Category Archives: Centro

Intercambios and English Activities Madrid-Style

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This post is being dedicated to all of my past, present and future English students here in Madrid.

Also to many of my Spanish friends and other people who I know who are always saying how they need to practice their English.

Well, in Madrid there are TONS of activities and places where you can do just that.

The “Guiri” (or Foreigner) Community in Madrid is very large and we LOVE to plan and organize events that let us do the things we loved doing back at home. Something to get us out of our little circle. Something to mix up our typical tapas/disco dancing/dar una vuelta around the city day to day activities here in Spain.

If you are looking for just a good ole ‘Intercambio de Idiomas’ (or Language Exchange) check out these places:

Mondays

Tuesdays

Wednesdays

Thursdays

Fridays

  • Cafe Madrid (Metro: Opera)@9:30pm/21:30h
  • Cachibola Pub (Metros:Sol or Tirso de Molina—in the Plaza Jacinto Benavente to the right of the Yelmo Ideal Cine) @10pm/22h—this one is put on by ‘Multilinkual‘ and the intercambio is after the Movie Night (see below—Extra English Activities)

Saturdays

Sundays

(FYI: Weds.,Thurs. and Sunday nights have maaaaaaaaany options!!! So I’d say in general try a few out and see which ones you like. Intercambios are sometimes a gamble. Just try as many as you can!)

In General the Top Intercambio Groups..as in professional Intercambios are the ones listed below. When you go ask for these people and they are the organizers of these Intercambios and can help you meet new people (especially for those who decide to go solo to these events.)

Extra English Activities

Of course there are TONS of places in Madrid but these are some of the ones that I know or have personally been to.

If anyone has anything new to tell me about, or make any corrections to the info I’ve given above….please email me or comment on this page! Thanks!

Here are some other links to check out for more info on all of the above in English or Spanish!

Get out there….meet new people, get out of your shell and have a damn good time!!!! (And of course practice your English! ;-))

Love,

La Guiri

Oh Me Oh My…How Time Flies!

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Sooooo it’s been a little over 2 months since my last post! But as they say….Times Flies When You’re Having Fun!!!!

Besides being busy with work and my rigorous daily traveling via the Madrid Public Transport systems, I did take time to:

a) Celebrate my 27th Birthday

My Ladies!!! Dani, Me and Polly at my Birthday Party!!!!

(I can’t believe another year has gone again!!!! I moved to Madrid when I was 23!!!! Holy Shizzzzzzz!!!!!!)

and

b) Have my Mom and Grandma over for a 2 week visit over Easter break and the week following it.

I hadn’t seen my Mom in about 2 and a half years….and I hadn’t seen my Grandma in almost 4 YEARS!!!!!!!

Soooo it was nice to have them here….of course the usual occurs when family stays with you for a long time….they do get on your nerves, buuuuut that’s what family members are for!

I have come to the conclusion after this trip that my Grandma Shirley is AWESOME!!!!!

And I’m A LOT LIKE HER!!!!!!!!

Things I’ve learned from my Grandma over this little 2 week trip…

*Drink a Beer or a Glass of Wine Everyday…..Not because you’re an alcoholic (1 is enough really) buuuuuut because you DESERVE IT!!!!

Me and Grandma and Our Tinto de Veranos

Beer and Patatas Bravas on a Terraza in Valencia

*Be Feisty and Let People Know What You Think and Have NO REGRETS about What You Say or Do!

Waiting for the Bus back to Madrid from Valencia….chillin!!!!

*Eat Ice Cream and Dark Chocolate EVERYDAY!!!! Why????…..WHY NOT, is the correct response to that question.

Eating Ice Cream on a Rainy/Cloudy day in Madrid. 🙂

*Take Pictures of Hot Waiters aaaaand call them Hot in front of them even though they don’t understand you. 😉

The Hot Waiter from La Pepica in Valencia

*Act like a child while at the beach….picking seashells never gets old!!!!!

Collecting Seashells…

*Be Active!!!…because the moment you stop, your age might catch up with ya and you won’t feel as young as you really are.

My Grandma Climbed up 7 flights of stairs in a tower in Toledo….

