Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Terra Mundi

I am that girl. I had a meltdown and threw a major hissy and just made a huge drama out of not having my needs met. But in my defense, it was a pretty basic need (in the developed world) - my internet wasn't working. My laptop just couldn't pick up the signal for my router, which is situated in my landlady/neighbour's apartment, while all of my roommates were blissfully connected.

I even cried (three times on the third day without connection). I was envisaging the rest of my stay here in Spain sans internet - how absolutely pathetic and sad I'd be - in between desperate gulps of air and sobs of "I don't expect to live in a mansion or any kind of luxurious setting! I just wanted my basic needs covered!!! But I had no hot water and no working toilet in France and now I have no internet in Spain! Why do things like this keep happening when I come live across the pond?!"

And so on.

So that was silly of me. But you're not here to judge me, are you? Of course you're not. Because it's Tuesday and that means I'm going to tell you about something yummy to eat!

In this week's edition of Tasty Tuesday, I invite you all to sample the fare of Galicia, the northwest region of Spain. Galician food is delicious. The thing that amuses me is that every part of Spain has its own unique cuisine and it seems like it's literally all good. All of it! The Spanish know how to eat well - clearly, I'm living in the right country.

I was first introduced to Galician good when I purchased a fragrant, savoury pastry from the supermarket for lunch. It was kind of like a flat meat pie and the smell emanating from the packet was just intoxicating. My colleague told me that that was an empanada, and empanadas originate from Galicia.

My lunch smelled so good that my co-worker asked for a bite, which I happily shared. But after taking a munch, she told me that it's not nearly as good as what I can get from a Galician restaurant, so I promptly consulted my library of Spain/Madrid travel guides to see where I could find one here.

I came across a restaurant with fairly decent ratings in the Huertas area called Terra Mundi. According to my guidebooks, the food is good and they have a very good menú del día, so I decided to give the place a visit on a weekend with my friend, before we visited the Museo del Prado for free.

The weekend menú del día was 12 €, which is about average - on weekdays they're usually about 10 €. It consists of a choice of a first course, a choice of a second, plus a drink (half a bottle of wine was an option!), bread and dessert. Awesome.

We decided to get a menú del día as well as an order of assorted empanadas, which cost about 8-9 €, in order to sample a larger variety of food.

The empanadas, unfortunately, were kind of disappointing, especially since they were my original inspiration for visiting the restaurant in the first place. They were very thin (which is markedly different from the authentic Galician empanada my Galician roommate brought back from home), with very little filling.  The fillings were dry, and the ones with fish tasted quite fishy.  The spinach one and the meat ones were alright, however.  All in all not worth what they cost.

For our menú del día, we agreed on rice for the first course, ribs for the second course, some kind of chocolate pie/cake for dessert and white wine for our drink.

The setting of the table and the décor of the restaurant were charming. The bread was crusty and soft, the wine was good - and there was a lot of it! :D

The rice was cooked with saffron, and it was made well (i.e. moist but dry enough to have distinct grains, as opposed to mushy or swimming in watery sauce). It had little bits of calamari in it, which was heavenly, and it was served with a generous spoonful of sour cream. Yum!

The main course (pictured at the beginning of the post) - well, that was sooo good. The sauce tasted kind of like North American barbecue sauce, but sweeter, kind of like a fruity glaze. The meat fell off the bones! It was so juicy, tender and flavourful. I kind of wished I wasn't sharing when I was eating the ribs. :P The fries were...you know, normal. Not spectacular but nothing wrong with them. The peppers were good. Something interesting to note is that eating those is like playing Russian roulette. I've read somewhere that one in every 20 or so are mercilessly hot, while the rest are perfectly mild. We lucked out that day and we were both fine. :P

The dessert was good. The chocolate ganache was creamy and rich, and the chocolate was pretty good quality. There was a layer of mushy cake between the ganache and the sweet custard middle, then another layer of mushy cake. We were happy with this.

So we were quite pleased with the menú del día!  The food was great and it was a very good value. And if you go on a week day, which we can't do because we work, it's even cheaper!  But skip the empanadas here. :P

Terra Mundi
Calle de Lope de Vega, 32
28014 Madrid, Spain
914 296 380

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