Where we hang out – just a start…

Angela and I decided it’s about time we come out of the closet about our foodie fetish, at least as far as our clients are concerned. In fact, this idea was in part sparked by a recent conversation with the folks from Planeat, a film that gets a good look at what we eat and why, how important food flavors are, and how the experience of food affects our lives and our world. We think you might actually like to know where we hang out–where we enjoy a meal with our colleagues, where we meet our clients to discuss work, where we like to have a drink while we pound away on our blackberry or ipod or computer. And, you may want to know what the food and the spaces mean to us, what we’re thinking about when we choose them.

So, here goes. As I’m in Madrid, I think it’s only fair that I mention some of my favorites here. Who knows? We might just meet here. You’re always welcome!

In fact, recently I met with an old friend and colleague of Angela’s who was on a brief visit to the city. Josh Weinstein of Inside Cinema was here for a few days and we set up a date to meet for a coffee. Since I also love chocolate (where’d ya’ll think the “moca” came from in the name? ūüôā ), then I decided we should go have a pick-me-up at Cacao Sampaka, which also happens to be in a very hip and busy neighborhood. Cacao Sampaka was started by the brother of Ferr√°n Adri√† of El Bulli fame (yes, the chef who has been considered the best in the world for almost a decade now and who recently closed his restaurant to dedicate more time to foodie R&D), so the origins are catal√°n. They bring in chocolates from around the world, and actually have a wall that offers bars in all different color degradations and cacao percentages, from 25% to 90%. Of course, the signature chocolates are the boxes with flavor selections, organized by type: flowers, spices, fruits and nuts, wines and liquors, truffles and innovative flavors. Not to mention their “Temptations” packages for gifts or just snacking: chocolate-covered almonds, sunflower seeds, corn, orange peels…But that’s the store. What Josh and I did was settle in at a table in the caf√©, which offers sandwiches, toast, pastries and, of course, hot and cold chocolate. The selection of three cold chocolates is the treat that I suggested that Josh had to try: thick chocolate milk naturally flavored with violets, tea, maracuy√† or bitter chocolate. Once I had a chocolate tasting there that included paprika-flavored cold chocolate. Not for everyone, I admit. Josh couldn’t resist and also ordered a sandwich and a cup of thick hot Aztec chocolate (with a hint of cayenne and cinammon). I ordered the traditional Spanish hot chocolate, which is thick enough to stand a bread stick in it. Normally you can eat it with a spoon like a pudding, when you’re not dipping in a morning churro or croissant.

Needless to say, Josh was very pleased. As was I. And, since I don’t get to the store often enough, I just had to stock up on chocolate chips and gift boxes to give away to friends and family.

Well, that’s just an example. In my next post, I’ll have to mention some favorite tapas places, not to mention other cuisine.