Thursday, June 01, 2006

5/31/2006 10:55am...Bacelona
Does it get any better than this?:

Almost 11:00am in Barcelona, and just tucking into this mid-morning snack of churros con suizo, which is essentially these long fried pastries dipped into what has to be the BEST hot chocolate I've ever had. More than hot chocolate, really. More like a daaaark chocolate syrup, slightly thinned, and all too sexy. It's beautiful, warm, sunny....the perfect day to hunt for Gaudi!
Let's see, what has transpired since my bedspread rant?
Arrived in Barcelona yesterday afternoon, checked in to the Hotel Lloret, a wonderfully situated hotel a the top of the Ramblas, the ancient shopping street of Barcelona that even though it is swarming with tourists, still retains that sense of history. My first stop, of course, is the famous La Boqueria food market right off the Ramblas. Imagine any food market you've ever been in. Imagine it on steroids and pulsing with life and vibrating with color. Hundreds of vendors selling everything and anything you could possibly want to cook! Just inside the entrance, I grabbed a quick seat at Bar Pinotxo, not only a very sweet little bar with a mere twelve seats, but considered among the best restaurants/tapas bars in town. Started with a perfectly chilled glass of rosado and a plate of langoustines, large sea shrimp, that as the cook behind the counter showed me were still alive right up to the moment he dropped them on the grill. Fabulous! Then had a small plate of perhaps twelve mussels, topped with an olive oily vinaigrette/mignonette. Again, they were amazing. The perfect light lunch to carry me through the day.
Wandered for hours, through the Ramblas and the Barri Gotic, the old Gothic quarter of Barcelona, walking its narrow, twisting streets. Then went back to the Lloret for a post-travel, pre-cocktail bath. Feeling very refreshed, got dressed to check out the Bar Boada's, right across the street from my hotel. An absolute classic, liike being thrown backk abou 60 years. A tiny, wedge shaped room, the Boada's is thought of as the city's best cocktail bar, and was founded in 1933 by ex-Havana barman Miguel Boada. The mixologists behind the bar still wear the white shirts withblack vests and black bow ties they've been wearing for decades. Can you say mojito? Well, they certainly can, and my mojito was perfection! I just couldn't leave at that, and in this bar it only seemed appropriate to have a martini, so out came the Tanqueray, and the show alone was worth it. Pouring back and forth between two shakers, this was everything I could hope my favorite elixir could be. And unlike the giant, four ounce plus concoctions that we see at home, these are poured into the classic 2-1/2 to 3 ounce glasses that were the traditional cocktail glass back in the day. With that lovely beginning glow, I wandered down the Ramblas in search of Agostina's, in the Gotic.Perhaps it was that olive in the martini that threw me off, but it took me a bit to find this place. But once I did, it was well worth the hunt. I had three plates of tapas, all superb. I didn't have my camera, so no pics, but let me try and describe them. A plate of Jamon Catalunya, a house specialty, which was six two inch slices of ham on top of a piece of potato, the whole drizzled with olive oil and lightly sprinkled with paprika. Then a plate of six grilled sardines, again so fresh and salty good, each about 5 inches long. A little fire , some olive oil, a dash of fresh parsley, and a few drops of lemon juice....what couuld be simpler, or bettter? And then, when I saw this, I knew I had to try it...foie gras on apples, which sounds so simple and tasted SO incredible. Slices of granny smith apples, topped with a generous portion of foie gras, and that drizzled with a balsamic/fig juice, really nothing more needs to be said. I can't even think of adjectives to describe this...even my favorite "f-cking awesome" doesn't do this justice. With that, a couple of glasses of rosado, and this body was ready for bed.
Okay, so now it's the next morning, have already been to the Boqueria, had a breakfast of stewed garbanzos with pine nuts, raisins, and blood sausage crumbled in it. Here's a picture...pardon the camera strap...amatuer hour with the camera!

My new favorite morning treat! Washed down with a café con leche, then wandered the market. I could spend hours here. I have a few pictures below. Then back to the hotel to grab the computer, to La Pallaresa for the churros, and now you are right there with me. More later!

Beautiful pieces of tuna above!

What are you having for dinner tonight?! I told you that you could get anything here......ha!!
With all due apologies to the Rolling Stones, Goat's Head Soup anyone??

1 comment:

Barry D said...

You're killing me with all the fantastic culinary wanderings. And by the way, couldn't Gaudi afford a T square? What is it with all that curvy crap? And one more thing - finish that church already. Great to hear that you are soaking it all it. Happy travels, Barry D