comida y bebida

even after my trip, i still haven't picked up anymore spanish than that little chihuahua could utter during :30 gordita spots. the extent of my spanish is sentences beginning with either "yo quiero" or "donde esta" and ending with a performance of charades meant to communicate my needs. don't worry, i also happen to know "baƱo," so there was no acting that out when it was of concern. but i thought it might be necessary to point out since my cool blog post title is in spanish (i googled...).

as mentioned in my last post, one of the main attractions to spain is the native cuisine. since a place with good food isn't lost on myself or my friend i was traveling with, it was only natural that we have a checklist going in. first up on the list - paella and sangria.

if i googled "how to say food and drink in spanish," it shouldn't be too surprising that "best paella in barcelona also found its way into my search bar. there were many different options to choose from, and several that had been around for years, so we took a look at a few of the menus for the more infamous spots. i'm all about spending a little more for a meal that's worth it, but it was really difficult to rationalize the 20€+ per person rice tag most of these places toted for a single rice dish. the potential profit margins on that alone made me nauseous. luckily, when i was half awake on my initial walk around barcelona, i stumbled across a place called the grill room, which served paella for 9.95€ per person. this was a price tag we could live with.

even better, when we arrived to sit down to our first spanish meal, we were seated in this tiny little blue booth that was sectioned off from the rest by a decorative white wicker cage of sorts. cage might not be the best word, but it reminded me of a place in NY called sweetie pie in the west village if you need a visual reference. not sure why that was the immediate seating preference of the hostess when there were several tables available that would comfortably seat two girls. pretty sure the staff must have assumed i was about to propose?

our little lovenest.

we ordered olives, hummus, artichokes, paella dishes, and topped it all off with a pitcher of the house red sangria. the paella was nothing short of amazing with a wide variety of meats including prawns, mussels, chorizo, and little bits of marinated pork with the bone left in (for moisture? julia childs? anyone?). the deal was sealed with a complimentary dish of chocolate chips for dessert, which was both random and perfect.

the opening act.


seeing as we overeagerly ticked a few items off our list during our first meal, we decided to move on to the wonderful world of tapas. we actually had a few recommendations from friends for places to go for tapas, but we got so caught up in walking around the city, meals became less of a plan and more of a necessity with random strikes of hunger pains. one said hunger pain situation occurred while viewing the barcelona cathedral at night, so we absentmindedly strolled into a tapas place we saw on the corner of the square.

like most tapas restaurants in barcelona, bilbao berria had a long bar in the entry way with several different dishes that varied as they were consumed by the current restaurant patrons. there were the standard bread round with a meat, cheese, or both, several different fried or baked hot food options, and even tiny desserts. no matter what you chose, it was a serve yourself deal at 1.65€ per tapas. the bill was calculated at the end by a waiter who came and counted the number of toothpicks you had compiled on your table.

tapas galore.

so, i kind of have a thing for mini food, and maybe we indulged a little. our tapas of choice included (but were not limited to) a roasted red pepper stuffed with tuna, a toast with eel, veggies, egg, and a sweet sauce, a small baked pancake with cheese and spinach, and a hard boiled egg and salmon salad on toast.

plate 1/2873498237498.

out of the 358843798446 tapas we ate, the unanimous favorite was a toasted baguette round topped with a baked camembert round, honey, pine nuts, and a small dollop of olive tapenade. of course it was the last one we both tried, and i immediately resented my stomachs inability to squeeze in another few rounds. luckily, cheese , bread, and honey seems like a recipe i can follow, so i hardly doubt it's the last i've seen of this tasty treat.

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