After being gone three of the last four weeks I can honestly say I’m excited to be home. I’m already missing our time in Barcelona but it was definitely nice to get a full night of sleep in my own bed! And luckily for me, re-counting some of the amazing food highlights from the trip will keep the excitement going…
I’ve always been known as a bit of a planner. Some of our friends used to call me the “camp counselor” in College and there is no better example of this from when we would go out to eat. But after years of menu research and review scouring I’ve learned to be more relaxed, especially when I’m traveling. It’s good to look up some of the famous spots or the hidden gems before visiting a new city but organizing your schedule around eating can be a bit overwhelming (that is unless you are going to New Orleans). That being said I did almost zero research prior to our trip to Barcelona and would be a liar if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous. After all, I do sorta love to eat…in case you hadn’t realized.
But after meeting Em late Wednesday night and roaming the Barri Gotic, we stumbled upon a cute little tapas bar and kicked off the trip with the classics. Patatas bravas, mussels cooked in white wine, an assortment of olives, and grilled bread rubbed with fresh tomatoes. Everything was fresh and delicious and it was then clear, eating would not be of concern.
The next morning, prior to heading out for some exploration and a few pastries (delicious!), I was determined to map out a few spots for the remainder of the trip. I guess I’ll never fully get rid of the camp counselor in me! But I think Em would agree that this is probably a good thing.
Roaming the Santa Caterina market for our picnic lunch at Freixenet was absolutely one of the highlights. These types of markets full of fresh seafood, cured meats, prepared dishes, fruit, cheese, and just about everything else, with unbelievable quality truly resonate with me. And how damn good does the Jamon Iberico look! Trust me it tasted even better with fat that melted in your mouth.
We also made our way to La Bombeta which had caught my attention while wandering through Barceloneta the first night we went out. This place wasn’t much to look at, which is why I was sure it must be a local spot as it was packed to the brim. After another quick google search (gotta love the internet) my suspicions were confirmed and we made it a priority to chow down on their tapas. Las Bombas (lightly fried mashed potato balls) with a spicy aioli were flat-out unbelievable. Sounds so simple, but these had some real complexity to them in flavor. With some Spanish Chorizo and Galician Octopus (slices of octopus with paprika and amazing olive oil) the food was a perfect complement to the fantastic sangria!
Speaking of which, we probably drank all of Barcelona’s Sangria so I’d probably hold off on visiting until they re-stock. But in all seriousness we were addicted to the bold flavor and simplistic approach to almost of the Sangrias we tried. With only sliced lemons and sometimes oranges floating in the dark red pitcher, it was the wine that played the key role here, and not crappy fruit or sweetness. That is everywhere but Opium Bar on the water. I know, you’re probably saying to yourself, “well serves your right for going to a place called Opium Bar”, but we had an excuse! Our table down the beach was not ready so we decided a quick drink would do us right. Too bad we chose probably the worst place in Barcelona; the only thing we regretted from the entire trip.
Phew, now that I got that off my chest, on to more deliciousness! Another amazing spot we found was Buenas Migas for breakfast. While I’m all about pastries once in a while for breakfast, I need a bit more substance to get my day going. This focacceria offered an unbelievable selection of these delicious topped focaccia (mine with white sausage and onions) as well as a bunch of other goodies. This would definitely be my regular stop if I lived there!
And finally, the last thing I have to mention (until I think of more) is of course the paella. While you’ll notice we took quite a traditional Spanish approach to our meals, I wasn’t quite expecting the level of deliciousness these rice dishes offered. I’ve had it in the states and I’ve attempted them on my own but they always end up heavy, salty, and boring. The two we tried (at Agua and at Can Majo in Barceloneta) were not only both delicious they were extremely different. One packed with artichokes, cuttle fish, and shrimp and the other full of amazing shellfish. These were both home runs!
Crap, remember when I said I was thrilled to be home…I could go for a few more slices of jamon and a few more las bombas. I wonder if they deliver?