And this is what she saw! (Toledo, Spain)

*When someone won’t give you their attention…..a little ‘YOO-HOO!’  and a lil wave of the hand works wonders!!!!!! 😉

*Stop Your Bitchin’ and Be Grateful For What You Have!

*Work Hard…Always! Cause If You Don’t Work Hard You Have NO RIGHT To Complain!!!!

*You don’t need much in this world to be happy…Some Food, Friends, Family, A Roof Over Your Head and Some Clothes on Your Back…..everything else are extras that make the ice cream even sweeter….but plain vanilla, chocolate or strawberry is alright with me!

And what I’ve learned from my mother is…..

*I love her and I’m so grateful for her….buuuuut she is her father’s daughter and I am my father’s daughter which makes us Day and Night. And although she might drive me bonkers after 3 or 4 days together, she is still my Mom! 😉

Porras/Churros and Chocolate at the Valor Chocolateria in Madrid

Tinto de Verano on the Mercado de San Anton’s Rooftop Terrace in the Chueca barrio of Madrid.

Grandma…and the Valencian Beach La Malvarossa at Sunset.

Easter Sunday in the Retiro Park in Madrid.

Mom with her vino, pisto and tortilla de patata!

Mom and Grandma at the Beach in Valencia.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my pics….I’m getting ready for some new reviews! From Valencia, Barcelona, Santander and Madrid.

Happy Spring to All My Readers!!! 🙂

Besos,

La Guiri

Pinta En Copas

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One random day I was walking around the area in Madrid called Malasana, which just happens to be right next to my casa (now my old casa) here in Mad-town…when I saw a wonderful little shop where you could paint and decorate your own pottery (cups, mugs, plates, vases, piggy banks, bowls, etc…) and the moment I saw it I knew I had to go check this place out!

You walk in and it’s full of little wooden tables and chairs with shelves of white pottery ready to be decorated. In the back there is room for a group to come and spend the day together painting. There is also a little table with a kettle and a coffee pot which is there for you to enjoy a cup of tea or a cup of coffee for free while listening to music and painting a gift for yourself or for someone you care about.

I decided to surprise my friend as a little Saturday afternoon activity. Something off the beaten path of the traditional meal and a movie kind of day date. We chose to paint a coffee mug each.

The way it works is you choose one of the pieces of pottery…each style is marked with the price and that is the price you pay. Nothing extra. Our coffee mugs were 14 euros each…which I find extremely reasonable and affordable for what you are going to do.

So you basically come in, choose what you want to decorate, decorate it (maybe have a coffee or tea), and when you are finished you pay for your piece and then you leave it there to be picked up 2 or 3 days later. It has to be put through the oven and glossed so it looks truly FABULOUS!!!! 😉

The best part about this place is that friends can come, couples and families too. It’s a place for everyone really and even if you aren’t very artistic. I love painting so for me this was a GREAT afternoon. My friend isn’t the artistic one….but he still had a great time and I think he appreciated that I found something new and interesting for us to do in HIS city.

My fav part was that I had a mini fan club of a group of 3 little Spanish ninos who loved my mug and were asking me questions about it in Spanish…haha! Yup, I felt like a painting superstar. Ya know, it happens….:-)

Here is the info:

Pinta En Copas

Calle de Velarde, 3

Madrid, Spain (Metro: Tribunal, Bilbao)

+34 914 45 33 43

Timetable:

Tuesday-Sunday: 11 :00 – 14:00h and 17:00-22:00h

Friday and Saturdays they’re open until 23:00h

*Children older than 8 years old are permitted.
**You don’t need to make a reservation—unless you are going to be a group of 5 people or more!!!!
***CREDIT CARDS are NOT accepted!!!! (So bring enough cash!)
Check out some of my pics!

The Beginning….

The pieces my little fan club (aka the 3 lil ninos) were making next to our table…

La Guiri working hard on her coffee mug…

La Guiri caught by surprise…Haha!!! 😉

Best Weds. Night of the Month: Anti-Karaoke Madrid

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Anti-Karaoke is a magical place where average people who have the balls to get up and sing can turn into Rock Stars even if for only a few minutes.

You could be amazing or complete crap when it comes to singing….but if you give it all you’ve got, I guarentee a damn good time!

