I’m attending a conference in Madrid so I will either describe either papers in words or a tourist guide in equations.

Actually, I can’t translate either papers or anything else into equations so I will stick to words.  As the conference just started but we arrived a few days ago, I will start with the tourism.  When we arrived on Saturday morning, we decided to try to stay awake and adjust to the new time zone.  So we sleepily rolled into a taxi and made our way to Plaza Santa Ana.  The kids were vivacious before we climbed into the taxi and the older one was sleepy ten minutes later when we emerged.  We went into the closest open place, Cerveceria Santa Ana.  Plaza Santa Ana has many bars, one of which was frequented by Hemingway but it wasn’t the one we wandered into.  The bar is modest, it has part where you stand and enjoy lower prices and one where you can sit.  Modest or not, the tapas were great.  And it was quiet enough that a child can sleep.

But the real treat was Matritum that evening.  It does innovative takes on well-known tapas and then wacky creative ones (though not Adria level wacky!).  If you’re going to do traditional tapas at all, you have to make patatas bravas and so one can rank restaurants in terms of the quality of this staple:  Matritum is excellent on this scale  Boiled new potatoes with mildly spicy tomato sauce and a mayonnaise with delicious mystery spices.  Other things we tried: chicken and ginger samosas, deep fried pancakes with tiny shrimp, toasted bread with tomato and jamon iberico and chocolate brownie with violet ice cream and chocolate sauce.  The only weak point was a potato gratin with five cheeses which was a bit generic.  Oh: the wine list in excellent.  Imports of Spanish wine into the Chicago area at least can be overoaked and fruity.  At Matritum I had a delicate and floral Monastrell.  We’re going back before we move to Barcelona