Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: El Tigre

"The FOOD, Tina!!! What about THE FOOD?!?!?!"

I've been receiving a lot of requests from people asking me to cover the yumminess going on here, and I must confess that I've been enjoying myself so much in that respect that I've been neglecting my blog; I almost always take care to take a camera with me, but my attitude of late has been Eat Now, Write Later.

So the good news is that you all don't have to worry because I have a ton of material to write about - so sorry for taking so long to do it, though!

Let me tell you about one of my absolute favourite joints here - the only other place I've been to more than twice besides La Mallorquina, my favourite bakery (which, yes, I'll get around to writing about and which has devastated me by taking a break for August, like many businesses here) - El Tigre.

El Tigre is something of a local legend, a place I've read all about before coming here, not in guidebooks but in forums and blogs - i.e. where Real People actually voice their opinions. This little establishment has legions of fans from all over the world, and deservedly so, because of two, simple words: FREE TAPAS.

Down in Andalucía, especially in Granada, free tapas with drinks are pretty standard, but in Madrid, they're not a given at every bar, which is what makes this place so awesome.

With every drink you purchase, you get a heaping plate of various tapas - I've had cured ham on bread, fried calamari, cured cheese, paella (not just rice but with bits of calamari in it), croquettes (which I don't love but many people do), smoked pork loin, patatas bravas (fried potatoes with hot sauce)... YUM!!!

I've found that smiling sweetly at the bartenders with pretty friends produces even better results (or getting pretty friends to order for you - Spaniards love blondes). My friends and I are often stuffed to the brim every time we walk out of there.

The drinks are generally pretty affordable, and considering you're basically getting a whole meal out of it, it's a great deal. Cañas (small glasses of beer) cost only 1 € and enormous cups of mojito or sangría cost 5 € (or 6 € during events, like Pride - see picture below).

At El Tigre, like many restaurants here, people can throw their garbage directly on the floor. That's why one of my co-workers told me that the messier the floor of an eatery, the better the place is. Using that as a benchmark, El Tigre is pretty wonderful.

Now, it's not The Best Quality Tapas You'll Ever Eat, but it's super affordable, which is why it attracts a lot of young people - that's a huge plus for me because I work instead of go to school here, so I'm not around people my age all the time, and most students are home for the summer right now.

On the same street there's another bar well-known for giving out huge plates of free food, called El Respiro, but unfortunately, it was closed for the summer by the time I discovered it. I'm definitely going to try them out in September though, andI'll let you know how that goes. Meanwhile, I'll still be going to El Tigre every time I'm craving tapas*! :D

And check back every Tuesday for Tasty Tuesday, where I'll be showing you all the gastronomic delights I've had the pleasure to sample!

*Editor's note: I wrote this article a week in advance and I've since changed my mind. I recently made a charming friend who suggested a couple places that I MUST visit, so I'm going to hit those up, compare and contrast, and then pledge my loyalty to the best place(s). And of course, I'll be carefully documenting every experience so that I can tell you all about it. ;P

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