World Tour: Johnna+Madrid

[ 2 ] March 25, 2011 |


Madrid was amazing.  I do not have to tell you that, it’s what made it amazing that makes the trip worth writing about.  Well, let’s see:  the flamenco dancing, Botin, the endless churros and chocolate, the list goes on and on.  It’s been over a decade since I visited Spain and needless to say, it was time for an upgrade on my memories of the place.  On the flight over, I made it a point to free my mind of any pre-existing Spain likes and dislikes, and I’m glad I did. On my first trip, I remember having a strong disdain for the food…on my second go round, I cannot say I share those same sentiments.  Despite the excessive use of pork on almost dish, olives and olive oil were common in the dining experience, which I adore.  By the end of the trip, I decided “the other white meat” (*pork) would need a rest but the memories spent with it and Spain would be very fond.


On this trip, I paid more attention to restaurant names and styles of cuisine.  One particular place I frequented during my stay, El Rincon de Esteban, served traditional Spanish fare with Oxtails, one of the highlights on the lunch specials (*I was surprised to see how close the texture and taste resembled that found typically in West Indian style dishes).  My favorite meal was a strong tie between Botin and Paradis Madrid


Botin is the rest haven for all things suckling pig and lamb.  The acclaimed world’s oldest restaurant had rows of baby pigs that had been roasted in the 100 year old oven waiting for every table to order.  This is the most tender cut of pork I have ever had in my life, this place truly can claim this title of the best suckling pork.  At Paradis, I decided on the deer which was cooked to medium, the chef’s here do not ask the age long American question:  How would you like it cooked?  Good idea, because I might have ruined this meal with my typical response:  medium well.  By the end of the trip, we found ourselves yearning for non-Spanish fare…what else do you turn to when in Europe (and this close to Italy?): Italian.  At Scacco Matto, we did not find the best service, but the bolognese dressed fettuccine more than made up for it.  We ended our last dinner with a cannoli that clearly was not a reminder of my time spent in Rome, but it did the trick.


Madrid has not changed much since my last visit, but I can truly say my palate has changed.  This trip I was able to appreciate the cuts of meats, cooking temperatures and “suckling pork”.  Will I return?  Only time (and the amount of United Airlines points I build up) will tell…but I do know one thing: I think on my next trip, I’ll go as a vegetarian.  Let’s see how I feel about the cuisine without my carnivorous ways…

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Category: Food.Fun.Stuff., Travels, World Tour

About the Author ()

Johnna French is a Harlem NY native with deep roots in Panama, Washington, DC and North Carolina. All four places have heavily influenced her life and the foods she loves today. After graduating Howard University School of Law and beginning her life as a young professional in the city she was led to start Johnna Knows Good Food in November 2007 to keep family, friends and colleagues updated on where to go and what to eat while dining in the nation’s capitol. French, who still practices law, leads a team of three writers to cover the ever expanding Washington, DC food scene. French has been featured in print and television, appearing in Washingtonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to various local TV affiliates including WUSA 9, FOX 5 DC and WJLA (ABC Affiliate) News Channel 8. During the 2016-2017 football season, Johnna aired on Comcast Sports Mid-Atlantic (CSN) show, Redskins Life, as the weekly tailgate host. Johnna is currently a regular contributor to the FOX Baltimore Weekend morning show.

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  1. Amanda says:

    Great post!

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