Monday, March 29, 2010

Madrid: Mad about Mallorquina

One of the most important missions when you arrive in a strange city after 22 hours of jet-lagging travel, is the hunt for coffee. I'd done only some cursory research on the topic for Madrid and found a place called Cafe Mexicana, which sounded promising. But when we walked up calle Preciados from the Puerta del Sol to find it, we discovered that they sold coffee-- by the pound only. Along with cute French presses. I gave my Omnivore only a passing look of superiority... I had wanted to haul along the French press but had been voted down. It's true we didn't need to haul along our entire kitchen on this trip, but dang, that first cuppa Joe in the morning is really key.

Anyway, I digress. We needed another option.

I had had a rec for pastelerias in the area, although opinion was divided as to whether the ones close to Puerta del Sol would be too touristy, but at this point we were a little desperate, so we pointed our feet towards La Mallorquina at the top of Calle Mayor on the Puerta del Sol.

And this is how our day started out just right.

Scores of happy looking people were exiting the establishment holding paper wrapped pastries in their hot little hands, and we wanted in.

Rich, thick chocolate served super hot and steaming, with a napolitana (essentially a croissant pastry) of jamon y queso. The queso, by the way, was oozingly soft and velvety, not unlike a creamy bechamel. The chocolate slides down your throat like silk. Absolutelybloominutely what I wanted.

So in Mallorquina, you can either join the throng at the counter (belly up wherever there's a space and catch the attention of one of the folks zipping around behind the counter) or you can just get a pastry para llevar (to go) from the zillions that they keep bringing out on hot trays-- chocolate napolitanas, Madrilenos, and torrijas. Hay torrijas.

Torrijas are a specialty of Semana Santa -- I don't know if they make them any other time of year, but they are delectable. Dense delicious bread soaked in milk and then covered in cinnamon and sugar and browned. Often they'll be served with a goodly dose of honey poured over them and they are completely addictive. Mallorquina had some good torrijas, although I think for my absolute fave I'd have to point you at Santiguesa, a pasteleria further down Calle Mayor. More on that in another post.

Anyway, back to the action behind the counter. Cafe con leche for my Omnivore, and a chocolate napolitana and hot chocolate for me plus something yummy, like torrijas. They have row upon row of pastries at the bar, so for the linguistically challenged tourist, you can just do the internationally understood, *holds up two fingers and points at desired item with other hand.*
Or you can just shout, "Por favor, chocolate y torrijas..."

La Mallorquina
Calle Mayor, 2
Metro: Sol

Chocolate and Torrijas: about €3

- Posted from my iPhone

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