March 22, 2010 - Posted by Erin in Food and wine, Madrid, Travels in Spain

Last weekend, on our road trip to Cantabria, I asked (for probably the millionth time) about the quaint pueblo off to the side of Spain’s A1 freeway, which runs between Madrid and Burgos. Jacobo reminded me that this wasn’t the first time I’d asked and that it was still indeed Buitrago del Lozoya. So of course, my next question (rhetorical) was regarding why we hadn’t yet gone there. Considering its close proximity to Madrid (about an hour), I began my campaign to head there the following weekend.

This weekend arrived and the campaign was still on. Since I’m leaving tomorrow for a short trip to the US, it only seemed right that we have a little going away lunch in a sweet little pueblo like Buitrago del Lozoya, right?!

We left Madrid around 1:30pm with our tummies already rumbling and visions of homemade pueblo specialties dancing in our heads. Stepping out of the car just after 2:15pm, our noses were immediately tickled by the warm scent of firewood. Absolutely nothing says cozy pueblo like the smell of firewood and the scent of yummy things being cooked on a cold, overcast day. I was already keeping my eyes peeled for unsuspecting locals that might want to befriend us and invite us in.

We found our way to what looked like a popular spot in the city’s small little plaza – the restaurant Asador Las Murallas. As any good pueblo restaurant should do, it boasted its wood oven expertise and delicious beef, lamb, fish, and homemade desserts. Walking in, we did some table window shopping, taking note of what the locals had opted for as surely they’d know best. By the time we sat at our table, I think our order had already been made, mentally – setas a la plancha (grilled mushrooms cooked with magical olive oil and garlic – I can’t really think of any other way to describe something so simple, but so delicious), chuletillas (pork chops) and sopa castellana (a broth with egg, bread and a little meat). When it came time for dessert, the key to us saying “yes” is the word “casero.” This means “homemade,” and is the only reason I need to justify dessert. So, we finished our meal with a little dish of natillas (a custard made of milk, egg and sugar, and often served with a cookie on top and a sprinkle of cinnamon).

It was time to walk off lunch, so we ventured into the pueblo. Amazingly, the smell of firewood seemed to follow us wherever we went, making me certain that this pueblo wouldn’t likely have the same charm during the summertime.
Hiding behind the city wall we discovered an 11th century castle built of stones and brick, and with Moorish arched windows. Circling the castle we found the large, eerily still, Lozoya river, which was nestled up against the city on one side and a lush forest on the other. I suppose if I could build a castle, this wouldn’t be a bad place (particularly considering all the lovely neighbors with blazing fireplaces!). Around every turn was a new impressive site – ancient walls, an old church, a yard full of hens.

So that was my “going away” lunch and now it’s off to the States. In the meantime, I’ll be posting some new traditional Spanish recipes, so save your appetite!

2 Responses to “Sunday lunch in Buitrago del Lozoya”

  1. Chris D Says:

    Hola-I “discovered” Buitrago last summer.I took the bus -what a pleasant ride from Madrid up into the mountains.I think you need to go back this summer -you didn’t mention the Picasso museum-it contains all the etchings that Picasso gave to his barber! The reason I went was for the music from the Middle ages that was presented in the lovely little church-a Sunday in June.It will be repeated this summer as will their summer festival. They have a website.The church is hidden away off the plaza -a little tricky to find-I just followed the steeple!

  2. Erin Says:

    Isn’t a marvelous place?! I actually did see the museum and was bummed because, given that it was a Sunday, it was closed. I definitely would like to go back to see it along with the interior of the castle, which too was closed. We actually did stop in the church you mentioned, which fortunately was open so that we were able to explore it a bit. I’ll head back this summer for sure to check out the festival – thank you for the recommendation!

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