Category Archives: Best of Madrid

A New Way To Zen: InspiraLife

InspiraLife is a new company dedicated to helping keep your mind and body beautiful, healthy, fit and happy. The company was started by my friend and yoga teacher, Carla Sanchez and her business partner Inma Brea. Together, the team of two helps you expand your mind and body horizons allowing you to find your best self. Inma does this through coaching and Carla through yoga and mediation.

A yoga party organized by InspiraLife

A yoga party organized by InspiraLife

I was able to attend a Yoga Party thrown by InspiraLife, which allowed me to get to know a little more about their company and what the provide and do. Besides providing yoga classes and workshops, they also plan big health events and what I find the most awesome, retreats.

Inma and Carla, InspiraLife founders

Inma and Carla, InspiraLife founders

 

I went on my first yoga retreat (unfortunately before InspiraLife was a thing) to India recently and not to be all “this was life-changing”…except it was. Yoga retreats are beautiful because they allow you to focus on YOU. It’s not a family, friend or couples vacation. It’s a vacation all about bringing out the best in yourself, allowing you to be selfish and focus on your own needs.

Because let’s be honest, regardless of what obligations you have in your life (job, friends, boyfriends, children, family etc) it’s difficult to take time for introspection and mental and physical growth. Yes, we all spend our hour at Body Combat at the gym or Bikram Yoga, but the rest of our days are almost always spend pleasing others and fulfilling obligations.

Yoga retreats, in general, even if you aren’t even that into yoga are beautiful ways to learn to focus on self-awareness. What is it you need in life? Or have too much of? How can you find peace and love in your daily life? How can you stay stress-free?

InspiraLife goes a step beyond because not only are the retreats about yoga, but the coaching aspect will also help to answer the above questions and find out how you can enrich your life in so many ways: physically, mentally, and emotionally.

A healthy cooking workshop from InspiraLife

A healthy cooking workshop from InspiraLife

InspiraLife’s next retreats are to India in August (I wish I could go but I already have vacation plans) and to Tuscany in the fall, which I hope to go to. I also plan on attending a cooking class at some point (lord knows I need a  little help in the kitchen!).

In any case, I love the idea of a business that helps both your mind and body grow, and I look forward to seeing what else InspiraLife will continue to offer. Check them out!

Namaste! xo Lori

Namaste! xo Lori

 

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Eat Your Heart Out At The MadrEAT Food Truck Festival

Spring has arrived and it’s time to experience the Madrid Food Truck Festival, MadrEAT. The event features over 40 different food trucks, stands and market stalls where you can find all sorts of different cuisines and enjoy an afternoon eating in the sunshine.

Welcome to MadrEAT

Welcome to MadrEAT

 

I must say I am impressed in how quickly Madrid has grown to embrace international foods. When I first moved here six years ago, you could barely find a sushi restaurant, and now Madrid is quickly catching up to other major cities and offering a much more “exotic: food selection such as Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, Latin American and more.

Some Korean BBQ sassy sauce bottles

Some Korean BBQ sassy sauce bottles

I visited the festival for the first time last March, and have since then noted it will be continuing on in the AZCA complex each month this spring, starting again today! More practical info at the bottom of the post.

A yummy arepa from the La Cuchara truck

A yummy arepa from the La Cuchara truck

Last time, I was able to sample some Korean BBQ which was amazing, Venezuelan arepas from La Cuchara, a Feltman’s hotdog and some delicious dessert cakes, topping it all off with a four euro bottle of Sidra. Prices are reasonable and I indulged in several treats & snacks for a total of under 15-20 euros.

A delightful snack of Sidra and Hot Dogs

A delightful snack of Sidra and a Feltman’s Hot Dog, yum

I plan on attending again Saturday and who knows what I will indulge in this time? Perhaps a gourmet burger, perhaps a taco?

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The festival has a fun, kitschy vibe

 

This is a great festival and my main recommendation would be to arrive there EARLY especially if you plan on going Saturday and Sunday. The spot gets extremely crowded with a lot of strollers blocking the walkway (annoying) and so it’s best to arrive sooner rather than later.

One of the trucks

One of the trucks

Happy chowing!

