This holiday is running away too quickly. As all holidays I guess. It is great not to wake up thinking about work but what are we having for breakfast.
We flew into Barcelona from London and was greeted by our Airbnb super hosts – Ron, Tadaaki and their super awesome dog, Danko. I am not sure why I did not take any photos of Danko but he is too lovable for words. The four of us headed out for dinner at one of their neighbourhood local called Romesco. It is as local as you can get. The food here is cheap but super delicious. Order a protein and you can a choice of fries, salad or these charred peppers. Mister had the pork hock and it is super tender, super moorish.
Where do I start with Barcelona? I love walking and getting lost in the winding alleys of Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. It reminds of scenes from Romeo and Juliet. There is so much history and touching these walls, it inspires me to learn more about its history. When you walk these alleys, remember to look up at the street lamps and the stone cravings.
To be honest, I got a little frustrated when I visited both markets – La Boqueria and Santa Catalina. There is too much to see, try and ask questions. There was the freshest sweet breads, goat’s head, rabbit, all sorts of offal, all sorts of fishes that I want to try, cheeses, candies, olive oil, Jamón ibérico, salted cod, dried fruits, cured meats and the list goes on and on. It was quite painful walking through the markets and not having the opportunity to try everything that I want to try! For the vegetarians, please turn away. Why don’t we have produce as fresh as this? Look how shiny are those healthy liver? I can’t stand it! Totally envious of the Spaniards.
On top of the lovely and super fresh produce, they have awesome counter service food stalls. Our first breakfast stop is in the infamous El Quim which is located inside La Boqueria. The stall number starts with 4 so find it in the 400 row of the La Boqueria. There are only 18 seats so be prepared to wait if you have to. We ordered a frittata and the 2 fried eggs with squid. It is to die for and will have to replicate this back home. But where do I find such fresh baby squid? This is crazy. I am drooling at the thought of this beautiful dish. Be warn, this food stall is not cheap. This dish has set us back at €18.
Our second breakfast of the day was at the Pinotxo Bar that has bee highlighted in Antony Bourdain’s trip to Barcelona and in many travel guides and blog posts. It was our second breakfast or brunch of the day. We had razor clams, salted cod and pimentos. The chickpeas is very popular with lots of the local but I can’t have too much chickpeas. No explanation required. :/ Super fresh and be prepared to queue as well. This is located at the edge of the market. Also there is no menu, so just point to order.
There was pintxos bar everywhere we went. It is most likely from one central kitchen as many serves the same. Just try a couple but please do not have them in the evening. The bread has turned soggy and it is not fresh anymore. Depending where you are, it costs from €1.50 - €1.95 each. This particular one is my favourite. It’s a crab meat with tuna and topped with pickled chilli, olives and cherry tomato.
I had lots of cava which is usually about €2 and lots of Sangria. My favourite place for Sangria is in one of the little tight alleys in the Gothic Quarter called the Salterio. They do have a large range of tea and is also famous for its pita sardos which is like a pita bread sandwich. Very delicious and very vegetarian. The sangria here is amazing. Lots of yummy fruits and definitely not diluted as served by many around the area. It is definitely a gem that one finds by getting lost in the alleys.
I became obsessed with the graffiti on the doors and taken many different ones.
We were also fortunate enough to get a table at Tickets. This place is opened by Ferran Adria and his brother Albert. We had a seat at the bar and got to see lots of action. I have to admit that the food is good but isn’t mind blowing. One of the more interesting dish is the surf and turf. The sea snails is the surf portion and below is the turf which is a very very flavourful chicken broth. Exquisite! We had a total of about 10 – 12 dishes (I can’t count) and a bottle of wine for about €130.
We did not just eat. To walk off the food that we ate, we did some touristy stuff like indulging ourselves in the world of Gaudi. This photo is taken at Park Güell. Does it reminds you off Alice in Wonderland?
Famished, we headed to Quimet & Quiment. There will be a separate post about this but if you are ever in Barcelona, please do yourself a favour and check this place out. The walls are lined with all sort of delicious alcohol. The counter is filled with delicious morsels of stuff to go with delicious alcohol. Come here for the montaditos and drink cava by the litre! This is one of my favourite – Sea urchin with anchovies and green olives. To die for.
Our visit to Barcelona coincided with La Merce which is an annual festival in the city of Barcelona. It is a four day event that includes concerts, lots of different programs, parades and a highlight called the Correfoc.
Correfoc means ‘fire runs’. It is pretty insane. There are people that dressed in ‘devil’ outfits or rather in black and red. They run around with firecrackers which they spin around and you can choose to run under the umbrella of fire. Or just stand aside to watch. It is quite dangerous as the fireworks used are quite medieval. My airbnb host offered his old sweatshirt. I wore my jeans as well. And I ran under the umbrella of fire. The whole idea is to grab the guy spinning and run in circles with him. Watch the instagram video that I’ve taken to give you an idea of what correfoc is. Some punters even have goggles on! This has to be one of the highlight of the trip.
The other tapas place that I really love is called Bar Del Pha. It’s a cook to order menu which is what we wanted. I love everything on the menu except I don’t have the stomach space or enough to try the whole menu. This tripes dish is amazing. Packed with lots of flavour and I had one too many tomato bread with it. Mister have an observation and I believe that he is onto something. He says that you can’t go wrong with a place that serves excellent tomato bread.
We could not leave Barcelona without trying this crazy delicious pastry – Xuixo. It is super buttery (or lardy), super flaky and then stuffed with Catalan creme. O M G! I feel my ass expanding when I eat it but who cares! I might have to roll up my sleeves and bake some of these babies. Must try if you are in Barcelona.
There is so many more stories but this is Barcelona in nutshell. When I get a chance, I will start writing about Mallorca. It’s an island of seafood, paella and beautiful beaches.