Get interactive at "Mad Improv" theater workshops and shows!


Madrid’s theater scene is brimming with activity. You’ll find live micro-theater being performed in bathrooms and lingerie stores, as well as acting classes and alternative shows scheduled daily throughout the city.

But there isn’t much available in English, which is why I want to introduce you to Mad Improv, an English-speaking improv group that’s been shaking things up in Madrid’s interactive theater scene since 2014.

Mad Improv workshops, shows and interactive theater in English in Madrid

Mad Improv hosts shows and workshops on a regular basis, all run by its cast members in English. Free improv workshops – called “gyms” – are held on Sundays from 5pm-7pm. Gyms are purely donation-based and absolutely everyone is welcome so you never know who might show up. People have even come in on flight layovers!

Mad Improv workshops, shows and interactive theater in English in Madrid

They also hold monthly open shows – called “jams” – where anyone can get up on stage and play improv games. Jams cost €3 with a drink (which probably comes in handy).

Mad Improv workshops, shows and interactive theater in English in Madrid

Locations for gyms and jams vary from Fundación First Team in Sol to Retiro when the weather allows. And right now they have a new set of upcoming shows at La Escalera de Jacob!

So check out their Meetup, Facebook and Twitter pages to stay up to date. Once you attend an event you can also ask one of the organizers to add you to the whatsapp group.

My experience – great way to step out of your comfort zone

I had secretly always wanted to drop in on an acting class, but never got around to it until this summer when two friends, Riju (India) and Laura (Spain), enthusiastically agreed to join me at one of the Sunday gyms. This was in August so the workshop was held in Retiro behind the Palacio de Cristal.

Mad Improv workshops, shows and interactive theater in English in Madrid

An international group of about 15 people showed up – the different backgrounds and languages definitely added an element of fun and spontaneity to the mix. And our organizer, Summer Banks (in the photo below), did a great job at including everyone and making sure the exercises were easy to follow.

Mad Improv workshops, shows and interactive theater in English in Madrid

What started out with simple warm-up games quickly gave way to more challenging improv activities that admittedly made me feel ridiculous. But it’s a wonderful way to get out of your comfort zone, connect with people and laugh a lot. My friends and I left with the feeling that we wanted to try our hands at improv again (and hopefully do it better next time), which meant the fun far outweighed the awkwardness!

Chat with the founder, Ben

Mad Improv workshops, shows and interactive theater in English in Madrid

Just before going to the workshop, I had met up with Mad Improv’s founder Ben Nathan-Serio at the newly opened Plántate Café. After studying drama in NYC and working in the field, Ben moved to Barcelona where he first started working in children’s theater. Four years in he launched his own interactive theater production, The Barcelona Time Detectives, and was also a founding member of BIG, The Barcelona Improv Group.

When Ben came to Madrid, he quickly became involved in Madrid’s English-speaking theater scene and founded Mad Improv in 2014. Ben says, “The reason I started Mad Improv was because there was no improv community here; I wanted to reach out to the community in a bigger way, to get people involved.”

What makes improv and interactive theater so special is that it’s empowering, says Ben, as it allows for genuine human interaction and connection. Not to mention, getting out of your comfort zone is both invigorating and fun.

Live in Theater Spain the Lombardi Case

In addition to Mad Improv, Ben also recently co-founded Live in Theater Madrid, a NYC-based group whose hit interactive show, The Lombardi Case, debuted here in summer. It’s a truly unique and entertaining two-hour event where the audience tries to solve a murder mystery – read our previous article about The Lombardi Case on Naked Madrid!

More to come

While Mad Improv and Live in Theater are alive and kicking in Madrid, Ben just relocated to Austin, Texas, where he’s taking part in a 9-month research lab called The Interactive Deep Dive. And he can’t wait to “come back with some very fresh, invigorating ideas for Live In Theater, Mad Improv and just the city in general.”

So stayed tuned, because we’ll make sure to fill you in on what’s in store.

