And we’ve finally made it to the wrap-up of odd and ends of eating and tromping through Barcelona. It’s been quite the week, right?
Because Primavera Sound ran from 6 pm to 6 am, we spent those days sleeping in as long as possible, waking up for lunch (and sometimes running to get lunch before the restaurants closed for their midday break), exploring a little, dealing with emails, napping, and then going to the festival. It was pretty one-tracked during those days. So most of this post recaps what we ate and saw during the sleep-deprived, music-soaked long weekend of Primavera Sound.
Most mornings (er, afternoons), I’d actually drink one tiny cup of espresso to get me through the day. Strong with a little bit of froth, these espressos are gold for that burning the midnight oil shift we pulled. Plus it gave me time to update photos to Instagram while I enjoyed it in a coffee shop. You know how that goes.
The night we returned to Barcelona from Montserrat, G & I were not only famished (that little ham sandwich didn’t do much for a full day of hiking in the sun–the warmest day we had in Barcelona, actually, thankfully), but we were a little tapas-ed out. So we entered in random foods we craved into the Trip Advisor app and actually ended up having the best meal of the trip at this tiny Ethiopian restaurant in the Sants neighborhood.
The server at Addis Abeba not only served some of the best Ethiopian food I’ve ever eaten, but also treated us like royalty for some reason (hey, we’ll take it). Because we were so early to dinner (read: famished after hiking all day) it was a little awkward, but our server was very good at being attentive yet not too much so. Major props to him for that.
We ordered the tasting menu which was an absolute ridiculous steal at 16€ each for a huge portion of food and a bottle of wine. Favorites of mine were pumpkin, lentils, and beef. Loved the cabbage dish and the spinach/greens one as well too. I also loved that the menu was weighted more to vegetables (vegan, too, I believe) than meat. The injera, of course, was delicious.
The crazy thing, though, was that our server kept giving us food and drinks beyond the menu and didn’t charge us for them. I have no idea why. He insisted that we have some tea (very herbal and spiced), some of their house made yogurt (mine with honey was incredible–the yogurt was almost savory it was so tangy and then the honey just gave it the slightest earthy sweetness)–, a slice of carrot cake, and then a shot of Amarula, a fruit-based cordial like Kahlua, but made with the marula fruit from South Africa. I have no idea why he was so nice to us or why he gave us so much food (the camera? I tried to take pictures when he wasn’t in the dining room…), but everything was delicious and if I had the chance to go back I’d pay for all of it to have it again. That yogurt, I’m dreaming of it still.
Another non-Spanish meal (lunch) was had at Piazza Grande in the Poblenou neighborhood by our hotel. G, for some reason, was craving pizza and he said Trip Advisor rated the restaurant highly. I found it to be a little over priced, but I really enjoyed the goat cheese salad (was definitely craving greens at this point). A huge chunk of gooey goat cheese was served on top of a bed of mixed greens and walnuts with honey and olive oil drizzled on top. So simple. So good.
The pizza–prosciutto and mushroom–wasn’t bad either. A thin, crispy crust with a simple sauce of tomatoes (not herbal or spiced) with only a thin dusting of cheese. Almost more like a thin flat bread than the kind of pizza we have in the US. But I did like it for that simplicity and pureness of ingredients.
The area around the hotel was naturally where we spent most of our time wandering during these weird, sleepy afternoons. But it was impossible to tire of people or architecture watching. Even though it was a newer area of town, Poblenou holds plenty of character, both in the buildings, the people, and the pets.
By our hotel, of course, things were a bit more beachy, if not warm. On the main road that separated hotels and other buildings from the beach, palm trees were the main foliage which added to the holiday feel. We even took advantage of the beach cabana restaurants to at least look at the sea, stick our toes in the sand for a hot (cold) second, and drink a pitcher of sangria behind the plastic sheeting.
Keeping with the trend of not-Spanish-food, lunch another day was at Sitar, an Indian restaurant in Poblenou. Sitar has a very modern, sleek feel, but the food isn’t too fancy to be enjoyable (I hate Indian/Pakistani cuisine that’s gussied up for stars). Our samosas were chock full of vegetables (almost no potatoes), so that was a little different than usual, but I loved how heavily spiced they were with a touch of pepper for heat. The three dipping chutneys were a perfect accompaniment as well.
