Updated: Mar 31
El Día de la Hostelería 5th-8th of October
It's Día de la Hostelería, again and I am left asking myself what exactly is it and why does this day last so many days?
This event has been promoted a lot in my neighbourhood but before I take a bite out of this cake I would like to know what exactly it is and what exactly are the ingredients for a delicious hotel and catering hospitality day?
In my nearest Metro station, Antón Martín, the station has been decorated with pictures of tortilla and cerveza and other food stuff but when I asked in Spanish what it was and if there was any promotions, the waitress just looked at me, lost and confused.
My girlfriend has lived across from that restaurant for 18 years and I have lived here for 5 but this was my first time to experience or not experience whatever it was I was meant to be experiencing.
Later in the day, I went to take a picture of all the balloons and found two friends, Alan and Carlos drinking at a bar that I have never drank at. Don't get me wrong I believe in supporting local businesses but after waiting ten minutes to get served there more than a year ago, I saw the waiter taking a selfie of himself and decided to never wait on that selfish waiter again.
I used to like sitting inside that same bar in the past, drinking cava with friends before the old bar became a much more modern bar that has never served me a beer as I waited on the waiter.
Maybe I am meant to follow the waiter on Instagram and maybe he takes a picture of the coffee and shares it on social media before giving me the coffee but call me old fashioned, I'd like a coffee, today please.
I don't know Jack
Today I did have a coffee to check out Día de la Hostelería but the waitress didn't seem to know about the event other than to say there was a Jack Daniels or Johnny Walker promotion on cocktails which didn't match the hype I had seen promoted with all the marketing campaigns in the Metro.
I told Anna at lunchtime that maybe they had spent all their money on balloons and posters and couldn't actually do anything to promote Groundhog Day throughout October.
How successful was this Octoberfest? Well, that will depend on how much you love blue balloons.
I overheard a German couple reading the menu aloud and asking each other, "What is Spanish jam?" and I wondered if I should point out that she meant Spanish ham and then I wondered if she had made a mistake or if the menu was just badly written.
I quickly checked the menu and found some delicious Spanish Ham described as "Broken with Spanish Jam" which should have been Huevos rotos con jamón translated better as delicious chips served with eggs and Spanish ham. It really is delicious and is called Huevos Rotos because you cut (or break) the fried eggs that are placed over the chips and the yoke drips down over the meal. Hmmm, Broken eggs, lovely.
BEST BARIO BAR NONE
My neighbourhood is full of native English speakers and this broken English is completely unacceptable if you expect to sell any Spanish ham during the 96 hour Día de la Hostelería.
Excuse my rant but if you are going to promote my neighbourhood, promote it right.
There are so many great places within my barrio, there are restaurants and bars and even nightclubs and karaoke bars. Pick up a kebab or try chopsticks at Miss Sushi, there is a Burger King, and Argentinian restaurants fit for a king, Mexican and Greek restaurants and everything in between.
Pick up a mic at a karaoke bar or step into the near-by G Bar for a quiet intimate drink. Step across the road for a smoke with a shiska/hooka water pipe or Imperfecto is always perfect for a gathering with friends but don't expect change of a fiver if you want to buy ciggerettes from the vending machine.
Seriously, on a few occasions, I've asked the waiter to change a five-euro-note to buy ciggeretes and have been refused. What's that about? I certainly hope it doesn't happen on El Día de la Hostelería.
The staff have been good enough to take group shots of people enjoying the colourful bar and on one occasion an artist friend organised her own surprise party there which I quickly turned into a Supplies Party with a canvas and some paints. It really is a memorable colourful place.
There is a beautiful bar in front of my apartment that was designed by Antonio Gaudi's assistant and two bars near-by that used to serve Señor Hemingway drinks. La Cervecería in Plaza Santa Ana still has that old Spanish bar feel and La Valencia looks like it still has the same dust that hasn't been cleaned since Hemingway drank there.
La Valencia is an unusual bar that only serves sherries but don't expect a selfie in the bar, no matter how much you try tipping your waiter as he opens the Civil War era cash register. Nearly a century later, photographs and tips still aren't allowed in this beautiful dusty looking bar.
Many events start out as a day and stretch out over a weekend but this was the first time I had heard of the event and naturally, I was as curious.
Unlike Bill Murray's character Phil Conners in the film Groundhog Day who leans French and how to play the piano and even how do be a better person, I sadly learnt nothing.