Mad Improv Info:

 




Live In Theater’s "The Lombardi Case" comes to Madrid from NYC!


It’s not everyday that you get to help solve a murder case, interview a drag queen, or be transported to another era. But that’s what you’re in for with the interactive show The Lombardi Case, brought to us by the NY-based Live in Theater group. I had the chance to go the premiere in May and here’s what it was like.

Live in Theater Spain the Lombardi Case

When I stepped into the theater, I was first greeted by a cop with a Brooklyn accent, played by a Scotsman; and then grabbed a seat among the 60-person international audience. We got split into small teams and an officer presented us with the case details in effortless Spanglish.

Live in Theater Spain the Lombardi Case

It’s suddenly the early 1980’s and we’re in the midst of Madrid’s sex- and drug-ridden La Movida movement. The daughter of the US ambassador has just been murdered. And it’s on us to find out who did it.

Live in Theater Spain the Lombardi Case

Readily equipped with clues, a map and a list of suspects – from a doorman to a junky – we headed out onto the streets to conduct our interviews at nearby locations like a jazz bar, public plaza and street corner; and then came back and tried to solve the case with our findings.

Live in Theater Spain the Lombardi Case

The 7-member bilingual cast relied heavily on improv to communicate with us as we interrogated them, and they impressively stayed in character the whole time.

Live in Theater Spain the Lombardi Case

Although none of us ended up solving the tricky case, it was a really fun and unique experience, with lots of laughter and participation between the actors and audience. I loved being able to play an active role in the show, get out there on the street, interact with new team members and in Spanglish, no less. All in all, it’s a guaranteed great time and as a benefit you’ll get to learn about the history of Madrid.

Live in Theater Spain the Lombardi Case

Since the debut, Live in Theater has put on two more productions of the The Lombardi Case in the heart of Malasaña at La Industrial. While the format is identical to the NYC show, the storyline has been adapted to Madrid’s history. For example, the original takes place in 1975 which works in a time of drugs, disco and gentrification in NYC, while the Madrid show takes place in the early ‘80s during the time of La Movida, the experimental movement that broke out after the fall of the Franco regime. This is especially pertinent as audience members get to actually interview suspects in the neighborhood that was the epicenter of the movement, Malasaña. Another key difference is that here, the show is put on in Spanish and English.

Live in Theater Spain the Lombardi Case

The Lombardi Case has been brought to Madrid by three partners: Carlo D’Amore, the founder (and guru) of the NYC-based theater group, Live in Theater; Leslie Freschet, who’s been living in Madrid for 25 years; and Benjamin Nathan-Serio, who’s been an active member of Barcelona and Madrid’s English-speaking theater circuit for nearly a decade. He’s also one of the Madrid organizers and co-founders of Mad Improv.

A few weeks ago I had the chance to sit down with Ben and talk about the Lombardi Case and what makes interactive theater so special. He said:

The show offers a truly unique experience for the audience because interactive is empowering. It’s a real niche for actual human, genuine interaction. There’s something magical about this show. It’s not just conversation in a bar or speed dating, or meet-ups; it’s super empowering because you become a cop. You have a mission. You become a detective. There’s a murder, and you need to solve it! And there’s a time limit… urgency.

See a show!

Stay tuned for upcoming productions by following their Facebook page or put in a request by emailing them at liveintheaterproduction@gmail.com.

You can also book them for private events such as company team-building exercises. The show has a very versatile format – you can hire them to go into your apartment as long as it has 2 rooms, with 3 actors playing 6 characters; and it can also be presented to up to 200 people.

And if you feel like getting more involved in Madrid’s interactive theater scene, definitely check out Mad Improv which holds free improv workshops on Sundays and monthly performances.




Plántate Café, a specialty coffee & plant shop in Lavapiés!


Specialty coffee shops are in demand in Madrid, and thankfully so. I’m sorry old-school bars, but after trying high quality espresso, it’s really hard to enjoy your café con leche anymore.

