Tag Archives: Barcelona

Barcelona Digested: Food for Foodies

And so comes the end of my Barcelona digestion. The recap of everything there is to love about Mercat de la Boqueria, how chocolate is central to Catalonia and where to go when you want to eat like a local, can only be ended with a summary of the places you must visit if you’re someone like me. Someone who takes more pictures of her food, than any 15th century painting or statue. The best thing about Barcelona is its astounding mix of traditional and avant garde — for that reason, it might just be one of my top 10 favorite cities to eat in.

Tapac 24 {Tapas and Great Breakfast | L’Eixample}
Tapas bar of acclaimed chef Carles Abellan, owner of Comerc 24. Great place to grab a full breakfast if you’re craving more than a typical croissant or boccadillo. It’s just off Passeig de Gracia, so an easy stop in this area before or after you check out the block of discord and Gaudi’s famous architecture. I had the most delightfully crispy edged egg, with a gooey yolk that ran all over a pile of roasted potatoes and chorizo. Um, yes. Why don’t they eat more breakfasts like this in Barcelona?

Breakfast at Tapac 24

Federal {Australian Farm-Fresh & Great Breakfast | Poble Sec}
Poble Sec is a new up and coming area, and is home to some of the best new restaurants {Ferran Adria of El Builli fame just opened Tickets and 41º here}. Federal is Australian-owned and serves an amazing full breakfast, which is hard to find in Boccadillo-loving Barcelona. The kitchen closes at 4pm on Sunday and there is always a wait, so plan to get there no later than 3pm. I had the most amazing coconut-banana bread w/ honey labne and a free-range egg with a yolk the color of a setting sun. Amazing.

Coconut-Banana bread with labne honey

Free range eggs straight from heaven

ABaC {High-End Dining |Tibidabo}
ABaC is the Per Se of Barcelona. Very quiet dining, inventive cuisine, extremely attentive service.  This should be on any high-end dining list and is worth every penny. I’d tell you everything I ate, but would ruin the surprise — just know that there was frozen “lipstick” involved.

ABaC: Maresme peas royal with Iberian consommé and citrics, barnacles and sea cucumber

La Botifarreria de Santa Maria {Spanish Meat Market | Born}
If you’re looking to smuggle some acorn-fed Iberico ham, Serrano ham or sausages in your suitcase, this is your place. If meat is what you’re looking for, come here and take in all the varieties — there’s even a Coca-Cola infused sausage.

Cured Meat!

Honey and Cheese Market {Market}
Stop by this market every other Friday and Saturday outside the Santa Maria del Pi church. Another great place to pick up some local goods for gifts — sample honey from eucalyptus, thyme, oranges, lavender, you name it and pair it perfectly with some delicious local goat and sheep’s cheeses.

Hone and Cheese Market

Other previous written-up foodie favs:

Cacao SampakaArtisanal Chocolates to die for

Mercat de La Boqueria The best market on the planet. Clearly, since it’s in every Barcelona Digestion that I wrote.

Everything you want to read about Barcelona:
Barcelona Digested: Hang with the Locals – Cava and Cafe Catalonian Style
Barcelona Digested: Chocolate Central
Barcelona Digested: Mercat de La Boqueria
recipe goodness :: barcelona favorite recreated | balsamic chick pea salad

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Barcelona Digested: Hang with the Locals – Cava and Cafe Catalonian Style

Barcelona: Where the locals go

When I travel, I want to know where the locals hang out.  What’s the best bite in town?  Where do they go to grab a drink?  How do they spend their Saturday afternoons.  Of course I’m sure there is some overlap with where the non-local, tourist types visit as well, but in an effort to sum up the recs I got, tried and loved, here’s a list of favs to get your cava and cafe con leche Catalonian style.

El Xampanyet {Cava & Tapas Bar | La Ribera}
Must do. A fantastic cava and tapas bar, serving the bubbly in ‘50s style champagne glasses. Hang out with locals standing at the bar for a few bites before going out. Family-owned since 1929, it has both good energy and an historical air that makes trying a bite of this and a bite of that, that much more enjoyable. Its bright fluorescent lighting gives it the feel of an old-school NYC Jewish deli, serving up great food in an unpretentious setting. And since the Catalonians like to come and go frequently, the people watching never stops.

El Xampanyet

Mercat de La Boqueria {Food Market | Barri Gotic}
It’s on every list. Stop here to eat what you see. Mounds of beautiful fruit, roasted nuts, chocolates galore. Also fun to admire the fresh seafood, chickens with their crown still on and even a few lambs heads w/ eyeballs – no prepackaged grocery store cuts here. Go early and enjoy watching the owners set up shop or eat at two of the best food counters in the market before it gets too crowded with tourists {Pinotxo or El Quim}.

Piles and Piles of Sweet Goodness

Pinotxo {Coffee & Tapas Bar | Barri Gotic, in La Boqueria}
A tiny family run bar, but the owner is one of the most well known in Barcelona. Go early for breakfast (9am), ask for the specials and hang with the owner and other market locals who stop in for a quick coffee and bite before the rush of the day begins.

