I haven’t done a My Madrid article for a while and was actually prompted to invite the next “interviewee” by the person herself! She is quite direct. Well, anyway Candy Lee Laballe came to Madrid on a whim in 1997 and stayed for two years. She left to pursue the “American Dream,” found it in Boston, and proceeded to become completely depressed. In her own words she says,
“after much soul-searching, I realized the only solution was moving back to Madrid. I had fallen in love with Madrid hard and being away from what you love is no way to live. I moved back to Madrid full time in January 2003 where I have been truly living a dream ever since. People always ask me how long I’ll stay here. I figure I have about 40 years to go.
Candy recently published Moon Spain for Avalon Publishing, a 900-page guide book to Spain. She says:
It was a great experience and also a lot of work. Though there are several guidebooks on Spain in the market, I believe mine is different because I made an effort to share my love of Spain and Spanish culture with the readers.
Currently, she is doing some freelance writing including a monthly travel column for The Broadsheet. She is also about to launch MBA Spain, an MBA consultancy for Spanish students who want to attend top MBA programs.
Here are questions I asked Candy. Sit back and enjoy some of the great recommendations!
What is your favourite bar/café?
There is absolutely no way I can keep this to just one….so, for ambiance, good mojama (smoked tuna back), and flowing oloroso sherry, La Venencia on C/ Echegaray; for a funky vibe and great gin-tonics, Bodega Maxi in Lavapies; for the only old-fashioneds worth drinking outside of New Orleans, Del Diego on C/Reina.
What is your favourite dish?
Oh, so many to choose from. I guess I’d have to say paella, but only if it is done right….preferably by my friend Juan Negrillo from Valencia, and it has to have the socorat, the browned, burned bits of rice along the bottom of the pan. Another dish I can’t live without is salmorejo, the bread-thickened gazpacho native to Córdoba. I love it so much that I am serving it as the first course at my wedding in September. In the winter, I crave fabada asturiana….beans, morcilla, and chorizo, OH MY!
What is your favourite tapas?
Pan tumaca con jamón…..a thick slab of bread rubbed with olive
oil and tomato and topped with jamón….mmmmmmm. When I returned to
Spain to live in January 2003, I went straight from the airport to the
the Museo del Jamón on C/Mayor and ordered a big ole slab of it, ate it
right there with my suitcase at my side….it was a very delicious
welcome home. Now, I have my own jamón leg on my kitchen counter, so I
eat pan tumaca nearly every day!!