shday7: madrileña verjaarsdag.

Our hotel room door. Birthday breakfast. Post-Prado Buen Retiro. Pre-dinner snack at Ultramarinos Quintin, which ended up being one of Nelson's food highlights of the trip: an unpictured smoked pear soup, served cool and frothy, almost like a milkshake; and this (pictured) salad of mango, hearts of palm and white asparagus and pomegranate, totally surprising in every bite.

Then a cab to Bodega de los Secretos for what would hopefully be a just-unusual-enough birthday dinner. In the end it was probably just about that: featuring the variably pleasant smell of centuries-old underground brick, a revolver from the 1936 Spanish Revolution because revolutionaries used to hide out in these cellars, and I guess pretty good overall cave-y ambiance if I do say so myself, despite a slightly-too-short loop of late-era Van Morrison. Into our mouths went a goat cheese and apple salad, a trio of steak tartare (wasabi, truffle, and anchovy), a mushroom risotto, a colorful ravioli the details of which elude me, and a very good Tempranillo which I uncharacteristically managed to remember the name of. And thankfully excellent torrijas for dessert (not pictured).

Oh and then we watched a couple hours of karaoke and drank icy-cold Mahou while we digested. I was thiiiiiis close to trying some Prince.

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