Don’t judge a book by its cover!

So we went for a lovely traditional Spanish meal at this little tourist trap place recommended by the Lonely Planet: La Bola Taberna. There is nothing more gratifying than a tourist trap that turns out to be just freaking fantastic!!! Just off a little side road, off the main road, too close to the palace for comfort, there were at least 2 Spaniards in this restaurant (always a good sign!). The one Spaniard, who sat across from us, reminisced how his dad used to cook food just like they serve here when he was a boy.

This place seems to be run by a group of old blokes and their wives, the men serving and the woman cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Old school (?) … they take only cash.

Husband had Madrileña style stew with pork, beef, and chicken, soaking in a broth they serve first as a soup, chickpeas, and cabbage. Still licking our lips.

I had Ropavieja, which the restaurant described as “cow meat from the stew, with refried pepper, onion, tomatoes and fried chickpeas.” Those little crunchy chickpeas on top were just the cherry on the cake, what an intensely flavored, dollop of pure deliciousness. Add a swig of Rioja between bites for a perfect meal!

Note to self: try to make this at home!



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