Give me a break, give me a break, break me off a piece of that bocadillo…and give it to someone else because my stomach might turn on me if I feed it another sandwich meant for a family of four. I hope everyone is familiar with the Kit-Kat bar jingle. In any case, suffice it to say that I have consumed, enjoyed, even delighted in my fair share of starchy, cheesy goodness, but there’s only so much a girl can handle! Being a pescatarian complicates matters even more, typically leaving me with only a couple of options, at least in the way of Spain’s trusty bocadillos (essentially a long sandwich made by cutting a baguette in half and filling it with meat, cheese, and/or veggies). I’m doing my best to integrate myself into Spanish culture, but I can’t claim that I haven’t had moments of weakness. Take the time, for example, I spent 8 euros (that’s over $10) on a jar of peanut butter (worth it). Or, the time I spent 45 minutes in the grocery store searching for hummus (worth it). I can’t forget the time I literally shrieked when I saw a Thai restaurant down the street from my class in the Prado museum (worth the awkward stares of passersby).
In spite of my hard-to-break eating habits, I have been taking strides towards Spanish cuisine bliss—well, the poor college student version of Spanish cuisine bliss. I found one restaurant in Chueca, a trendy neighborhood in Madrid home to a plethora of bars, eats, and shopping. Three friends and I strolled in around 10:45, late even for a Madrileño, and immediately ordered some appetizers and a bottle of red wine. We were offered bread and water (Warning: Despite how generous this inquiry might sound, you will have to pay for each separately), and each ordered a large meal. My ravioli with gambas (prawns) was creamy, rich, and delicious—perhaps not quintessential Spanish cuisine, but it had to do! The most daunting part of any dining excursion in Spain, of course, is the bill—given the trendy atmosphere of Bazaar, we all sort of ignored the prices. But—lo and behold!—my share came out to a mere 10 euro—the same cost as my peanut butter!
As much as I miss my local supermarket, being tired of some of the food here has forced me to explore new neighborhoods and see more of Madrid’s hidden pleasures. I can’t promise that I won’t break the bank every once in a while, and I can’t promise that I’ll give up my peanut butter (nobody wants to see me without a peanut butter supply), but I can promise that I’ll try the best (pescatarian) food Madrid has to offer!