Food Face-Off: Spanish v. Mexican

From SU Madrid student Caitlin Dewey’s blog.

Spanish Food

I think a lot of people come to Spain with the (grave) misconception that Spanish and Mexican foods are more or less one and the same. Not only is that untrue — have you ever seen me blog about a burrito? — it can also be pretty hard to find Mexican food in Madrid. Which, at times, is problematic.

Yesterday afternoon for instance, Meredith and I decided we’d go for margaritas after our phonetics exam. Our professor’s name is Margarita, and she’s fond of using this weird, self-referential speech mechanism wherein she’ll explain something and then pretend to be a student with a question, i.e. “blah blah blah — pero Margarita, ¿por quéeeee?”

So post-exam margaritas were obviously in order. After hauling out to Plaza de España, however, and discovering that our selected Mexican restaurant did not in fact exist, we were forced to improvise a little. And by improvise, I mean wander-into-the-most-cheesily-decorated-Latin-American-restaurant-within-a-five-mile-radius.

This, amigos, brings us to La Llama, perhaps the best lunch decision Meredith and I have ever made.

For starters, it’s called La Llama — please allow that comedy to sink in — and decorated with paper streamers and all kinds of knick-knacks from Peru. The waitress was perhaps the nicest lady ever. And the food was awesome: Meredith had some kind of baked chicken thing (you’ll recall she’s a vegetarian, so that didn’t go over very well) and I had pork chops with mango sauce.

Our food also came with a incredible (fattening?) array of carbohydrates: bread, rice, French fries, papas rellenas … all in all, a lot of stuff for less than 10 euros. AND it was my first time trying Peruvian food, which was definitely pretty cool.

Sadly, this did mean that Meredith and I had to put off our margaritas until around 10, when we accidentally chanced upon a Mexican restaurant in Chueca. Fifteen euro will buy you a pitcher of really good margaritas, which is enough to prompt a series of embarassing interactions with Spanish men in the metro.

Yeah, it’s definitely a good thing we couldn’t find margaritas at lunch time.

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