This feeling was particularly strong for Kevin, a Canadian who’s been living in Spain for eight years and is the owner of the newly-opened Plántate Café. “Everybody who’s into coffee will be able to tell you a story about their first good cup,” says Kevin. “After that moment there’s no turning back.”

Plántate Café by Naked Madrid

Kevin’s first was in London at Brown’s of Brockley, and it literally changed his life. While living in Lavapiés for years, he longed for a good cup of coffee so badly that he’d bike up to Malasaña’s Toma Café every morning. When the daily trek turned unsustainable, he decided to buy their coffee beans and start making cold brew at home. Then he got a V60 to make filter coffee.

Little did Kevin know, he was slowly becoming a coffee connoisseur. “Opening up a coffee shop was just a side project.” But as is often the case with side projects, they become your full-time job. And that’s just what happened.

Plántate Café by Naked Madrid

Kevin opened Plántate Café in July. Before setting up shop, he and his two friendly baristas – Antonio (Spain) and Fernando (Brazil) – went to train with the top roasters at London’s Square Mile so they could bring their skills back to Lavapiés.

Plántate Café by Naked Madrid

The guys at Plántate Café are fully dedicated to spreading the specialty coffee culture done right, and proud of the relationships they have with their suppliers. They get their house espressos from three top roasters: Puchero, from Valladolid; Right Side, from Barcelona; and Square Mile, from the UK (whose decaf is said to be the best in the world).

Plántate Café by Naked Madrid

Their drink menu features the musts: flat white, macchiato, cold brew, filter coffee, an assortment of teas, and more.

Plántate Café by Naked Madrid

And if you’re in the mood for a snack, you can order toast with avocado, a cup of yogurt with chia seeds or cake.

Plántate Café by Naked Madrid

You can also buy plants such as cacti and orchids (hence the name, Plántate Café), plus magazines and coffee-making gear from leading brands like Hario (Japan).

Plántate Café by Naked Madrid

Since opening they’ve received a lot of local love from the neighborhood, thanks to a balance of excellent coffee and treats at fair prices, a friendly staff and a great ambience.

Plántate Café by Naked Madrid

So come on in and check it out!

Info

  • Instagram: @plantatecafe
  • Address: Calle Mesón de Paredes, 28
  • Metro: Tirso de Molina / Lavapiés




Plenti, a great new café & brunch spot in Barrio de Las Letras


I love seeing new family-run places like Plenti pop up in Madrid. Opened just two weeks ago in Barrio de las Letras, the café already feels like it’s been around for a while thanks to the friendly service and comfortable ambience.

Plenti Madrid by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Plenti Madrid by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Before opening Plenti, owners Sophie (England) and Gonzalo (Spain) had both worked in the restaurant business for years, and spent last year training at Sophie’s mom’s café in Brighton.

They found most of the furniture and decor items at flea markets and antique shops in England, and brought it all back with them in a van. That’s why the menu is written on an old chalkboard that reminds me of my elementary school days.

Plenti Madrid by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

And the food is served with vintage cutlery and tableware.

Plenti Madrid by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

There’s also a long bench in the back from Munich, the typical kind you’d see at a German beer garden.

Plenti Madrid by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The menu features a nice variety of fresh and tasty dishes at great prices, so you can try a few different things, or just have a light snack. There are three types of main dishes – huevos a la cazuela (egg casseroles), open sandwiches and salads – all ranging from €4-6. Breakfast items include yogurt cups with fruit, nuts and cereal, and different types of toast, ranging from €2-3.50.

We ordered two “huevos a la cazuela.” The first had tomato sauce, peppers, green onion, black beans and guacamole. So simple and delicious.

Plenti Madrid by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

And the second had tomato sauce, mozzarella, pesto, black olives and cherry tomatoes… also excellent.

Plenti Madrid by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

We also tried the open sandwich (similar to a “tosta”) with guacamole, cherry tomato, green onion, and Greek yogurt – my idea of the perfect snack.

