78. On Location in Madrid with James Blick, Tapas Expert from Spain Revealed - The Big Travel Podcast

Episode 78
October 8 , 2019

78. On Location in Madrid with James Blick, Tapas Expert from Spain Revealed

An ‘on location’ episode! Lisa is in Casa Toni, a busy and traditional tapas bar in in central Madrid, with James Blick from ‘Devour Tours’ and the ‘Spain Revealed’ YouTube channel talking Spanish food, culture, history, beer, lamb neck glands, New Zealanders drinking in Shepherd’s Bush, Russian Roulette with padron peppers, Jesus nailed to the cross, General Franco, Civil War, flamenco, four metre pianos, Farah Fawcett hair, Barcelona, Cadiz, gentrification, is Spanish coffee good or bad…What don’t we talk about?!


On this episode we talk:


Ordering lunch and some cold beers

Lisa having ‘soup with Brad’

Lamb neck glands (!)

The guy who got a Michelin star for his glands (!)

Eat the whole bloody animal

Laurie Lee’s description of the morning seafood trains from the coast

Madrid having the second largest fish market in the world (after Tokyo)

The bocadillo de calamares (squid sandwich) signature Madrid snack

Lisa growing up in Malaga in the Southern Spain

Mardid, Barcelona and Seville being the key cities

Galicia feeling like New Zealand

Spanish beer in small cold glasses

Pubs in England versus Spanish bars

Spanish people not getting as smashed as Brits or Antipodeans

Lisa’s ‘worst of both worlds’ on the Costa Del Sol

Tasting the menu at Casa Toni

James meeting a Spanish woman (his future wife Yolanda) in Toulouse

New Zealand being paradise but without tapas bars

How moving countries gives you carte blanche to re-invent yourself

James becoming a travel writer (the New York Times didn’t call)

Developing Devour Tours – helping people understand Madrid through the food

The growth of his highly viewed YouTube channel Spain Revealed

The ‘downside’ of your job being to hang around bars

Gambas al ajillo being made after the Civil War due to a bread shortage

Lisa’s university on the social history of Spain through festivals

The atrocities of the Spanish Civil War

The restrictions on society until the death of Franco in 1976

The burgeoning of the resorts like Torremolinos and Benidorm

Women not being allowed to open their own bank account in the 70s

James seeing a lot of globalisation and change in Madrid in the last 10 years

The erosion of traditional places

Laundromats indicating AirBnB has arrived

The Costa Del Sol and Fuengrola having improved drastically in recent years

Fuengirola’s brilliant tapas scene

Londoners (who consider themselves v cool) choosing to go to the Costa Del Sol

Spain’s autonomous regions and their vastly different identities

The north of Spain just starting to attract more tourism

Madrid locals falling back in love with their traditions

Newer bars recalling traditional bars…but having some group behind them

High rents pushing independent places out of the city

Madrid hipsters drinking Vermouth

James worrying about skilled cooking being lost due to chain

Barcelona’s historic centre being small and much more intense with tourism

Madrid being wider and less crowded

Rent rises being a concern for Madrid locals

Spanish people not having been to Madrid

The New York Times suggesting alternatives to the over-tourism destinations

James’ parents in law generation not leaving Spain until in their 60s

Spanish identifying with the regions and the pueblo rather than Spanish

Farah Fawcett hair dos singing around a four metre piano at ‘Toni 2’’

Finding those ‘wonderful moments of Spanishness’

Madrid having timeless qualities (daily reminders of the 40s to the 70s)

Casa Toni (where we are eating) not having anything to do with Toni 2

There being a lot of old money in Spain

The legacy of the Civil war in Andalucia where people starved to death

The eerie grandeur of Franco’s burial basilica ‘The Valley of the Fallen’

Like walking into something out of Tolkien

Catholics ‘have it nailed’ when it comes to drama

The old man giving the fascist salute placing flowers on Franco’s grave

James top three food experiences in Madrid

Visiting traditional market Mercado de La Paz and having a picnic the Retiro Park

Learning to ‘tapear’ as a verb

The flamenco that reminds James of his favourite tangle of streets in Cadiz

The beautiful ‘alegria’ style of music

Cadiz being one of the most magical parts of Spain

And the most fascinating city in the entire country

Lisa and James’ great Spanish coffee debate

Can you get hangovers in Spain

James top recommendation for coffee in Spain – La Mallorquina