Rachel @AK Madrid!!!!!! (Photos by Torke Master of Puppets)

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Anti-Karaoke

http://www.antikaraoke.com

info@antikaraoke.com

Barcelona—-Every Monday Night at Sala Apolo (Nou de la Rambla 113)

****8€ admission includes a free drink. Remember to get there when doors open at 9:30 if you want to sing****

Madrid-— Every 1st Weds. Night of the Month at Sala el Sol (Calle Jardines, 3)

****8€ admission NO DRINK INCLUDED. Doors Open Around 10pm-10:30pm****

Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/antikaraoke

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Rachel and her Famous Bottle of Jack @AK Madrid (Photos by Torke Master of Puppets)

Rachel Arieff is the Amazing Woman and Artist who puts on this GREAT  shin-dig every 1st Weds. of the month in Madrid (and every Monday night in Barcelona where she’s based). She’s an American Comedian who has come to Spain and found out what the Spanish were missing in their day-to-day lives….and Man….Is she giving it to them now!

Since the next Anti-Karaoke Madrid is this coming Weds. February 1st, I figured I’d write a wonderful little blog post about it, especially since it’s the 5th Anniversary for AK here in Madrid!!!!!! CONGRATS!!!!!!

And for all you Barcelona people….you BETTER be there tomorrow night!!!!! (I’m secretly jealous that you have it every week there!!!! hahahaa!!!!)

Most people in the Anti-Karaoke World know me as Bombazo Platino (Platinum Bombshell for all you English-only people). I’ve only been singing regularly there since this past September 2011…and I did sing with a friend of mine last year on Reyes 2011. But I’ve been going casually for the past year and a half….but now it’s become my Monthly Weds. Night Ritual aaaaaand I LOVE IT!!!!

The people who go are GREAT PEOPLE and it gets my mind off of all the crap that’s going on in the real world outside the doors of the Sala el Sol. Sometimes life in Madrid (aka Mad-town) can drive ya crazy or just time can catch up with ya. I find this to be a great mid-week release, especially after the end of the previous month before.

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Rachel also has a Comedy Show called Planeta Catalunya that she has every last Thursday of the month in Barcelona. For more info on Rachel and her other artistic projects….check out all these links:

Website:  http://www.rachelarieff.com

Blog: http://www.popular1.com/rachelarieff

Email: rachel@rachelarieff.com

Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/rachelarieffcomedy

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Here are some more Pics and Video Links For ANTI-KARAOKE MADRID!!!!!

(I couldn’t get everyone onto this blog post….so I’ll put more up as I can.)

Videos Links:

Rachel, Rocko and Friends—‘Killing In The Name’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ve55WL8QK9s

Lady Madrid — ‘I Hate Myself For Loving You’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdlE_EI-2jI&feature=youtu.be

Rocko — ‘Start Me Up’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WQSjCR0q5Q&feature=related

Barrero Man —- ‘Du Hast’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=er6n3HmrKTk&feature=related

Parker Lewis & McGinty—-‘Insane in da Brain’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=er6n3HmrKTk&feature=related

McGinty —- ‘Thunderstruck’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkAAEIViFnQ&feature=related

Lili Pompon —- ‘Modern Love’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zh-r_WwFnQE

Peter & The Wolf—-‘Rebel Yell’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yz5Fhmi7jwE

Rachel —– ‘New York, New York’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DKSxPZ1kkg

Peter Parker —- ‘Roadhouse Blues’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53DrDw94uxE

One of AK Barca's Favs ROCKO @AK Madrid (Photos by Torke Master of Puppets)

McGinty rockin it out @AK Madrid (Photos by Torke Master of Puppets)

Peter & The Wolf @AK Madrid (Photos by Torke Master of Puppets)

Lili Pompon @AK Madrid (Photos by Torke Master of Puppets)

Barrero Man @AK Madrid (Photos by Torke Master of Puppets)

Lady Madrid @AK Madrid(Photos by Torke Master of Puppets)

Peter Parker @AK MADRID (Photos by Torke Master of Puppets)

Rachel @AK Madrid (Photos by Torke Master of Puppets)

Rachel, Rocko and The Gang @AK Madrid (Photos by Torke Master of Puppets)

Some Great Bombazo Platino Moments…..