You can hand out and eat outside

Enjoy snacking outside at MadrEAT

Practical Info

Spring Dates:

17, 18, 19 of April
8, 9, and 10 of May
19, 20, 21 of June

Location:

AZCA, entrance by Paseo de la Castellana 89, by Orense 16 or through the Central Comercial Moda Shopping. There is free parking in Moda Shopping (from 12:00 to 20:00, Saturday and Sunday). Metro: Nuevos Minsterios or Santiago Bernabéu, Bus: 27 – 40 – 126 – 147 – 150

Opening hours:

Friday from 12:00 to 18:00
Saturday from 12:00 to 24:00
Sunday from 12:00 to 18:00

 

Christmas Is Coming!

One of the few things I like about winter is the onset of the Christmas holidays (the other things are the smell of cinnamon and suede boots-and that’s pretty much it). I love seeing big cities, such as Madrid and NYC set up their Christmas lights and decorations. Paris, Rome and Lisbon are also beautiful to see at Christmas, in my opinion. This year is a little different, this will be the first time EVER I am going to the USA for Christmas since I have lived in Spain. I’m heading to Arizona, and I am not going to lie, I am thrilled to see my family and sunny skies again. However, it will definitely be different not having all the typical things at Christmas I have gotten used to over the past six years here in Madrid. Anyway, although I am heading out mid December, I was happy to get a little taste of Christmas here in Madrid in a boutique window display the other day-the shop’s name is FL and it’s located on Calle de Ortega y Gasset. Anyway, the display was a simple woman’s dress made out of pine and Christmas tree. Although it’s not what I would consider wearable, I was thrilled to see a little Christmas spirit around these parts!

Christmas is coming to Madrid!

Christmas is coming to Madrid!

Best of Madrid: Mahou Tapeo

I really enjoyed myself last weekend at the Mahou Tapeo.  This year there  were only a 38  participating restaurants, which was fewer than past years, but it was still excellent.  I hope you enjoy my photos of the delicious tapas and the event below!  Until next year!

Mahou Tapeo Mahou Tapeo Mahou Tapeo Mahou Tapeo Mahou Tapeo Mahou Tapeo Mahou Tapeo Mahou Tapeo Mahou Tapeo Mahou Tapeo

Best of Madrid: Federica & Co.

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Federica & Co. is a new type of project here in Madrid.  It consists of several shops and items smattered about a little courtyard.  They call it a concept store, I call it fabulous.

The space is a beautiful courtyard which seems worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city.  You stroll in and start to see flowers and gardening objects, wine and picnic baskets.  There are many shops in the space, one of them being Federica & and Co. and the others being Mimoki, Yellow & Stone, Charlotte and Ma., Ana Corsini, Sister Jane, The Flying Cow, and Brumalis and the occasional pop up shop.  Until next week the pop up shop is Stella Rittwagen.

Yellow&Stone shirts

Yellow&Stone shirts

Delicious Chilean Wine from Federica & Co.

Delicious Chilean Wine from Federica & Co.

 

Pop Up Shop Stella Rittwagen makes some amazing bags!

Pop Up Shop Stella Rittwagen makes some amazing bags!

 

Federica and Co. offers cooking classes Mon-Thurs from 8:30-12:30.  The occasional wine tastings are offered as well. Within the shops you can purchase wine, kitchen and cooking items, flowers, gardening items, clothes, accessories, childrens clothes and more.

Wine tasting, sign me UP

Wine tasting, sign me UP

This special space is unlike any other.  I suggest stopping in for a visit as soon as possible.

Federica & Co.

 

Federica & Co.

Hermosilla 26 · 28001 Madrid
Tel. 91 431 94 77
info@federicaandco.com

 

Best of Madrid: La Colonial de Ultramar: Té, Café y Chocolate

One of my favorite tiny boutiques in Madrid is a tea, chocolate and coffee shop ¨La Colonial de Ultramar¨.  Every fall when the weather becomes blustery and cool-I know it´s time to pay them a visit.

Upon entering, I first take a deep breath in and am greeted with aromas of warmth and herbs, spices, coffee and more.  The ambiance is soothing and relaxing, usually with soft music like Norah Jones  slowly whispering in the background.

