Diving headlong into local dining experiences is one of the preferred activities of many travelers. The same is true for me and Dario. However, we don't limit ourselves to local cuisine, as we have several favorites in which we cannot always indulge depending on our living and travel situation. We may have gone a bit overboard with this gastronomical undertaking, however. We knew we'd be eating well on the official part of the blog trip, so we should have slowed down a bit, right?
…Nawww – you only live once!
Cream-filled churros in Barcelona. Can't get those in Ireland or Italy!
For example, in Cork, there is a complete dearth of sushi. Despite all the wonderful seafood available in the south of Ireland, as well as a recent influx of foreign food influences on the Emerald Isle, the only 3 options we found were pre-packed schtuff and didn't come close to a real, sit-down sushi place in quality. …On the other hand, there was a Mexican restaurant (though they are oddly stingy with the beans)!
In Naples, we had the opposite problem: plenty of sushi, but no Mexican. Well, we finally did find Mexican food, albeit outside the city limits, just before we left the area. And DANG, it's good! You need GPS to find it, but if you're in Italy for a while and can't get over your desperate craving for Mexican food, be sure to visit Mamacita's in Caserta. Heck, make an excursion out of it! Tire yourself out at the royal palace during the day and fill up on good eats in the evening! But I digress…
Barcelona's beautiful Boqueria. It's fun to just bask in the abundance of it all!
We started in on the food opportunities almost immediately. Maria, a mutual friend of Linda, whom I had met on Tenerife, and Mariana met us upon our arrival in España. Eventually, that is. We got a little lost in one of the metro stations. Our bad.
We dropped our bags at Mariana's place and headed out with Maria in search of eats. (Mariana had to work; don't hate!) Didn't take us long to find something. And no, it wasn't tapas – it was Palestinian food!
About here is where I would normally wow you with some pictures of our fantastic meal, but here's the thing: we were so hungry we didn't stop for photos! I do apologize, but I did grab a business card because I wanted to tell you about it. So, if you ever find yourself stuck in Barcelona and you're all tapas-ed out, visit Askadinya in the Gracia neighborhood. Delicious and affordable, too. Even the house wine was nice.
Super secret tea room in the Gothic Quarter.
Fortunately, no clove cigarettes or dreary poetry in evidence.
Upon learning of our fondness for tea, Mariana promptly recommended we visit Saltiero in the Gothic Quarter. After Palestinian food and a quick visit to the Boqueria with Maria, we moseyed over to the neighborhood and lost ourselves in the narrow, winding streets of the old part of Barcelona.
We found ourselves near the ancient synagogue and noticed, much to our surprise, that the apartment upstairs was for sale. This tempted me into fantasies of relocating to Spain and living in the city center. For the brief space of that daydream I forgot what an introvert I am, requiring space, privacy, and nature to maintain sanity. Barcelona just has so much to offer… Oh, well — at least there's tea!
Those hands you see? Marlys and Michael of Easyhiker. :D
We did eventually submit to the incredible availability of tapas the following day. And though the food was good, the best part was the company. Marlys and Michael, who were in town for a different blog-related event, extended their stay by a few days so we could meet face to face – and they are great! I hope we can meet with them again soon in Paris.
I'm glad Marlys was there to show us how it's done, especially with the vermouth, that brown stuff in the glass. I think I'd only ever heard about it in an ironically mopey Magnetic Fields song. I didn't know it was something you mixed with carbonated water and drank with tapas. I liked it all right for a few sips, but it's pretty strongly flavored stuff. The house wine and I got along better, despite (or because of?) it being ridiculously cheap.
Does that say €1.40 per litre? ¡Ah mi dios!
The place was called Bar Electricitat (or Electricidad, depending on which sign you read) and the crowd is known to be rather raucous at times. Marlys and Michael had been there as part of their earlier blog trip-related activities, arriving with a large group during a busy period. The owner and staff are loud, genial, and entertaining, though the sound level can apparently get quite deafening.
Fortunately we arrived during a quieter period, but still received quite a lot of attention from our server (I think he may have been the owner, but cannot swear to it). Indeed, upon discovering that a single bite of the chocolate cake had been left on the dessert plate, he looked heavenward, said something to indicate what a tragedy it was, grabbed a fork, and insisted that one of us finish it off. Dario, perhaps used to Italian-mother style feeding, obligingly opened his mouth and was fed the worrisome sweet. Whew – world saved! We were allowed to waddle out in peace.
