On our first night in Madrid we joined Samuel's host family where he had spent the previous 10 days in school. Ana and Pedro have three wonderful sons: Pedro, who was Sam's age, Ramon and Fernando, who at age 11 definitely has a future as a gourmand.
They asked us to join them at Platea which was a large movie theater that has been converted into a restaurant-like mall. We went down to the lower level which was much quieter than the upper level where people roam around and grab bites of many types of foods from all over the world.
As we sat down the empanada lady approached showing her wares 's and you get to choose which empanadas you might wish to eat, but we were not ready for that and held off until later.
White wine came first in the form of an Albarino from Mar de Frades in Riax Baixas, which Ana adores as she is from nearby Galicia in the northwest. Our red was Matarromera Crianza made from Tempranillo grapes 2014 from Ribera del Duero, where we would be going the next day for a wine tasting with them as well. Indeed this wonderful family took us under their wings and gave us an entire weekend of touring in the region around the capital.
We ordered many dishes and shared them all as the kids ordered pasta and burgers and such, but Fernando was thrilled to taste everything that we ordered.
Pulpo a la brasa was a huge octopus tentacle presented whole after grilling with alot of paprika and sauteed potatoes on the side. We discovered at future restaurants that this is the way they serve the octopus in Madrid and you are expected to slice it yourself. By doing so you can make the slices quite thin and hence extremely tender.
Croqettas de Jamon were crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside with oozy ham and cheese.
Ceviche Mixto was Perivian style with large corn and the Tartar de Atun was a superb chunky tuna with yuzu.
The highlight dish was Anticuchos classicos de Corazon de ternera con patatas fritos which were 3 huge grilled skewers of beef hearts that were seasoned to perfection and so tender they resembled sirloin or filet!
At several points during the meal a gentleman who was topless came over and grabbed a thick rope at the center of the room and started climbing up it a la Cirque de Soleil.
It was a lot of fun for everyone and then there was also a band playing on the stage one floor above us where we stopped to enjoy some Beatles classics on the way out.
We knew that we would have several more meals with our wonderful new friends and family and this was an amazing start to an amazing week in Madrid.