The store has a great selection of coffee but since I have my nespresso machine, I only buy the tea these days.  The staff is welcoming and friendly and speaks wonderful english just in case your spanish is sub par.  You explain, more or less what you are looking for… and they will guide you, opening large, red cannisters filled with loose teas and letting you sniff.  They have over 200 varieties of tea ranging from chocolate mint to peach to caramel-pretty much anything you could ever want in a tea, they´ve got it.

I usually end up buying green tea, some of my favorites are the Green Tea with Cinnamon Almonds and the Green Tea with yogurt, rasberries, cranberries, and blackberries.  They also have chocolate and tea/coffee accessories like mugs, pots, etc.

I highly recommened this shop.  I am not a ¨winter¨person, I hate cold weather but this little gem of a store helps to greatly improve my winters…just a short stop gives a boost to my otherwise cold and blustery winter day!  Not to mention the comfort of later sipping my happily purchased teas all winter long.

They don´t have a website but the information to visit is below.  It´s not cheap, a bag of about 400 grams of tea will cost you 5 euros.  And it´s worth every penny.

La Colonial de Ultramar

C/ Alcántara 48
Madrid
91 401 83 70
Metros: Lista, Manuel Becerra, Diego de Leon
Hours: M-F 10:30-2:00, 5:00-8:30
S: 10:30-2:00

Best of Madrid: Corral de la Morería

Corral de la Morería combines two of my favorite things in Spain: food and flamenco.  Nobody can argue with the fact that Spain, more specifically, Madrid, has some of the best gastronomy and flamenco in the entire world.  I experienced this first hand at Corral de la Morería.

Corral de la Morería is not only the most famous flamenco tablao in the world (attracting guests such as Hugh Grant, Sandra Bullock, Michael Douglas, The Rolling Stones, Natalie Portman, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Aniston, Demi Moore, Nicole Kidman, Ronald Reagan, Sarah Jessica Parker just to name A FEW) it´s also a gourmet restaurant that´s appeared in the Michelin Guide for six consecutive years.  Additionally, it´s been featured in the Book ¨1000 Places to See Before you Die¨.  Great, I´ve checked one off the list, 999 more to go.

The Vision:

After chatting with the two directors/brothers Juan Manuel and Armando del Rey (which I´ll share more about later in the Experience Section) they explained to me that the vision for this Tablao is simple concept, yet complicated to achieve.  The idea is to hold on the original concept of an elegant, classic, historical spanish flamenco show while providing attentive service and serving modern and innovative cuisine.  All in all, they strive to provide a premium experience for their clientele.  This is interesting because the two concepts (the historical building and show mixed with the modern cuisine) theoretically seem to juxtapose each other…but Juan Manuel and Armando have truly acheieved their vision, or rather the vision of their father.   Which leads me to the backstory.

The Backstory:

Juan Manuel and Armando also shared with me an intriguing, romantic history of the Corral.  The tablao was created in 1956 by Don Manuel del Rey, their father.   Often called ¨The Cathedral of Flamenco¨the center was the first of it´s kind to include not just a flamenco show but the concept of gourmet cuisine to accompany it.  The location of the Tablao is near the Palace and Calle Mayor but back in the day, this location was considered to be the outskirts of the city.  Apparently, the business was slow and so Don Manuel del Rey hoped to boost business by searching for the perfect flamenco dancer.  One of them, around age 14, came north from  Córdoba to dance in the Tablao.  Her name was Blanca.  As business increased, so did Don Manuel´s attraction to Blanca and 5 years later they were married.  Blanca was 19, Don Manuel was 49.  Blanca is now the artistic director of the establishement and her and Don Manuel shared many happy years running Corral de la Morería together, and now, their two sons are in charge.  How romantic!

 My experience:

As per all of my advice about Madrid, I absolutely must experience things first hand in order to recommend them to others.  So here you have my own personal experience and review of Corral de la Morería.

I decided to attend the second dinner and show, in order to have more time to hopefully chat with the owners and wander the place afterwards.  I arrived a bit early and was directed towards the bar.  As I sipped a glass of wine, I tried to focus on the details of the place and the people surrounding me.  The decoration and the building itself embody ¨old Madrid¨.  Typical classic paintings, original walls, windows and ceiling, art that could be in the Prado museum, it was exactly what I think a flamenco tablao should look like.  Flamenco is an old art form and I love seeing the attempt to preserve it as such.  It really adds charm to the experience.