Oh, gods! When will the suspense end? Dip it in the chocolate already!
Mariana had arrived just at the end of the tapas in order to meet Marlys and Michael, but hadn't had anything to eat. After bidding farewell to the two easy hikers, we went in search of food for Mariana. She grabbed a sandwich and then took us to her favorite churreria, a place that has churros filled with dulce de leche, just like in Costa Rica. They didn't serve chocolate, so Mariana fired up Foursquare on her smartphone and found us a place a few blocks away that had chocolate, but not churros.
…And the stuffing continued.
Like a Corona except smaller and more Spanish.
Later that evening, we met with Mariana and her husband again, only this time instead of Palestinian food, we had Mexican at Chido One. I was over the moon! You see, Costa Rica (from whence Mariana originally hails) has food quite similar to Mexico, so when she said this place was good I was confident it would be delicious — and it was!
Dario got to try mole sauce for the first time, and I got to have tacos and horchata water. And we all had chips with fresh guacamole, mmm! Dario also tasted a spicy Corona, except in Spain it's called "Coronita", on account of there being an actual king with an actual crown in the country. In Spain, size matters.
Dried fruit, chocolate covered almonds, and nuts. *wipes drool off screen* Sorry 'bout that.
The next day Dario and I headed back to the Boqueria, as our first visit had been so late in the day that most of the stalls were already closed. After all the heavy eating, we wanted to get something fresh and light, so we had fruit juice and figs (figs! in February! brilliant!).
Later in the day we slipped back into tapas-eating mode followed up by drinks with Jade of Vagabond3 and Laurel of Monkeys, Mountains and Maultaschen. My photo-mojo ran out by the evening, however. I could not lift my camera. Heck, I could barely lift my fork! You're going to have to imagine the tapas and drinks, I'm afraid. Still, the Boqueria is BEAUTIFUL, so a few more pics can only do ya some good.
Fish Lady is ssssswift!
The people are patient because they don't have to wait long with Swift Fish Lady on the job!
Trying to imagine Les Poissons sung barbershop quartet style.
There is really nothing especially spectacular about these fish, other than the fact that when I saw them I immediately thought of a barbershop quartet. I don't know what the fish on the left is, but I sincerely hope it's a bass.
Breakfast figs get you movin'.
This is the same stand we saw the first day. They really are clever about making the displays artistic and lovely. Mesmerizes you into opening your wallet and paying far too much for pretty fruits. (To be fair, we did look at several other stands further in to see if they had figs and didn't find any.)
This is the kind of thing that makes me want to travel with a steamer trunk.
I want to take the cuteness home!
Finally, here is a cute picture of some wee dried flowers outside the market on La Rambla. With all that face-stuffin', a walk in the fresh air would do us some good, don't you think? Need to breathe a bit before we start in on another round, after all. Oof, let me loosen this belt…
Where is your favorite place to stuff your face?
Just found your awesome site! You mentioned:
“After bidding farewell to the two easy hikers, we went in search of food for Mariana. She grabbed a sandwich and then took us to her favorite churreria, a place that has churros filled with dulce de leche”
But you didn’t mention the name of her favorite churreria!!! =( I’m heading to Barcelona very soon and I absolutely LOVE churros and would love to know the name and location of Mariana’s favorite churreria!
Do you remember? Is there any way we can find out?
THANKS SO MUCH!! =)
Hi, Katie. Although I’m just replying here now, I sent you an email the day you posted your comment. Did you receive it?
For anyone else coming across this later, here’s what I sent…
I checked with Mariana, and here is the latest:
“It’s been a while and I’ve found some more spots which are way better and with THE REAL churro deal, even late at night after-party perfect churros haha, quite awesome. These are my best finds nowadays:
Cafe de L’ Opera – right in front of the Liceu Theatre on Las Ramblas. Beautiful modernist place with lovely ambience and freshly made churros, even served late at night, for any cravings you might get.
Churreria Layetana – also downtownish, cooked at the very moment. The real way of making churros the spanish way. They also have some opening schedule just like the spanish way but totally worth the wait.