Pinotxo

Meson del Café {Coffee Bar | Barri Gotic}
Tiny 100-year old café with delicious picardia (coffee w/ condensed milk and whiskey). It’s small and kitschy, which makes it a great place to perch and people watch while reenergizing.

Meson del Cafe Picardia {mmm}

Cal Pep {Seafood Tapas | Born}Great tapas bar known for their fresh seafood. Cal welcomes his patrons with his raspy voice and personal recommendations. It’s diner style seating with an impressive line-up of waiting patrons along the wall, but the distraction of watching the excitement behind the counter will keep you entertained.

Cal and his team

Fresh Clams from Cal Pep

Quimet y Quimet {Tapas Bar | Poble Sec}
Small little tapas bar where you rub elbows {literally} with the locals in a small, standing room only space. The walls are attractively lined with bottles of wine and spirits and the bar showcases all the tapas basics. Inventive combos still rely on the traditional canned food items, but stack up bites like roasted pepper, cream cheese, canned crab, langoustine, caviar, drizzled in balsamic, olive oil for a sensational snack. Also try the dried beef with truffle oil and olive tapenade.

Um, Yes Please. Thank you Quimet y Quimet!

How could you say no to these tapas?

Can Manel la Puda {Paella Outdoor Cafe | Barcelonata}
Excellent paella along a café strip in Barcelonata. This is the perfect Saturday afternoon destination to enjoy a glass {or bottle} of cava and some of the most delicious, fresh seafood paella I have ever had. This is how the locals spend their weekends — a lifestyle I could get used to rather quickly.

Outdoor Paella Cafes in Barcelonata

The right way to spend a Saturday afternoon

More Barcelona Digested:
Barcelona Digested: Chocolate Central
Barcelona Digested: Mercat de La Boqueria
recipe goodness :: barcelona favorite recreated | balsamic chick pea salad

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Barcelona Digested: Chocolate Central

When you hear the phrase “spanish cuisine,” it’s likely your first associated thoughts are about tapas, paella, or maybe even Iberico ham. But you should not discount how central chocolate is to the Barcelona food scene. Almost every cafe and even several bars I visited prominently displayed churros and hot chocolate on their menu {a tempting departure from bar nuts}. Artisanal chocolate shops can be found on nearly every winding road. One of my favorite stands at La Boqueria had no less than 100 different bite-sized chocolate confections to savor. And one of the main architectural must-sees, Casa Amatller, was once home to a wealthy family that made their money in the chocolate business. Heck, there’s even a museum dedicated entirely to chocolate. If you are a chocoholic, Barcelona is your city — xocolata bites below…

Cacao Sampaka {SHOP & CAFE | L’Eixample}
Albert Adria
{brother of El Bulli legend, Ferran Adria} may be known for his newly acclaimed Tickets and 41º restaurant and bar combo, but his passion is actually chocolates and Cacao Sampaka is his workshop. It’s only a short walk from the “block of discord” {Casa Amatller, Casa Batllo, Casa Lleo Morera, La Pedrera} and definitely worth the visit, whether you’re looking to pick up a gift or just savor some of the best chocolate bites from cocoa nibs to handcrafted truffles. There’s a cafe in back, but I couldn’t even make it past the walls and tables that allured me with beautiful packaging and inventive flavors. I would have taken some pictures, but I got my hand slapped when I tried. Next best thing: buy some for yourself, be delighted by each perfect little square and then take a picture of the box.

Cacao Sampaka

Casa Amatller {SITE | L’Eixample}

Chocolate Carvings

To the left of Casa Batllo {a Gaudi must-see}, this house has equally as interesting modernist architecture to check out {and it’s free in contrast to the hefty entrance fee at Gaudi’s Casas}. The stonework of this house alludes to the chocolate business and hobbies of the original owners and a small museum inside tells the history of their chocolate trade. When you first walk in, be sure to check out the stonework depicting a monkey making, eating and, ahem, digesting his chocolate {photo to the left}.

Casa Amatller

Mercat de La Boqueria {SHOP | Barri Gotic}
Amongst all the amazing fresh fruits and vegetables, there are also several chocolatiers displaying truffles and chocolate candies in practically any flavor combo you can dream up. I counted over 100 different handcrafted specialties at this stand, which is the first one you’ll see when you enter La Boqueria. Grab a bag, a set of tongs and start nibbling.

Chocolate at La Boqueria

Escriba {SHOP & CAFE | Barri Gotic}
Right outside La Boqueria, this pastry shop sells artisanal chocolates and is known for its Easter cakes and chocolate sculptures. There’s also a small cafe in back, where you can snack on any number of their delights {by now you may be in need of a savory bite to offset all this chocolate — try their outstanding Jamon Iberico croissant}.

Escriba

Cal Pep {RESTAURANT | Born}
One of the best meals I had in Barcelona was at this tiny diner-style, small plates casual seafood restaurant. But it wouldn’t be a complete meal without dessert — Cal’s version of churros and chocolate take the form of doughnut-round churros drenched in a liqueur-spiked, warm chocolate sauce. Delish.