Plenti Madrid by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Lastly we had a fresh salad with cherry tomato, green onion, avocado, and celery. As you can see I have a weakness for avocado and this all hit the spot entirely.
Plenti Madrid by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

As for drinks, Plenti offers freshly squeezed juices, typical sodas from England, and excellent coffee. You also can’t miss out on the desserts that Sophie makes from scratch. We had the homemade flapjacks and banana cake, which reminded me so much of my grandma’s recipe.

Plenti Madrid by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

So folks, all I can say at this point is I’m happy to now have Plenti in Madrid, and know you will be too.

Photography by Jose Luis Magaña from A Second Art (Facebook & Instagram)

Info:




Museo Cerralbo, an art lover's dream house


If you’re looking to explore Madrid’s museum scene beyond the famous Prado and Reina Sofia, I recommend starting with Los Cinco Museos, five former mansions that are all perfectly restored and house outstanding art collections: Cerralbo, Lázaro Galdiano, Artes Decorativas, Sorolla and Romanticismo.

These five museums take you on a journey to a different era, allowing you to see and feel what life might have been like when they were occupied. While each one is worth visiting, Museo Cerralbo is my personal favorite. I’ve been here twice – first on my own and then on a guided tour – and both times I was blown away by the museum’s special charm.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Tucked away on a side street near Plaza de España and Templo Dubod, this museum is one of the former residences of the Marquis of Cerralbo, who lived here with his family in the 19th century. Today, everything remains exactly in tact, from the furniture and art pieces to the wall colors and lighting.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

As you walk through its many rooms and corridors, let your imagination run wild, picturing what life was like when this house was actually a home.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The Marquis was a well known archeologist and passionate art lover. He amassed a collection of art, furniture and objects from Spain and around the world that you can see in every nook and cranny. You’ll see beautiful paintings, mirrors, chandeliers and clocks dispersed throughout, and so much more.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The house has two floors. The first floor was where the family actually lived their normal lives, while the second floor is where you’ll find the extravagant ballroom and dining room, for example, that were meant to be shown off to guests.

WhatsApp Image 2017-05-13 at 18.47.31 (1)

Each particular room had a different purpose and decor, acting as a unique exhibition space. Here are a few examples.

The armor collection

After going up the gorgeous stairway (the house was actually designed to accommodate for a unique wooden banister), guests would step into the hallway displaying the Marquis’s armor collection. This is my favorite exhibit.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The ballroom

To the right of the armor collection you’ll find the stunning ballroom. I would certainly like to dance here one day…

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

As you can see, the Marquis was particularly fond of playing with lighting and mirrors to add as much depth to each room as possible. And not an inch of the house was left unadorned.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The library

The library features British-style decor and houses an impressive collection of books in several different languages, some dating back as far as the 15th century. Here you’ll also find one of the largest coin collections in Spain.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The billiard room

Right off the dining room you’ll find the billiard room. In that time, women weren’t expected to join in on the game, so there was a seating area designed just for them to watch as the men played.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Snapshots of more rooms and objects

There are so many little rooms and corridors to check out, each one providing a window into another era and giving your eyes plenty to marvel at. I don’t want to give away too much, so here are just a few more images to give you a glimpse of the Cerralbo Museum’s collection. But please don’t pass up the chance to see it in person!

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art
Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Photography by Jose Luis Magaña from A Second Art (Facebook & Instagram)

Info

  • WebsiteFacebook & Instagram
  • I highly recommend booking a guided tour in English, Spanish or French
  • Address: Calle Ventura Rodríguez, 17
  • Hours: Tues–Sat 9:30am-3pm; Thursday also from 5-8pm; Sundays and holidays from 10am-3pm
  • Metro: Plaza de España
  • Los Cinco Museos pass: if you want to visit all five of these former mansions turned museums, you can purchase a €12 pass called Los Cinco Museos at any of their ticket offices. The pass gives you unlimited access to all five museums for 10 days, and after that you can enter on Saturdays with a plus one for the rest of the year.

