Today we had our Prado group tour from 12:45-3:00 PM. It was very cool, but needless to say, I was completely tired and starved. You know that feeling when you’ve been hungry for so long you just stop feeling it? Yep, that was one of those days. Of the many beautiful places to have lunch around the Prado, we settled on El Azul, a “vegetarian” Mediterranean restaurant that was 0.8 miles away. I put vegetarian in quotes because although there are vegetarian and vegan options, there were also meat options as well.

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One of my favorite things about the lunch specials is the 3 course meal. I forgot to take a picture of the menu, but the only vegan appetizer was this lentil soup (lentejas estofadas) which tasted very much like a chili with veggies. It came with this awesome bread too!

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Course 2: A veggie burger with a vegan cream sauce stuffed inside a pita with arugula and a side of potatoes. In these “special menus of the day” restaurants, there are usually 3-4 choices to choose from.

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I was actually pretty full from the lentil soup and bread, so I was glad these servings here are a bit smaller. I’d talked to a Spaniard a couple of days ago, and he said that the portions in America were HUGE in comparison, and that he even gained 20 pounds in two months studying there!

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El Azul had 3 different types of dessert or an espresso to choose from for course 3. The dessert options were vegetarian but not vegan, and included cheesecake, carrot cake, and chocolate (orange) cake. When the waitress was listing the options, I totally thought she said a carrot cheesecake with chocolate…

My Spanish will get better in a few months. (Hopefully)

Overall, this was a very cute (I feel like I use that word too much, no?) and chill restaurant. The walls were white and had a beachy feel to it. “El Azul” or “The Blue” is definitely a fitting name! Although we stayed way past the lunch hour, the waiters were in no hurry to have us leave. I mean, that’s how it is all around Spain, but it’s still nice.

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That night, I accompanied some friends on their piso search, and visited a potential apartment. We had some time to chill before, so we headed into one of the many, plentiful cafes. This one was called Te y Cafe or Cafe y Te, I don’t really remember (sorry), but it’s a chain I’ve seen around Madrid!

The freshly-made smoothies from left to right:

GREEN BOOSTER: kale, mango, banana, limoncello, apple juice

FRUTOS ROJOS: strawberry, raspberry, blackberries, orange juice

CARROT SUNNY: carrot, papaya, pineapple, goji berries, apple juice

Yep, I took a picture of the menu so I could re-create the smoothies…

Hasta luego!

-Carmen