I ordered a small caña ( glass of draft beer), I was served some toast and sardine mousse made with mustard and tarragon, slightly pungent yet smooth enough to pair well with the ice cold  beer. On the menu,  I chose one of my favorite salads – ensalada de ventresca which could easily be compared to a Niçoise but, in this Spanish version, the key element is the tuna belly or ventresca. This salad is served with black olives, onions,tomatoes, sliced boiled potatoes,  hard boiled egg and scallions. All dressed with a mild combination of white wine mustard, olive oil and tarragon. Trust me, once you try ventresca, you’ll never want any other kind of tuna. 

Cafe Emma

Carrer de Pau Claris, 142,

08009 Barcelona

Phone:932 15 12 16

Hours · 8:00 am – 12:30 am

http://www.cafe-emma.com