Churros and Chocolate

Museu de la Xocolata {MUSEUM & CAFE | Born}
If you really have your heart set on seeing large sculptures entirely made out of chocolate, add this to your list. I did not find it entirely worth the trip, but for a mere 4euro and a free chocolate bar as your entrance ticket, there’s not much to lose in planning a quick 30 minute stroll through the exhibit. Yes, that is a chocolate version of Sagrada Familia.

Chocolate Sagrada Familia

More Barcelona Digested:
Barcelona Digested: Mercat de La Boqueria
recipe goodness :: barcelona favorite recreated | balsamic chick pea salad
Barcelona Digested: Hang with the Locals – Cava and Cafe Catalonian Style

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recipe goodness :: barcelona favorite recreated | balsamic chick pea salad

balsamic chick pea salad

I had this dish at an amazing little tapas bar called Pinotxo in Barcelona’s Mercat de La Boqueria. I went for breakfast, so I didn’t expect to be served such a savory, delightful combination of flavors at 9am, but delightful it was! After conversing with my minimal spanish and a lot of hand gestures, the sweet and lively owner, dished up a warm combination of flavors — chick peas, brightened by the parsley with a great balsamic tanginess that just put this simple, but amazing dish over the top. You certainly can eat this breakfast, but it will also make for a great side salad or protein rich entree.

Barcelona Balsamic Chick Pea Salad

Serves 4-6

2 oz ground beef
2 cans unsalted chick peas, drained
2 scallions diced
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
Black pepper to taste
Olive oil for drizzling
Balsamic for drizzling
Fleur de sel to taste

In a large pan break up ground beef to very tiny pieces and brown just until not pink. Add scallions to pan for 1 minute to release fragrance and soften slightly. Add drained chick peas to pan and add black pepper to taste. Stir to combine and remove from heat, transferring to a serving bowl. Drizzle with good olive oil and lightly drizzle some good balsamic. Sprinkle generously with fleur de sel and enjoy! Serve warm or at room temperature.

The Original Inspirational Dish:

Amazing Chick Pea Breakfast from Pinotxo

More from Barcelona:
Barcelona Digested: Mercat de La Boqueria
Barcelona Digested: Chocolate Central
Barcelona Digested: Hang with the Locals – Cava and Cafe Catalonian Style

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Barcelona Digested: Mercat de La Boqueria

Mercat de La Boqueria

There is so much to write about the Barcelona food scene — it is arguably one of the top eating destinations in Europe with a mouth-watering balance of traditional and cutting edge restaurants, cafes and shops to eat your way through. In an effort to fully digest my week in Barcelona, I set out to categorize the best dining experiences and quickly noticed Mercat de La Boqueria was on all of my lists. It is a not only a place to find beautifully vibrant produce, locally sourced butcher stands and mounds of fresh-off-the-boat seafood, but it’s a specialty foodies dream, where one can seek out Iberico cured ham, artisanal chocolates, regional olive oils and spices. La Boqueria even houses a few legendary tapas bars that come highly recommended and are visited by locals. It is a place to eat what you see, buy gifts that will be reminiscent of Barcelona and explore the heart of Catalonian cuisine the way Catalonians do. Deservedly, Mercat de La Boqueria gets its own post.

A picture is worth a thousand words:

Fresh Seafood

Perfect Produce

Piles of Fruita

Sweet Mandarin Oranges

Artisanal Chocolates

The Land of Fruits and Nuts

Once Happy Chickens

My New Goat Friend

Where to Eat @La Boqueria:

If you’re interested in grabbing a bite of prepared food, I highly recommend paying an early morning breakfast visit {9am} to Pinotxo or El Quim de la Boqueria., two petite walk-up establishments that have no more than 10 bar stools at the bar. Showing up before the masses only adds to the experience, as you can have a quiet one-on-one chat with the owners and taste some of the most unique creations that aren’t always available when the market is abuzz with visitors. You’ll understand how special this early morning hour is when you visit the market midday and struggle to not bump elbows.

My Other New Friend and Infamous Owner of Pinotxo

The Next Pinotxo Generation Serving Up Egg Tortilla

Amazing Chick Pea Breakfast

Mercat de La Boqueria Must-Do Tips:

 

  • Go early (9am) to watch all the purveyors set up each nut, chocolate and fig, to perfectly present their bounty. The quiet of the early morning hour is spectacular in contrast to the midday buzz — the best way to take it all in.
  • Breakfast or Lunch at Pinotxo — A tiny tiny family run bar, but the owner is one of the most well known in Barcelona. Good things come in small packages. Go early (9am-ish) and ask for the specials to avoid the rush.
  • Breakfast or Lunch at El Quim de la Boqueria – Quim has been at the helm of this kiosk bar for the last 20+ years. It’s a place for fresh seafood and high-end tapas.
  • Buy some goods and make yourself a picnic to take to Park Guell for an outdoor lunch overlooking the Barcelona sprawl.
  • Things to try: exotic fruit, bite-sized chocolates, horchata, anything your heart desires!

More Pictures to Devour:

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And More Barcelona to Digest:
recipe goodness :: barcelona favorite recreated | balsamic chick pea salad

Barcelona Digested: Chocolate Central
Barcelona Digested: Hang with the Locals – Cava and Cafe Catalonian Style

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