Great trip to Madrid (and Marrakech). We hit a lot of places in a short time, esp. all sorts of bars. Our Hotel Sieteislas on c/ Valverde was super convenient and the streetwalkers and sex shops just added an interesting dimension. The legendary Bar Cock was 5 min away so we started there early on the first nite. Nice bartender, classic cocktails. We went to another place a couple doors down (not Del Diego) where they offered lots of gin and had huge goblets of gin martinis (can't find the name of this place). We should have been charged happy hour prices but maybe by the time he waited on us, it was after 9PM. We walked to Las Tres Manolas by Opera and had a very nice fairly pricey meal. Split a pork/bacony app which was a little more fried than I wanted but very tasty. My steak was too rare for me (sorry, I'm a medium kinda gal) so they took it back and put it on another minute. T enjoyed his oxtail and our warm choc. cake w/ ice cream was excellent. As we walked around, we came across Ernie's, a 50's style bar/restaurant with nice people working, then into the Malasanã area for La Via Lactea/Milky Way which was jammed then my fave bar of the trip, Louie Louie where they played great garage rock and had cool posters and records everywhere. Fri. we started around the corner from the hotel at La Austriaca where T got good café con leche and they gave us tastes of cod cakes fresh out of the oven, good stuff. Donuts from the bakery next door were rubbery. I record shopped (Commercial, Babel, Bangladesh, Upbeat) and grabbed random bites then that nite we went out early to El Mercado de la Reina on Gran Via for a rosé and beer plus some snacks like fried potatoes that were just fair, decent octopus, good croquettes and a jamon sandwich. Very lively early in the evening which was nice. We saw a show at Excalibur by Nueva Numancia metro then back to the Tribunal area where it was jumping (selling beer on the street, something we don't see in Boston) for a stop at Groovie and more good 60's garage.
Sat. I walked toward Salamanca and stopped at a fancy pastry shop Vienna Capellanes on c/Genova where I had what may have been the best food of the trip, basically an eclair filled with chantilly cream. So good (http://www.vienacapellanes.com/). Walked thru Recoleta Park then over to meet T by La Latina where we had freezing cold beers at a place called Coto or Corco which was desperately needed after all the walking. We got a nice foie/apple/onion and ham/cheese toasts at La Carolla then stopped at El Tempranillo on Cava Baja for wine. That nite we took arobmadrid's suggestion for dinner at In Situ up the street from our hotel (beChic Loft Rest was also on our street) which was still quiet at 9PM. We split amazing duck ravioli and okay tuna, very well priced at about 11 and 14 euros. Then saw a show at the Wurlitzer Ballroom.
Sun. was El Rastro market for a short time (and a mediocre empanada) before heading off for a day trip to Toledo. We ended up at a place called El Almacen which wasn't so great, I've had squab and quail before but never with bones in every single bite. No fun and the marzipan candy isn't my favorite. That nite back in town was a stop at Olsen on c/ del Prado for a fancy cocktail and black vodka (since we'd been to the one in Buenos Aires last year), then a stop at the old swanky bar of the Hotel Wellington for a kir royale from a dour bartender, then to Acme on c/ Verlade for a mediocre at best toastie from nice people, then a show at the Wurlitzer and a stop at a kinda cool bar called Costello on c/ del Caballero de Garcia off Gran Via.
Mon. was a great pastry from the busy Mallorquina in Puerta del Sol then a run thru the Mercado San Miguel with a quick bite of calamari bruschetta then later a filling snack of churros dipped in choccolate at El Rincon de Madrid. Relaxed at Café La Paca by our hotel then another fancy dinner at El Senador at Plaza de la Marina Española 2 where I preferred the bar area. He cut us good sized pieces of torta with our wine and beer and also let us have a taste of the rice and blood sausage, I could have easily stopped then. We went into the very quiet dining room (no need for reservations) and stuffed ourselves with great grilled calamari and a decent suckling pig (Botin was booked that nite, probably should have gotten it there). T also had a plate of Serrano ham and some others which was very nice. They gave a nice taste of a fancy coffee after then it was off to Bajos de Arguelles where the bar we really wanted to go to, Lemmy, was closed. At the other end of the spectrum, we ended up at Del Diego by Bar Cock for a wonderful Pisco Sour and Vodka Fizz and thus ended the trip to Madrid. Whew.