Madrid: desperate for plant-based food and literature
As the title says, I'm usually desperate for (plant-based) food and I can spend hours in the company of good books. Luckily, in Madrid, there is plenty to discover in terms of both.
Food and books. Two things that give me a feeling of comfort, like when you come back home and enter your grandfather's library while your grandma is cooking your favorite dish.
Here I would like to share with you three of my favorite spots in Madrid, one for healthy food and greenhouse vibes, one for American bagels and geeky Trivia nights and another for when you want to forget who and where you are.
This restaurant wants you to get out of your city life and into the woods. It is located on Calle Velazquez in the posh neighborhood of Salamanca. From Kimchi Burger to Pumpkin Spaghetti, the food is fresh and delicious. The decor and ambiance is worth paying the slightly overpriced cold pressed juices and kale salads, that come with a promise of organic and sustainable.
I went for brunch on a Saturday and had poached eggs with avocado, and a delicious beetroot juice. The place was surprisingly quiet for a weekend, which I found relaxing. Moreover, dogs are allowed and there's a familiar feel to the entire place. At the entrance there is a counter where you can buy take-away cakes and pastry that look like a slice of heaven. Will definitely be back for long Sunday brunches, salad lunches or elaborate burger dinners at Bump Green!
I love this name. And I love this place. It's small, it's run by a couple - she, French, he, English - and it is the definition of a place made with love, for the love - of books, of words, of art.
The name is taken from a passage of the book "The Savage Detectives" by Robert Bolano: “There are books for when you’re bored. Plenty of them. There are books for when you’re calm. The best kind, in my opinion. There are also books for when you’re sad. And there are books for when you’re happy. There are books for when you’re thirsty for knowledge. And there are books for when you’re desperate.”
It is small and crammed with books. The passion of the owners, Charlotte and Terry, is to find first edition books on their travels throughout the world, and bring them back to their bookshop in Madrid.
When you enter, you are welcomed by Charlotte and offered a cup of tea, just like when you enter someone's home. You then roam around the place, listen to quotes from famous books on the old telephone, write your thoughts on the typewriter or if you're more adventurous, buy some boozy books and get a shot of whiskey with each one of them.
Midnight in Paris soundtrack is playing in the background. Every month they organize events, such as "Harry Potter Quiz Night" or book readings by local and international writers (follow them on Facebook for updates). This is how Charlotte and Terry pour their soul into the world, it is their choice of magic.
J and J Books and Coffee
This place is more than its name. It is books and coffee, bagels, beers, people from all walks of life, hygge, family, friends, cozy, more books, trivia, music and a "place around the corner" kind of vibe. It is messy and lovely.
It is located in Malasana, the young and restless area of Madrid. However, is it at the end of a quiet street so you would not bump into it right away. It is run by Americans and every Friday night at 11 pm they host Trivia.
Make sure to arrive early for Trivia, around 10 pm, because they cap it at 60 people. You would not think of it as a place to host 60 people when you arrive, but you'll be surprised to go downstairs and experience their basement/ library/ shabby chic living room.
Order a freshly baked bagel and a tap beer while you wait, and make sure to find the guy that comes every Friday for Trivia and wins - and be on his team!
I hope these places make you feel a bit of what I felt when I was there: that we are surrounded by magic, created by people, who have passion for what they do. Sometimes it looks crammed, sometimes it's messy, and sometimes it is designed with a lot of thought. It may come with background music or noise, with half empty whiskey bottles or wet wooden floors. What makes the difference is the soul that was poured into them.
Bump Green: https://bumpgreen.com/
Desperate Literature: https://desperateliterature.com/
J and J Books and Coffee: https://www.jandjbooksandcoffee.es/