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Photo Contest – "Faces of the Rastro"


We at Naked Madrid launched a photo contest together with the Madrid-based art platform, A Second Art, and Boconó coffee shop from April 20-27, under the theme “Faces of the Rastro.”

The aim was to promote art in Madrid and get people even more excited about getting their cameras out, sharing their photos, and looking to capture the beauty of the Rastro flea market. It’s that simple.

And the result?

Photo contest Bocono Art Wall Naked Madrid A Second Art

Check out the six winning photos below along with a story behind each one. These photos are also featured on A Second Art in Spanish, as well as Boconó Art Wall (calle Embajadores, 3), a family-run specialty coffee shop in the heart of Madrid.

A warm congrats to the winners and a big thank you to all those who participated. We’ll be announcing new art projects soon, so stay tuned!

1) Mark Makepeace, US

Instagram: @marotta_make

Photo contest Madrid Rastro Naked Madrid and A Second Art

“Card Hawkers”

2) Chiara Giacobbe, Italy

Instagram: @chiaragiacobbe / Website: chiaragiacobbe.myportfolio.com

Photo contest Madrid Rastro Naked Madrid and A Second Art

This photo was taken on a sunny Sunday morning at the Rastro flea market. After a while walking in the market, this talented guy drew my attention in a second, so I decided to focus on him for my project. I have been attracted by his collection of various engines, all handmade with aluminum. Really interesting stuff, especially because many people was buying from him!

3) Marcos García, Spain (two photos)

Instagram: @mis_fotos_de_madrid / Email: marcos@casalderrey.com

Photo contest Madrid Rastro Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Wisdom acquired over the years changes the contents of your shopping cart.

Photo contest Madrid Rastro Naked Madrid and A Second Art

They had splendid pasts apart. Now they’re friends and live together wrapped up like babies in the shelter of the Rastro.

4) Leah Pattem, UK

Instagram: @rastrolife / Website: www.madridnofrills.com

Photo contest Madrid Rastro Naked Madrid and A Second Art

“I feel so lucky to live in the heart of El Rastro and witness a 400-year-old community of quirky characters going about their everyday lives. Sometimes it feels as though nothing has changed in all this time, especially when the local girls bust out their best moves to the flamenco blasting from the bar downstairs. El Rastro is a truly inspiring place, and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in the world.”

5) Jose Enrique Arias Valverde, Spain

Instagram: @e.arisval / Facebook: enrique.arisval

Photo contest Madrid Rastro Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The story behind this photo… the truth is that “it’s you.” I mean, I’ve never participated in a contest or anything. Nor the idea of going out to capture people on the street with my camera. I’m more used to studios and using models to take headshots. But since I discovered Boconó, I don’t know how to explain it… the air you breathe in your café and the good vibes you bring, is what motivated me to take a few walks around the Rastro this Sunday with my camera, and here’s the result.

 

If you want to see the Spanish-language version of the article, visit A Second Art!




Volunteer Opportunities in Madrid for Everyone


If you’re looking for ways to get involved in the Madrid community and help out – from donating clothes to teaching English in city jails – here are a few non-profit organizations recommended by international volunteers who live here. While some require long-term commitments and knowing Spanish, others can benefit from just a few hours of your time and have no language barriers.

So whether you’re new to the city or have very little spare time, there are plenty of ways to give back – even the smallest gesture can make a difference.

Casa Solidaria

While Madrid operates government-run food banks for its residents in need, there are many people who can’t take advantage of this service due to lack of paperwork. Casa Solidaria aims to fill this void, organizing volunteers who prepare food in their own homes and deliver to 150+ people in Plaza de Tirso de Molina every weekday at 8:30pm. Each person gets a hot meal, a sandwich and a piece of fruit.

One volunteer said: “For most of these people, this is their primary source of food for the day. Without this, they are at serious risk.” With no regular funding, the charitywhich also operates in Barcelona and Lleidais always always looking for volunteers and donations.

