<![CDATA[ManuelCalzada.org - Food Cravings]]>Tue, 23 Feb 2016 01:21:51 +0100Weebly<![CDATA[Bar San Lorenzo - C/ Doctor Piga 7, Lavapies, Madrid, Spain]]>Sun, 21 Feb 2016 17:45:38 GMThttp://manuelcalzada.org/food-cravings/bar-san-lorenzo-c-doctor-piga-7-lavapies-madrid-spainPicture
_I live one door away from the Bar San Lorenzo, in Madrid's Lavapies district, and the Bar is equidistant from the Church of San Lorenzo from which it takes its name. The Bar, and the dozens like it in Lavapies, is one  of the main reasons why I chose to be based here. It has not changed since it was opened by Antonio 35 years ago, and even then it remained the same as the previous owner had it since 1937. Only San Lorenzo himself probably knows how far the bar goes back with its current decor. A high bar with some stools, traditional Madrid tiles, basic wooden chairs and tables, no tablecloths, paper napkins, 4 types of local draught  beers , a few more local wines none of which will set you back more than 10 euros a bottle, and the omnipresent coffee machine which pumps cafe-solos & cafe-con-leche faster than anywhere on earth. 

Antonio has not changed the menu for the past 35 years. No nuclear/atomic liquid nitrogen fantasies a la Ferran Adria or any of the new masters of Spanish food here. This is your traditional  tapas & raciones of thin-sliced chorizos, jamon,  manchego cheese, home-made galician empanadas, calamares, steamed mussels, tortilla (the Spanish egg and potato omelette, not the Mexican wrapping breads) and the house especialidades in rizadas & croquetas. ALL literally home-made in the premises by Sra Antonia. The bar has no employees other than these two marvels of hospitality, and somehow they manage to prep, cook, cut, make coffees and tend bar and tables with natural efficiency and without the use of such contractions as iPads, iPhones or even paper notepads or pencils to take down orders. Their aversion to technology extends to microwave ovens which thankfully are yet to appear around here. 

What the menu may lack (not in my eyes) in modernity, is certainly more than balanced by quality. The chorizos and jamones are 1st ranked ibericos, the calamares are tempured and deep fried to perfection, the mussels are always the size of my thumb, the empanada home-made imperfect showing that Sra Antonia really made the pastry herself without a sign of an unhealthy obsession for aesthetic perfection.  The seafood  and ham croquetas are made in heaven, perhaps inspired by San Lorenzo himself who was not a stranger to cooking himself, having suffered being roasted alive back in Roman times, and being famous for telling his torturers to turn him over in the rack since he was already cooked on one side. 

Last trip to San Lorenzo for 4 of us resulted in a bill of 31 euros and we walked out rather overfed on olives, steamed mussels, tortilla, calamares, manchego cheese,  white asparagus from Navarra, draft beer and  a couple of bottles of red wine from Castilla-La Mancha, coffees and the ubiquitous complimentary  chupitos (shots) of yellow herbs liqueurs form Asturias and pacharan from Navarra.  There was no room for lunch, or dinner. 

If you come this way, opening hours are a bit of irregular. No breakfast here before 11 am, and no churros or sweets to be seen.  In typical style your breakfast choice will be cafe con leche and tostada con tomate. They remain open  for the tapas/lunch until around 3:30 pm, when they go home around the corner for lunch and a small siesta before re-opening around 6:30 and never closing before midnight, longer Thursday-Sunday. The crowd is youthful irrespective of actual age, friendly, casual and regular loud Spanish standard. No background music, no live bands, no poetry readings, and thank be to San Lorenzo, no wifi. If you come alone, talk to the person next to you or the couple behind the bar; and if you don't speak Spanish, don't worry, they will pretend to understand and serve you another beer just in case that's what you want. 

Vegans: 1 out of 10 - Not your ideal place. Very limited options if you are not a carnivore or delight in seafoods. You can have the bread, the olives and the potato choices. The asparagus are decorated with little bits of jamon
Kosher: 0 out of 10 - Even though the Church of San Lorenzo next door was a Synagogue until 1492, the Jamones & Chorizos hanging from the walls are indicative that this not really a place where you will find much that the rabbi would find compliant.  Some Jewish friends have argued to me that Jamon is not really pork.  Let your religious conscience guide you accordingly.
Halal: 0 out of 10. See above for Kosher.
Abstemious: They do have water, coke, juice, and coffee. Beware that the yellow sweet chupitos are not soft drinks, and that two or three of them will have you rolling down the street in a state of merry bliss. 
All Others:  5 star simple down to earth affordable food and drink. 

Location:  Calle del Doctor Piga 7, Lavapies, Madrid, Spain. 
Bookings: Don't even try on the phone. If you want to book a large table, come and speak to the owners in person.