Monday, February 2, 2009


I used to work in bars and restaurants in Ireland and one thing no one liked doing at the end of the night was cleaning the toilets. The state of them was diabolical even on the quieter nights, but they would be checked every hour or so in case they needed a quick clean. In any case, before we went home they would be spick and span as we did not have the luxury of a cleaning lady who would do everything in the morning and all we would have had to worry about was the bar and restocking it. I say this because I worked in a few bars in Spain that had a cleaning lady in the morning apart from Sundays, so no one ever bothered with the jacks. That's why it was no great surprise to find scummy toilets in other bars. But what I don't understand is that absolutely no one seems to give a shit, no pun intended. I mean, I have seen toilets, often only inches away from the kitchen, that are impossible to describe and staying in them for longer than a few seconds would require hospitalisation or maybe even quarantine. Since most bars are also restaurants this seems even more baffling, because apart from the obvious health scare, if you have to make a sanitary stop during, or more politely, before your meal this will put you off for the rest of the week. I am talking months old shit stuck to the pot, phleghm on the walls, no seats, probably no paper, because the last person to change the toilet paper couldn't possibly have missed the state of he cubicles, etc. etc. And beware if you touch any surface, the sniffer dogs will have you by the balls. And that's just the gents.... I better stop because I am making myself sick again.
Ashley, he' such a moan, so negative! Possibly, but I like clean toilets and I am proud of it!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Gabriel, C/ Conde Duque 10

I haven't really been out much recently and when I was, I repeated places. It's always good to repeat a place I think, especially when it was good the first time. That would be the first reason, the second would be to find out if the first time wasn't just a fluke. I had a menú del día in La Negra Flor a few days ago for €11 and it wasn't bad. Not great, but definitely not bad either. A run of the mill pasta salad, and skewered pork with a few lost pieces of veg. Anyway the novelty of the place seems to have worn off already, especially for the waiter. Was he nervously friendly the first time, this time he was just not in the mood I guess. I do think it's a good bar and a nice restaurant though. I'll keep you posted on it.
Last night I went to the movies with a few friends at a quarter past eight, before dinner time. So when we came out of the cinema we were hungry. Not familiar in the area we decided to have a pintxo (tapa) and a caña first in Lizaran. You'll find Lizaran all over Spain and the pintxos are actually good, just don't make a meal of them. It's a bit of a scrummage getting to them as it is self service, but that's to be expected on a Saturday night.
I had read something about a restaurant around the corner from where we were in Conde Duque but when we found it it was full and we would have to wait an hour at least. With full I mean 7 or 8 tables, so I guess this will have to wait for a quiet Tuesday or Wednesday. As there are more restaurants in the area we ended up in a place called Gabriel, a bit of a mixed bag really, but clean. The menu was maybe a bit limited, but we weren't really going to have a big meal anyway. We ordered a Salad of Foie and Mango between the four of us and a Tostada each. Mine a pork sirloin with a mustard sauce which was very nice. The others had good looking toasts too, but with goat's cheese which is the only thing I don't eat or want to go near. I was fine with my caña, but the girls ordered a Mojito Sorbet which did taste like a mojito and that was that. Nothing really vey exciting, but all in all OK, especially for a little more than a tenner per person. I will go back some time.