Robin Hood Restaurant

NPR

Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

Another noble organization feeding the hungry of Madrid is the Robin Hood restaurant on Calle Eguilaz. During the day, Robin Hood is run like a typical Spanish café. But by night, the chefs and waiting staff use the profits to feed Madrid’s most in need residents.

At this catholic charity-run eatery, the idea is to offer the homeless of Madrid not only their daily bread, but also the civility of dining at a restaurant. Father Ángel García Rodriguez told NPR, “I want them to eat with the same dignity as any other customer. And the same quality, with glasses made of crystal, not plastic, and in an atmosphere of friendship and conversation.” The restaurant is attracting the talents of celebrity chefs and staff from the city’s top hotels.

Support Robin Hood by dropping in for a bite to eatjust be sure to make a reservation first as it’s booking up months in advance.

CONCAES (Confraternidad Carcelaria Española)

CONCAES is a Madrid-based NGO that works to provide support to people affected by crime, whether they’re prisoners, victims or family members. One of their main initiatives is giving educational workshops for inmates, to provide or increase skills and help with rehabilitation. English classes are currently run in two different penitentiary centres and give inmates the opportunity to learn English, or improve their level with native teachers.

As a volunteer you are responsible for planning and leading the classes, while you are accompanied by other volunteers or coordinators. According to one volunteer, “It can be challenging at times but it is without a doubt the most rewarding thing that I’ve done since moving to Madrid. In my experience the students are very motivated and the classes have a great atmosphere. The English workshops take place on Friday mornings so it’s easy to combine with work. It can take a while between signing up and getting permission to enter the centres so this is definitely one for people who are in Madrid for more than a few months.”

Madrid for Refugees

ways to give back in Madrid by Naked Madrid

Madrid for Refugees is run by a group of international volunteers who work closely with refugee centers in the Comunidad de Madrid. Their main goal is to help refugees from all over the world to build a life for themselves here in the city, from finding housing to work. One way to support Madrid for Refugees is by attending a Chefugee event  – monthly dinners organized where the entire menu is prepared by a refugee seeking work opportunities in Madrid’s culinary scene. Other ways to get involved include donating clothes and doing language exchanges as well as running errands and being a chauffeur. You can also attend their fundraising events and concerts which are announced on the MfR Facebook page, and all benefits go to helping refugees.

Facebook & Website

Serve the City

Serve the City is an international volunteer movement that began in Brussels in 2005, and is now located in over 95 cities around the world. It aims to connect people with local opportunities and events in their cities, so they can show kindness in practical ways to people in need, including refugees, the homeless, orphans, victims of human trafficking, the disabled and the poor. Serve the City believes that even the smallest efforts can make a big difference, and we agree.

Website & Facebook

Know of any other organizations to add to this list? Let us know!




Chefugee, pop-up dinners featuring homemade cuisines from around the world


Chefugees are monthly dinners organized by Madrid for Refugees, where the entire menu is prepared by a refugee seeking work opportunities in Madrid’s culinary scene. Six events have been held so far, each with a different location and setting, featuring foods from Syria, the Ukraine and Venezuela. The upcoming dinner will be from Cameroon and if you want to attend (I highly recommend you do), you can book online, paying €25 in advance, all included.

Chefugee Dinner Madrid by A Second Art and Naked Madrid

Chefugee dinners are fun, warm and truly insightful events that allow you to try different foods from around the world and show your support in a unique way. They also provide an opportunity for the chefs to share their home country’s cuisine and traditions while showcasing their culinary skills. Following past events, chefs have been hired to work at restaurants and do private catering.

Chefugee Madrid dinner by A Second Art and Naked Madrid

The last Chefugee dinner was catered by a woman named Wesal from Hama, Syria. She prepared a full-on feast, complete with traditional appetizers, main dishes and desserts. We started out with dips such as hummus and baba ghanoush with pita bread, tabouleh and salad. The main dishes included rice with chicken, and vegetarian options. Everything was homemade, delicious and full of Middle Eastern flavors and spices. Not to mention the portions were generous – there were plenty of leftovers to go around.

