A real delight in Madrid is to drop into any bar and order a drink. Before you know it a small plate of something gets delivered as well. It is the little freebie each place sends you as a little thank you for stopping in and also maybe a little advertising of the food available on the menu.
Some places offered just a few little bullet-shaped crackers and chorizo sausage slices. This seemed the default tapa, offered when the good stuff wasn’t ready yet, or perhaps at the less food-oriented places. Several places gave us this standard. But many others had elaborate little plates with pasta and interesting sauces or baccalao salt cod deep fried and luscious or something with a variety of silky beans with toast. We often handled lunch easily this way by hopping from bar to bar and sampling the tapa of the day at each. One way I kept my head about me with the alcohol was to have the Spanish specialty of beer cut in half with lemonade. I love this light, refreshing drink!
Madrid’s little tapas bars are just a delight. The area right near the Prado, where we stayed, is full of fun and friendly little joints in which to poke around. If you find yourself there make time for it.
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