This hostel is pretty good, thanks to W for the recommendation. I'm in four-up room, with a young couple from Michigan and a German dude. The bathrooms are shared and the showers go in 20 second intervals, unless you position yourself just-so and lean against the button while showering up. Hey, for €20 per night, with free internet in the lounge, it's tip-top. Yesterday when I checked in, I immediately headed to the lounge and as quickly as I sat down, struck up a conversation with an adorable German girl from Berlin. She and her friend are looking for a flat in Madrid, in the meantime staying at the hostel. I spent the evening wandering the streets exploring and looking for food. I managed to find little India, little Africa, and even little Middle-fucking-East, but for love nor money could I find any friggin' Spanish food! I finally discovered a tapas bar called Taberna La Chilo S…(?), which was going to have to be enough for the moment. I was really craving chuletas, but was fading fast.
A fun place, packed to the brim. The bartender was friendly, the clientele attractive, and the food authentic. A bunch of queso semi-curado and lomo iberico later, washed down with a couple of cervezas and a glass of Rioja joven, I made my way out for the next place.
I had eyeballed a tapas bar earlier on that looked cool but was entirely empty, so headed back that way to see if it was doing any better at this late hour. It was definitely packed, so I saddled up to the bar for another Rioja. As fortune would have it, they had a bottle of Lan on the table, a wine I know well and is difficult to find in the U.S. So a few glasses of that, some olives and a brief chat with cute Spanish girl who found this Californian who spoke Spanish mildly entertaining until I couldn't produce a list of San Francisco local bands on demand, and finally it was time to call it a night. A tame first night in Madrid, but there you have it. And now it's Thursday.
Taberna La Chilo S…(?) address… I think it's here on the map, at the intersection of Calle de la Cabeza and Calle de Jesús y María View Larger Map rating: 4 feet verdict: friendly, fun, and packed