'Piece of My Heart' @AK Madrid (Photos by Torke Master of Puppets)

'Piece of My Heart' @AK Madrid (Photos by Torke Master of Puppets)

'I Love Rock-n-Roll' (Photos by Torke Master of Puppets)

'Hot Stuff' (Photos by Sian Joseph)

'Proud Mary' (Photos by Sian Joseph)

Bombazo Platino Videos

Piece of My Heart’ (Version 1)—–http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwpxTyIm9TY

‘Piece of My Heart’ (Version 2)—–http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2l7a6s-iQA&feature=youtu.be

‘Proud Mary’ —– http://blip.tv/sergio-jungle/episode-5784774

‘I Love Rock-n-Roll’ —— http://blip.tv/sergio-jungle/ak-nov-2011-73-5704597

Hot Stuff’ —— http://blip.tv/sergio-jungle/ak_oct_2011_5748-5620983

So…..stay updated. I’ll be posting more updates about Anti-Karaoke Madrid…possibly once a month.

And I hope to see ya there asap!!!!!!! 😉

Love,

La Guiri (aka Bombazo Platino)

Ayyye Yai Yai Mejor Mejicano por Madrid!!!!!!!

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As I’m from the USA, we are used to having great Mexican food for cheap and in large quantities. And in Madrid it’s normally shitty Mexican food that’s extremely overpriced and given in small portions….until my flatmate Alex told me about La Herradura.

La Herradura

All I can say is……FINALLY!!!!!! POR FIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you are a lover of Mexican food and are in Madrid and need your Mexican tortilla instead of the typical Spanish one, then this is your place.

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La Herradura (Cantina Restaurante)

Calle de Montserrat, 32  28015 Madrid
915 42 39 36

www.la-herraduramadrid.es/

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Where there is La Virgen de Guadalupe....there are Good Things!!!!

 

 

La Barra

It’s been getting great reviews all over the place….to read some in Spanish check these links:

http://11870.com/pro/1289935

http://madrid.salir.com/la_herradura-montserrat_32

My friends and I have been there for a friend’s going away party and also my boyfriend and I have given it a go as well. It’s also dangerously close to my casa soooooooo I have to pretend that it’s on the other side of the city so I don’t go there everyday!!!! Hahaha!!!! 😉

I highly recommend the Nachos with Guacamole added on top…and the Cochinito Pibil Tacos are TO-DIE-FOR!!!!!! Wow….I’m drooling just thinking of them now!!!!!

Nachos with Guac.....YUM!!!!!

COCHINITA PIBIL!!!!!!!! (Drooling right now...are you???)

This is a great date night option, or a night out with the friends….and also for the loner who just wants to have a beer and nacho and watch some soccer/football can hang out at the bar and converse with the barman over their Corona or Negro Modelo.

Check out some more of my pics below!!! Enjoy!

(And I hope you can go there soon….and if you go CALL ME!!!!!! I’m ALWAYS down for some Mejicano!!!!)

 

Cervezas, Tortilla Chips and Salsa = My 3 Great Loves

More of those AMAZING NACHOS WITH GUAC!!!!!

MUCHA COMIDA (and Margaritas!!!)

Stuffed Quesadillas….NOT your ordinary Quesadilla! This is your Amazadilla!!!!

Fajitas---Tex-Mex!!!!!

Tequila, Please! 🙂

Ooooh Casa Mingoooo!

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For those of you who don’t know, Spain is very proud of its food and each region has its own specialties. I think this is why people love Spain so much because the food is just fabulous and if you don’t like one regions’ food then just go to another one and for sure you’ll find something for you.

But all in all, if you as ANY Spaniard where can you eat and drink the best (besides declaring that it’s their hometown city or village or region) they ALL say ASTURIAS.

This region is so popular that even in the USA you can find popular celebrity-sited restaurants (Although you’re going to have to pay 3 times as much as you would in Spain for the same thing).

Asturias is one of the northern regions off the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic Coast. It’s VERY VERY GREEN!!!! I’m talking about you might feel like you are in a warmer version of Ireland.

This is another reason why I love Spain so much! It’s similar to the US in the fact that each region is so distinct from the other but the best part is that it’s a whole lot closer together! I don’t have to spend 3 days in a car to get to the beach! 4 to 6 hours and I’m there!

