Thursday, October 09, 2014

Barcelona, Spain

During September I slept in many beds. Here's a photo board of my trip....
If you are interested there are a couple of new posts in the Street Art section to the right >>  

Okay, well, on to something else. Last stop BARCELONA. Love this city.

There are curious man giraffes
And houses worth 27 million Euros.
Why couldn't all Shopper's Drug Marts look like this? 
Ham everywhere.
I went to the opera
No kidding... that's me. I saw the Barber of Seville in Barcelona. How ironic is that? 
Saw a big church 
And it wasn't Sagrada Familia
More art 
A elevator the size of a telephone booth. Remember those? Telephone booths not elevators. 
Here's a dog named Mona. I spent the week with her. 
Close to Mona's house is a bull ring turned shopping mall. That's progress.... I guess. 
Barcelona has small narrow streets.
Streets that have the memories of past conflicts with bullet pock marks in the walls. 
Comfortable bars.
Impressive building facades
Inviting doorways
Awesome ceilings
A model of a hospital 
Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau
Designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner a contemporary of Gaudi. 
The actual hospital

The front facade. 
Buildings and gardens where patients stayed. The idea was that if the place was beautiful and there were gardens for patients to look at or walk in, then they would get better quicker. What a novel idea! 
I think all hospitals should have pink tiled ceilings
And there should be hallways covered in mosaics
I went to this house, Casa Lleo also designed by Montaner and it had  mosaic covered walls
Many mosaic covered walls
Their dining room was stunning,
(photo from when the house was used in early 1900's) 
with many stain glass windows,
all depicting scenes from nature,
because it made them feel relaxed.
Too much beauty ...
Can leave you breathless.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Food, Barcelona style

Food, food, glorious food. Oh, and great wine too. One eats very well in Spain. Delicious fresh seafood, paella, and of course, 'tapas'. Everywhere one goes you are offered these small portions of gastronomic delights. Actually tapa means 'lid' but in food speak it's 'snack', then there are pintxo (food on a stick) and montadito (food on bread). One cannot and should not live on these delicious snacks alone. I always tried to fit in a daily salad of crunchy vegetables. Not really hard to do. But, on to tapas...

The staple of tapas (just like fries are in North America): Patatas Bravas (Fried potatoes with the spicy brava sauce) Patatas con all-i-oli ( Potatoes with garlic mayonnaise)

Below,  offered at restaurant Ciudad Condal, Barcelona (click on link for their web site) 
 Montadito: Langostinos (Prawns/Shrimp)
Montadito: Cangrejo (Crab)
Montadito: Camembert crujiente (Crunchy camembert )
These were amazing. The cheese was baked, rolled in chopped almonds, set upon a bread slice and drizzled with a tart raspberry sauce. Yum. 
Tapas: Boquerones (White anchovies)
Tapas: Ensaladilla rusa (Russian potato salad)
This was everywhere. Almost or more common then Patatas Bravas. It usually had tuna on it. 
A popular lunch item. I could take it or leave it. 
Tapas: Pimientos de Padron (Padron peppers)

Tapas: Buñuelos de bacalao (Cod fritters)
I hate cod, particularly salt cod. There is nothing redeeming about cod and nothing you can do to it to make it taste good. 
The best tapas ever at La Vinateria del Call, Barcelona
Escalivada  (Smoky grilled red peppers, aubergines and onions).
Fuet Chorizo picante and 
Jamón ibérico de bellota de Guijuelo 
The Iberico ham was the best I had ever tasted!! Highly recommend this place. 
Another day, another kind of meal. I stopped into a restaurant called Lluis de les moles, Barcelona and had a great three course lunch with a jug of house wine. 
Sautéed thyme green beans with spring baby garlic & iberic ham, 
Grilled fillet rabbit with romesco sauce & mousseline potatoes
Apple tarte and vanilla ice cream. 
Another lunch - wine and squid. 
This was really good. 6 parts beer and 4 parts lemon. Refreshing.
Wine time! If this is not your thing, don't bother to read any more. 
Spain is not cheap. You get what you pay for by way of food, accommodation, entertainment, etc. but..... good wine is a bargain. Beer is inexpensive too. A glass of wine in restaurant on average 2 Euros and beer 1 Euro. Bottles of wine in a corner, grocery or wine store are from 2 Euros to 8 for nice wine. You can pay a lot more too if you want - particularly in the special wine stores. Here's a few I liked: 

Vino Tinto
Noster from Priorat region
55% Garnatxa and 45% Samso in Catalan.
Means Grenache and Carignan. 
Vino Blanco
D.O. (Denominaciones de Origen) Verdejo
From the Rueda region - Castilla y León
Rose wine is not the first one I would reach for but this was very nice. 
Vino Rosado
Bach Viña Extrísima Rosado
D.O Catalunya
Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon &y Merlot
Catalunya (Catalonia)
OMG! This red was so delicious. Wish I could buy it here in Toronto. Sells for 8 Euros in Europe. 
Vino Tinto
Llagrimes de Tardor
D.O. Terra Alta
Garnacha, Samso, Syrah & Cabernet Sauvignon
From the Terra Alta Region - Catalunya

Cava (sparkling wine)
Raventos i blanc Reserva Brut Cava
D.O. (Denominaciones de Origen) Cava
Brut, Reserva
Macabeo, Xarel.lo y Parellada, Catalunya (Catalonia)
Spain sparkling is so much more than Freixenet. Another one I wish I could get at home.