Sunday, July 31, 2011


Work work work. Sometimes after a long day of linen sales, you just want to relax with the paper.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Keeping Cool.

But how do you decide with so many choices?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Madrid Meringue

While DC and the rest of the US have fallen prey to the wave of cupcakeries that have engulfed America over the past few years, Madrid is a relatively cupcake-free city.

Rather, these beautiful meringues (in flavors like coffee or strawberry) are readily available. Fortunately for all involved, I've yet to hear about a reality TV show that follows the trials and triumphs of meringue cooks.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


The city continues to charm with its wonderful and sometimes confusing mix of styles and design. Why is this apartment building topped with a tower that contains arches, byzantine tiles and a floppy hatted dome reminiscent of something from the Caucasus or Russia?

I suppose if I actually knew anything at all about what I was talking about, that might help clear matters up a bit.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

What Would Homer Do?

I tried to order a doughnut for breakfast, but the bartender just looked at me confused for a moment. I repeated it and then explained that I didn't know the Spanish word for doughnut but I made the shape of a round thing with my hands and said simply, con chocolate.

Aha! The bartender quickly returned with a small plate and my desired chocolate doughnut. He explained that the word for doughnut in Spanish is doughnut, but it is pronounced with the T silent, as in doe-new.

I'll know better next time.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Bomb.

At an antique shop, talking with the elderly proprietor (in Spanish):

Excuse me ma'am, how much does that bomb cost?

The bomb is 100 euro, but it is on sale for 60 euro.

Oh, I see. Thank you.

(Note: This was not a translation error. This antique shop full of all kinds of over-priced junk included a foot-long, fin-tailed unexploded munition. Aside from being much more expensive than I thought a piece of rusting metal should be, I did not purchase this unexploded ordinance precisely because it was an unexploded ordinance. It was not disarmed, or defused. It was very likely a dud, but it still had the potential to harm people. So, we walked away from the bomb and thanked the store owner for her time. End Note.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


For anyone who has visited or lived in Spain, it comes as no surprise to hear that it is a country that takes its meat very seriously. Entire aisles at the grocery store are dedicated to differing cuts of cured ham. And it's almost impossible to avoid the rows of dangling jamon iberico, huge legs of the specially bred and fed pigs that have become famous worldwide.

Along with all of these specialized types of meats come specialized butchers who excel in carefully slicing the thinnest and lightest bits of marbled cured ham.

But then again, for every job there is the right tool and we can't all be samurai jamon masters of the buttery smooth slice.

Monday, July 18, 2011


In Madrid, the store called FOREVER YOUNG exclusively sells men's leather shoes, rather than what I assumed would be sold there; clothes for women in their 20's and 30's who want to believe that they are still in high school. Either that or maybe a store for huge fans of Alphaville's 1984 hit.

The whole thing is very confusing.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

On Display.

Yes, a beautiful display, but notice two things: 8.80 Euro per kilo? That's about $6 per lb. Also, who was the poor guy that had to stack every single on of those cherries?

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Come learn exciting new English phrases like "Jazz up your English" and "Stay fresh cool daddies!" Everyone you know will think your English is the cat's meow.

Friday, July 15, 2011

By the Gallon.

Several months ago while visiting my sister in New York, we were over in Brooklyn and stumbled upon the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. I enjoy Dave Eggers' writing and really like his series of non-profit tutoring and writing centers around the country, so we figured we'd take a look.

At the New York store, part of the decor included these gallon paint jars filled with super powers for heroes and villains.

Last week in Madrid while wandering around our new neighborhood I spotted these in the window of some high-end clothing store.

I don't know what the metric conversion for fashion to vengeance is, but the concept (at least in window display design) has made its way across the ocean.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I've never lived in Europe before, and this is my first time even visiting southern Europe. After just a few short weeks it's easy to forget just how beautiful Madrid is. Maybe not forget, but take for granted that around every corner one is likely to bump into an old palace or fountain or simply beautiful apartment buildings.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


For the love of Gout! Sounds more like a strange way to swear about things than the label from a mustard jar.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Of Course.

The Luxembourg Embassy in Madrid is literally located above a Tiffany & Co jewelry store.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Open Letter.

To the young couple passionately making out against a BMW:


I see that you've decided to grope each other while leaning up against a BMW parked in my neighborhood. Is this your vehicle? Are you aware that the parking meter rates in this part of town are outrageous?

I've also noticed that you happen to be in front of Miu Miu store, is this coincidence or were your passions inflamed by the sight of high-end luxury goods produced by a sub-brand of Prada?

Here's the thing. I certainly can appreciate young love, or even just lust. And I understand that these feelings can sometimes lead to foggy decision making; but it is currently seven in the morning on a weekday. Are you just now concluding last evenings revelries? Do you not have jobs or school to attend today?

Also, I've noticed that the gentleman's hand is up the ladies dress and his face is pressed into her chest. Once again, I'd like to mention that it is seven in the morning on a weekday and you are in front of a fancy store in a busy shopping district.

Finally, it seems that your two friends are standing three feet away from you, bored and smoking (breakfast?) cigarettes. Do you think that your actions might be a bit inconsiderate to your friends? Perhaps they would like to get an espresso or maybe even head home for sleep? Are these the owners of the car your are using as a makeshift vertical bed for your amorous embraces?

Just wanted to say hello and I hope you've had an enjoyable evening/morning.

See you around the neighborhood,


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Without a Name.

We were at a neighborhood bar having a late afternoon lunch and I saw the bartender mixing draft beer with lemon Fanta. I asked him (in Spanish) what the mix of beer and Fanta was called. He said, "Oh this? This is just a mix of beer and lemon Fanta."

Fair enough.

I asked him for my own glass. It was delicious.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It's What Counts.

We ate hamburgers to celebrate the 4th of July. Mine came with a lovely little grilled onion marmalade and thick cut slices of brie. My heart was in the right place, but my stomach was eating a deliciously European brie-cheese burger.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Now, there was something I was supposed to do today, but what the hell was it?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fine Arts.

And I call this next piece, 'Why are you being such a big baby?'

El Sabor

I asked the waiter for a Fanta, but he said all they had was this:

I was doubtful, but thirsty enough not to care. By the time I was done with the can I was a convert. Lookout Fanta, I've moved onto to a new drink, Schweppes Naranja!

(This has been an unpaid advertisement for Schweppes Naranja. Try all of the delicious flavors -yes, even including dry grape ginger ale- of Schweppes at a store near you now. Now!)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

On the Way Down.

Retiro Park, the large open green area in Madrid akin to Central Park in NYC, contains quite a few fountains including one that is known as the fountain of El Angel Caido, the Fallen Angel.

Many folks believe that the fallen angel is a depiction of Lucifer at the moment he has been cast from heaven. Some go as far as saying that this fountain is a monument to the devil, but I'm guessing with the Catholic tradition of Spain, it is much more of a warning about what awaits in hell.

Just take a look at these water spewing gargoyles awaiting the angel at the base of the fountain. They do not seem to be the most welcoming group to greet the fallen angel that will presumably be their new boss.