Well…back to Asturias….My friends and I LOVE a very famous restaurant with food from this region here in Madrid. It’s quite famous. It’s called CASA MINGO. You can’t miss it! It’s a massive building off the Paseo de la Florida near the shopping centre Principe Pio.

(Photo from CasaMingo.es)

Casa Mingo is mostly famous for its Cider and its Roasted Chicken.

But when my friends and I go there we practically get one of everything off the menu and share it all! Ha!

My best recommendation for a large party of 6 or more people would be to get:

Roasted Chicken, Cabrales Cheese, Cidered Chorizo (a strong sausage), Iberic Ham Croquettes, and a Spanish Omlett.

(Photo from CasaMingo.es)

Don’t Forget to Order —-> LOTS OF NATURAL CIDER!!!!!

They have the sweet Sparkling Cider but it’s not the same!!!!!! Go all out and just get the Natural stuff!

You have to pour it in a certain way and you have to drink it quickly, like a shot, which is why you only pour a little bit into your glass. 😉 But be careful! It’s strong!

Me practicing my Cider pouring skills! (Photo by Gabriel Bonner)

Check out the videos for pouring skills! (I don’t own any of these videos…just some cool ones I found on Youtube!)

Video 1 Link

Video 2 Link

Video 3 Link

If you are in Madrid and would like a great night out with friends and you’d like to eat some of the best food found in Spain, then you’d better put Casa Mingo on your list of places to visit!

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P.S.: This place is VERY well-known in Madrid! Check out all the Google Reviews!

CASA MINGO GOOGLE REVIEWS

Other Reviews and Sites about Casa Mingo and Asturian Food!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2009/jul/12/asturias-spain-food-drink

http://spanishfood.about.com/od/spanishregionalcuisines/a/asturias.htm

http://www.asturiasguide.com/Cuisine.html

 

 

All Things Ameri-cuh! (part 3)

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So a month ago I checked out a fun lil place here in the neighborhood of Malasana, next to my house here in Madrid.

I got so excited to find out they had Creole food here in Madrid!!!!

Creole food is a food made famous from Louisiana…especially New Orleans. And I LOVE it!!!!!! It’s got this rich flavor and can be spicy (depending on the dish). I LOVE Jambalaya and Gumbo (the inspiration for the name of the restaurant). And they even ha Fried Green Tomatoes and Pecan Pie!!!! I was seriously in heaven!!!!

The place is called….GUMBO.

Here is their info:

Gumbo Restaurante-Madrid

I think that if you want to try something new for the Spanish taste buds and something that is as American as hamburgers and hot dogs….then I think you should try out this place.

It is a bit pricey….but that’s because some of the ingredients are difficult to find here in Spain.

Gumbo Restaurant - Window Seat

 

Gumbo Restaurant - The Bar

I had a bowl of Jambalaya, which is kind of like the New Orleans style Paella. Lots of people like to eat it with Tabasco sauce (I only put on a little bit since I don’t want to lose all of the flavor of the food to the sauce). I want to go again this month and try their Gumbo. Gumbo is a stew or soup from New Orleans. And I also want to try out their Fried Green Tomatoes (yes, like the movie.).

Jambalaya!!!!!! (and Wine)

I did enjoy a nice wine with my meal and I totally gave in and got the Pecan Pie!!!! Hahaha…And I ate the WHOLE thing!!!!!

Delicious PECAN PIE!!!!!! YUM!!!!!

With only the Jambalaya and the Pecan Pie, I was stuffed but it did cost me approximately 15-20 euros for that meal.

But considering the place is owned and run by a New Orleans Native…..I rate it an 8/10.

I did enjoy the whole vibe from the place….lots of warm colors and funky furniture pieces. And nice music playing in the background. I think if it were more economic then I’d rate it a 10/10….but it’s something original for Madrid and Spain in general so of course their gonna make it into a posh place and charge more than most places.

Feel like trying some??? Let me know and I’ll join you. (It’s a 15 min. walk from my house). 😉

Check out some other reviews—

Trip Advisor Review of Gumbo

Google Review of Gumbo

Espana Profunda WordPress Review

NY Times Review of Gumbo