Chefugee Madrid dinner by A Second Art and Naked Madrid

Dinner was served on the floor, with guests sitting on blankets and sharing dishes in the traditional way.

Chefugee Madrid dinner by A Second Art and Naked Madrid

The event was held at one of the volunteer’s homes. We all took our shoes off when we entered, laid our coats and bags down in the bedroom, and were then greeted in the hallway by our organizers, who offered us a glass of wine. We next walked into the living room and found a spot on the floor to sit down. The evening was very warm and casual, with about 30 guests from everywhere.

Chefugee Dinner Madrid by A Second Art and Naked Madrid

There was no formal speech at the end, just a friendly toast (in Spanglish) and a brief introduction about the event and Madrid for Refugees, so patrons can get involved and know more about it. At some events, the chefs like to come out and tell their story; while at others, the chefs prefer to stay more behind the scenes and let the food be the night’s main highlight.

Chefugee Dinner Madrid by A Second Art and Naked Madrid

If you have the chance to attend a future Chefugee event, trust me you’re in for a unique dining experience that’s well worth your while!

Madrid for Refugees: an active, hands-on community

MfR is run by a group of international volunteers who work closely with refugee centers in the Comunidad de Madrid. Their main goal is to help refugees from all over the world to build a life for themselves here in the city, from finding accommodation to work opportunities. All of the funds raised from MfR events and donations go towards helping refugees.

Get involved: events, clothes drives, language exchanges…

Attending a Chefugee event is a unique way of supporting MfR’s efforts. But there are plenty of other ways to get involved, from donating clothes and doing language exchanges to running errands and being a chauffeur. You can also attend their upcoming events, such as the fundraising benefit concert on April 20th, that MfR is joining with MASS to sponsor and host.

Contact info

All photos by Jose Luis Magaña – Instagram: @asecond.art / Facebook / asecondart.com

 




L'Artisan Furansu Kitchen, a Passionate Mix of Japanese and French Cuisine


Take the light, subtle flavors of Japan and the rich, expressive taste of France. Add the culinary artistry and craftsmanship of acclaimed chef, Stephane Shoji, and you’re in for a dining experience that’s nothing short of spectacular.

L'Artisan Furansu Kitchen by Jose Luis Magaña A Second Art 2

L’Artisan Furansu Kitchen offers a mix of traditional Japanese and contemporary French dishes, featured on a parallel – not fusion – menu. The 14€ menú del día (set lunch menu) changes daily, offering original creations that stay true to the restaurant’s dual heritage while featuring international touches, keeping patrons coming back for more on a regular basis.

Decor

A charming red door on an unassuming street in Barrio de Las Letras provides the first hint of L’Artisan’s unique character.

L'Artisan Furansu Kitchen by Jose Luis Magaña A Second Art 2

As you step inside, the simple decor imbues Japanese minimalism, with an unadorned bar area and a long table with the open kitchen in the back.

L'Artisan Furansu Kitchen by Jose Luis Magaña A Second Art 2

By contrast, downstairs you’ll find a warm, romantic atmosphere, with Japanese-inspired art and exposed brick walls that are typical of traditional Madrid cuevas.

Story

L’Artisan Furansu Kitchen was opened four years ago by Paris-born chef Stephane Shoji, who has both French and Japanese heritage. Shoji refined his culinary skills in kitchens around the world, before bringing his “passion project” to life in Madrid. In every dish he expresses his international culinary background and philosophy on cuisine as a craft that brings people together.

Cuisine

We went for dinner and followed our server’s recommendations wholeheartedly, dish by dish, wine by wine. While waiting for our starters we were given delicious tomato soup with an unexpected garnish – popcorn!

L'Artisan Furansu Kitchen by Jose Luis Magaña A Second Art 2

For starters, we ordered the ají no tataki, mackerel tartare with green onion, ginger and aubergine caviar. It was so light and refreshing, the kind of dish I’d order every time and never get tired of.