My vegetable curry was surprisingly good as well, though I don’t remember what vegetables were in the tomato-based curry. I do remember the spices being in the forefront with lots of layers of flavor and I was pleased with how the heat developed with each bite. It’s a craft to cook food this way and the cooks at Sitar are doing a great job.
Another quick lunch was found a few blocks down from Sitar at Sundown. It’s a divey little middle eastern restaurant, but the hummus and falafel were bar none. The ultra creamy hummus was topped with an intense smattering of Za’atar and, maybe, mint? The only problem was there wasn’t enough pita for it!As for the falafel? Standard yet delicious. It more than hit the spot for my cravings.
We didn’t completely turn our backs on Spanish food though! Also in Poblenou we enjoyed a huge (waaay too much food for two people) lunch at Passeig 9. We braved the chill to enjoy lunch outside and shared the fixed lunch wich consisited (dear god) of five menu items. Pictured above is the Pan de tomat, the Iberian ham plate, and the roasted vegetables with anchovy. The ham plate was interesting because it overed some various cured sausages as well as the shave Iberian ham, so it was nice to try something different. And I loved the roasted vegetables–eggplant, peppers, and caramelized onions with anchovies on top. Salty and sweet, it was a nice antipasto to start the meal.
We also ordered the roasted prawns–huge, gorgeous prawns (sustainably iffy, unfortunately) served head on with glugs of olive oil and herbs. You can tell I was definitely not getting punchy with sleep deprivation at this point…
The dish that I think did us in was the queso fundido with dates. Melted, gooey cheese with sweet, dried dates? Oh yes please. But, please, just a little taste, not a sharable appetizer size portion! It was delicious but we couldn’t finish it. I felt guilty about that.
On our final day in Barcelona we decided to visit either the zoo or the aquarium since our brains were pretty frazzled and we’d already visited all the museums and attractions we really cared about. We opted for the aquarium and I can hands down recommend that you not go there. It’s extraordinarily expensive–20€ each–and a pretty crappy place. I’m not a fan of zoos or aquariums, I think they’re pretty inhumane in general, and I swear to god the fish looked depressed and suicidal at this one. It was awful. But we went. And there’s a photo of some cuttlefish. Yay for cuttlefish!
For our final meal, we went back to http://eatingappalachia.com/2013/08/20/barcelona-part-1/ again since we enjoyed it so much. We stared with another goat cheese salad (a new obsession of mine) which was much heavier on the cheese than expected with two portions of cheese balanced atop puff pastry served next to arugula, raisins, walnuts, and tomatoes, lightly dressed, again, with honey. So simple, so wonderful. We also shared a portion of the clams in tomato sauce before digging into one more sea & land paella. Again, simple yet perfect, a summation of fantastic Barcelona’s cuisine.
And then it was back to the the US and a six hour layover in Atlanta. Oh reality. But at least I know how to make layovers in Atlanta fun! Start with world class sushi at One Flew South paired with an utterly inappropriate Old Fashioned (don’t judge me, they make the best Old Fashioned in the airport, it not the city outside of Holeman and Finch) and then move on to the brand new outpost of Ecco in the new international F terminal for a cheese plate of local, Southern cheeses (or, in my case, two portions out of three of Thomasville Tomme because I can’t get it anywhere near me).
Let’s just say it’s not a bad way to pause the inevitable return to reality.
Barcelona, you were one hell of a trip. Thanks for all the good memories.
Carrer Vallespir, 44
934 094 037
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Atlanta, GA 30354
One Flew South
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Atlanta, GA 30320
Rambla Poblenou, 80
656 587 777
Plaça de Julio González, 10
932 214 132
Rambla Poblenou, 101
936 035 909
Rambla del Poblenou, 85
934 869 348
Litoral Mar, 42
08005 Barcelona, Spain
Neighborhood: La Vila Olimpica del Poblenou
93 221 07 29