The clientele was mixed-I noticed several tourist types, local couples, groups of friends.   I heard Spanish, English and Portuguese spoken-and the waiters were extremely accomdating to this.  I heard the server offer the table next to us a menu in Portuguese.    In general, the service was phenomenal, warm and not overdone, which is EXTREMELY rare in Spain, even at very nice restaurants.  We decided on the tasting menu and were offered excellent wine recommendations.  The tasting menu was the way to go and offers half plates so you can taste more items.

The menu is as follows.  I will try my best to translate into English.

Ensalada de Vieiras con Puré de Alcachofas y Dados de Tomate Aliñados

(Seafood salad with brussel sprout puree and diced tomates)

Yema de Huevo de Codorniz sobre Ropa Vieja, Crema de Zanahoria y su caldito de Cocido Madrileño.

(Hen egg yolk over roast beef with creamed carrots and Madrid style soup broth)

Lomo de Merluz de Pincho al Vapor con nuestra Salsa Pil Pil

(Steamed Hakefish with house sauce Pil Pil)

Solomillo de Ternera con Foie y Manzanas Caramelizadas

(Steak with Foie and Carmelized Apples)

Coulant de Chocolate con Helado de Vainilla Tahití

(Chocolate Coulant and Tahiti Vanilla Ice Cream)

The food and presentation were both exceptional.  I throughly enjoyed every last minute of it.  The wine parings were also phenomenal and included a Marques de Riscal Verdejo Rueda with the fish and then a Matarromera Crianza Ribera with the meat.  At the end, we also had a small sample of Pedro Ximenez dessert wine.  My favorite parts of the meal included the hakefish (I have never had hakefish so tender.  I was later told that use a new method of steaming the fish to keep the freshness and tenderness intact) and the steak with foie, which was cooked perfectly.

After the meal we were able to relax and enjoy the show.  The special guest artists, which change monthly, were Belén Lopez and Jesús Fernández, who are both known throughout Spain as being the best of the best when it comes to flamenco.  The show was beautiful and one of the most wonderful things about flamenco is that the dancers, singers, and musicans are all entirely lost in the passion of the music, which, in turn, makes you completely lost in it as well.

I enjoyed the dinner and show from a fashion standpoint as well.  I like to note the details, I think that is what really makes a place original and special.  From the different plates to the costume changes of the dancers, I felt that every last moment was created to give the clientele a true preminum experience.

I was in awe when the dancers stepped out in this particular costumes with the fans. I was curious about the outfits and I was later explained that this particular dance and song was inspired by Cuba, when flamenco dancers  briefly travelled to La Havana to learn new steps and dances to add into their routines.  This particular portion, as they stomped and whirled with the fans, literally transported me to another era, another time, ¨the old Spain¨-the one I´ve seen in movies and picture books.  It had a very magical element to it.

One of my favorite parts of the evening was after the show when Juan Manuel and Armando del Rey, the two brothers that run the Corral, sat down with me and we chatted.  They told me their vision, the backstory, and more.  The conversation flowed naturally  I was immediately able to tell why Corral de la Morería was and is so successful.  The family history, the warmth and passion these brothers put into this business is entirely evident.  They work  so hard to create the perfect balance between gourmet food and authentic flamenco, never losing sight of their father´s (and now their own) vision for the tablao.  The thoughtfully answered all my questions and did not hesitate to share with me their stories and experiences at the Corral.

All in all I had a very authetic experience at Corral de la Morería.  I highly recommened this establishment, it has officially earned the Life and Style Madrid Stamp of Approval.

Important Details:

The prices for the shows start at 38.90 euros and the dinner prices start at about 39.90 euros.  It is not neccesary to have dinner there (although I highly recommend it), you do have the option to simply see the show and have a cocktail while watching.

I believe Corral de la Morería has atleast one show daily so you are guarenteed to catch a performance no matter what day you are visiting Madrid.

Location: Calle de la Morería, 17 Madrid

Telephone:  913651137

(Note: the Iphone maps do not pick up this address, for whatever reason.  I recommened using a PC to look it up via google maps if you need to map the address. You can also see a map on their webpage.)

For more information, or to reserve tickets, visit the Corral de la Morería Webpage.

Photos by Jorge Ortega