L'Artisan Furansu Kitchen by Jose Luis Magaña A Second Art 2

We also had the oh-so-rich buta no kakuni, soft pork belly slow cooked for 12 hours in sweet soy sauce. The meat was extremely tender and served in broth that retained all its flavor.

L'Artisan Furansu Kitchen by Jose Luis Magaña A Second Art 2

For entrees, we tried the oven-roasted butterfish marinated in saikyo miso which was our favorite dish of the night – simply out of this world.

L'Artisan Furansu Kitchen by Jose Luis Magaña A Second Art 2

We also had the lamb chops offered as a special that night. I just don’t think you can go wrong with any dish here.

L'Artisan Furansu Kitchen by Jose Luis Magaña A Second Art 2

For dessert we ordered the apple crumble which came highly recommended. A happy silence came over our table as we took the first bite. No words necessary, just go and try it!

L'Artisan Furansu Kitchen by Jose Luis Magaña A Second Art 2

Photography by Jose Luis Magaña from A Second Art (@asecond.art)

Restaurant info

  • Facebook
  • Website 
  • Instagram@lartisanmadrid
  • Address: Calle Ventura de la Vega 15
  • Reservations: reservaslartisan@gmail.com
    +34 91 4203172
    +34 626 792 905



Boconó Art Wall, Madrid-based photography by "A Second"


About three weeks ago I went into a new specialty coffee shop in La Latina, Boconó, and ordered a cortado to go. The next time I stopped in, I had the chance to sit down with the owner, Carlos, and my friend, José Luis, who happens to be a regular Boconó customer. Our conversation gave me plenty to write about for a first post on Naked Madrid, but there’s so much more to the story!

Bocono Coffee Shop Madrid by Naked Madrid

What do you do with a big white wall?

As we were talking, we couldn’t help but notice the blank wall in need of attention. José Luis, who’s a photographer, took out his phone and started snapping photos of coffee cups located around the café, adding filters and creating unique images. One thing led to another, and we all agreed we should transform that floor-to-ceiling canvas into a photo gallery.

Then…

Bocono Coffee Shop Madrid

Now

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The process

It took José Luis, Andrea (another friend) and I over a week to get it all set up. I couldn’t possibly count how many hours we’ve spent in Boconó’s basement cutting paper, fitting photos and tinkering with random bits of material. Nor how many trips we’ve taken to the print shop and hardware store. Not to mention how many picture frames we bought, and how many we broke…

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

And today, as I look at the wall, I see so much more than beautiful artwork on display. I see the entire creative process that went on behind it, from the first day we sat down with Carlos at his café and pitched the idea, to the way the photos catch your eye even as you walk down the street and peer through Boconó’s window.

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

It’s thrilling to see how that seemingly random idea is now something real.

Boconó Art Wall

No longer a big white wall, Bocono Art Wall has become a showcase for local Madrid artists. Come and enjoy your coffee and take a look at the featured exhibits which will change monthly. If you’re an artist and want your work to be showcased, get in touch with A Second on Facebook.

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Current exhibit – A Second / Art

The first installation features the images shot at Boconó itself – photos that capture the essence of its coffee, ambience and the neighborhood. All photos are by José Luis Magaña, creator of A Second, a Madrid-based platform meant to create, inspire and share art projects in the city (show some support by liking the Facebook and Instagram pages, please!).

A Second Art by José Luis Magña photography Madrid

More to come

Thank you, Carlos, for your generosity and openness to create a space that supports artists in your café. We look forward to collaborating with you on the Boconó Art Wall and other art-related projects that are currently in the works.

Stay with us as we announce upcoming exhibits, as well as other venues in the near future!

Info

  • #boconoartwall
  • Where: Boconó Specialty Coffee Shop (calle Embajadores, 3)
  • Who: @bocono.coffee @asecond.art @nakedmadrid
  • When: February 17, ’17 (ongoing)

Also read our full article on Boconó, a Specialty Coffee Shop in Plaza de Cascorro