Tag Archives: callos a la Madrileña

Manila musings

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Fort Santiago in Intramuros

A recent visit to Mardid made me think of my trip to Manila back in June. Interestingly, just like Madrid, Manila – known then as Maynila – used to be a Muslim settlement until Spanish general Miguel López de Legazpi paid a visit to local ruler Rajah Sulayman in 1571 and established a colonial city. History of the Philippines from that point on was aptly described by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stanley Karnow as “300 years in a Catholic convent, and 50 years in Hollywood.” He brilliantly spells out the details of Spain’s three centuries long dominion over the archipelago and America’s foray into a colonial adventure there in his book In Our Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines.

Even though I had never been to the Philippines before, Manila filled me with a strange sensation of multiple dimensions of déjà vu. First, there is the Spanish influence over architecture, especially in the historic district of Intramuros. Looking at the Manila Cathedral I had to pinch myself and kept repeating: “I’m not in Mexico, I’m not in Mexico.” Incidentally, during the Spanish colonial period that’s where the Philippines were administered from rather than by Spain proper. The Manila-Acapulco galleon trade route brought Far East riches to the Americas and flourished from 1571 until 1815, ended by the Mexican War of Independence. Read the rest of this entry

Life Madrid-style

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Taberna Alhambra

After visiting Spanish speaking and influenced countries going to Madrid felt like finally coming to the source. Just like all major Spanish roads radiate out from km O at Puerta del Sol to various corners of the country, the influence of Spanish language, food, music, and culture has stretched across the globe through the ages, from Peru to the Philippines.

Madrid surprised me. With its 3 million inhabitants I was expecting a crazy, bustling city – which it was in some respects – but above all Madrid struck me by how walkable and peaceful it is. Strolling through narrow streets around Plaza Mayor, Plaza Santa Ana, or La Latina in an endless hunt for tapas & vino is an almost spiritual experience. Enjoying great bacalao (cod) at Casa Labra, sampling traditional callos a la Madrileña (tripe stew) in Casa Alberto (tavern founded in 1827 in a building where Cervantes used to live), sipping Riojas and Riberas at Taberna Alhambra, ending the night at San Ginés Chocolateria with chocolate con churros – those are moments to cherish. Read the rest of this entry