Recently, another TA poster told me that she had had a wonderful visit to Madrid. Everything was so delicious! She even found some time to drop in and see Picasso’s “Guernica” at the Reina Sofia.
“Don’t tell anyone on TA Madrid but I was really there to eat so I skipped the Prado. I know they wouldn’t approve…”
“Approve? But it’s YOUR trip and you should do it the way you want” is what I told her. Everyone has their own special interests and TA is supposed to be a forum for travel advice, not peer pressure.
In June, my 12yo son and I visited Madrid briefly to eat well and see a few museums. I would’ve liked to spend more time appreciating the art but 12 yo boys develop the strangest ‘allergies’ and my son says he is allergic to nuts and art, LOL! I give him the latter in small doses and keep hoping that he develops a ‘tolerance’.
We took the Airport Express to O’Donnell and walked only 500 metres to lunch at El Fogón de Trifón. I had done exhaustive research on rabo de toro and finally decided to take a chance on a restaurant that is unmentioned on TA but apparently well-respected by the Spanish press. It was also the only Madrid restaurant featured on Annie Sibonney’s highly-acclaimed TV series “From Spain With Love”. When I asked my hotel to make a reservation for us, that episode had not aired yet in Canada and I had no clue that my gastronomic gambit would pay off! Thanks again to Señor Garabán at Hotel Europa for taking care of us. And thanks to Revulgo for taking the time to make other recommendations.
The wine bar in the front room of the restaurant was getting busy and the small dining room was fully reserved. Señor Trifón himself greeted us with a wide smile and strong handshake. He knew that we had come a long way to see him and he was pleased. A showman in the traditional sense, his restaurant is his ‘stage’ and his customers, his audience. He obviously loves the limelight as he’s made a few cooking videos which I had previewed on 11870.com. On a weekday, the little restaurant was full of locals and regulars, including several tables of Madrid businessmen.
I made sure my son got his veggies first. We enjoyed the small tumbler of refreshing gazpacho and devoured a tomato salad with bonito belly. Next we inhaled a dish of baby squid with carmelized onions. Finally, we EACH had our own portion of rabo de toro. It was THAT good. Normally we try to order different dishes and share but I knew that Gigi wasn’t going to share with me! For dessert, I wanted to try Señor Trifón’s cheesecake. I’m not a cheesecake fan at all but I had seen him prepare this one on “From Spain With Love” and I was curious.
I wish I had NEVER tasted that cheesecake.
And I will never eat another North American cheesecake again! If I do, it will not be the kind with fruit on top! El Fogón de Trifón’s cheesecake was made with fresh cream cheese, NOT baked, then topped with a dulce made from honey, vanilla and green olives! And served with a slash of balsamic vinegar! It was heaven on earth.
And that was all before we even checked into the hotel! More of our 1st day to come…