They are both on Foursquare and Facebook.”
Hope you managed to get your face well and truly stuffed! ;)
Thanks for the reply!
The two new places you mentioned do not have the “churros filled with dulce de leche” that you mentioned in your blog post.
That’s the churreria I’m trying to find, the one you mentioned was Mariana’s favorite and had churros filled with dulce de leche, not just the typical unfilled churros which all churrerias offer.
Do you know the name of that churreria?
THANKS AGAIN! =)
Wow I had no idea Barcelona was so delicious! Can’t wait to get there and indulge myself on a little slice/piece/cup of heaven! :-D
Glad to have warmed up your tastebuds, Ron! Bring an appetite and a camera and you’ll be set. ;)
Yummy! Can’t wait to go back to Barcelona later this year. I want to eat and drink every one of those items in the photos (well, maybe not the flowers); nice shots!
Hey, Christopher! Sorry about not replying sooner. I missed your comment *blush*. Thank you for the compliment about the photos. I am totally with you on wanting to go back to Barcelona for another visit. Too rich with beauty, art, great food, and friendly people. :)
So. Hungry. Now… minus the fish… ick, bleh.
They just want to sing to you. About peanuts. >:D
Mmm, I did love stuffing my face in Barcelona. We had terrific weather and one of my favourite days was heading down to the waterfront to enjoy a picnic of meats, cheese, olives…Oh, my mouth is watering thinking about it. I haven’t had breakfast yet, but this post is making my eggs look pretty unappetizing.
The picnic sounds lovely! I like many aspects of off-season tourism, but the weather is not one of them. I really want to go back to Barcelona when it’s warm and sunny.
…hope you managed to enjoy your eggs. ;)
What a great spread you had. And friends to share it with. The Spanish must either never eat like that or run a lot? Or maybe they just eat once a day and are full for the the day’s activities.
I am normally not a fan of Corona, but spicy beer sounds good. Been humming songs from Little Mermaid since the fish part.
I love walking through markets and taking pictures of the stalls and colors. We were in the market of Valencia this last summer and totally loved it.
When you live in a place, you just take things for granted and it becomes part of your routine. People often say to me, “Ooo, you’re in Italy! The food must be AMAZING!” but after a while, it’s just food, y’know? I imagine Spanish folks feel somewhat the same. “Yeah, yeah, yeah… the market’s beautiful. So what?” Then again, no matter how many times I went to Pike Place in Seattle I never got tired of it!
I almost feel like market pictures are cheat photos. The colors and arrangements are just begging to be photographed! Hmm… That reminds me. I don’t think I ever put up and photos of the souq in Marrakech. Gotta get on that!
Never mind all the tapas, Mexican, Palestinian… I just want those churros filled with dulce de leche! Lovvvvvvvly, I could live on the stuff…
Such wonderful compilation of delicious food. I wish I could go to Barcelona tomorrow to visit all those places and stuff my face myself!
I know what you mean! I’m full from a big lunch of pasta and meatballs, but these pictures make me drool nonetheless. Something so beautiful and refreshing about all those lovely fruits and vegetables! :D
Curse you for making me read this first thing in the morning, when there’s been no breffy to be had! Oh well, you get bonus points for mentioning Michael, Marlys and Magnetic Fields all in the same post.
Where in the world are you that there’s no breffy? It must be a cursed and barbaric land, to be sure!
Also, kudos to you for knowing the Magnetic Fields. I only have the 69 Love Songs set, but I LOVE it! So much humor amongst the awesome tunage. Those guys rock.
I’ll be in Barcelona in April, will be looking these places up!
What is it with everyone going in a couple of months? Did I not get the memo? Sheesh, I might have to hitchhike over and join y’all!
In any case, glad I could provide some din-spiration for you. Enjoy the eats! :D
My kingdom for a churro relleno con dulce de leche!!
You have a kingdom? I’ll totally fly to Barcelona and then bring a churro to your house if I can have a kingdom! ;)
I am so excited to try out some of your suggestions in a few months when I land in Barcelona. They are all quite intriguing in their own unique way. I love eating in this city, especially the Iberian pork sold at the market. Speaking of which, I am most looking forward to going to the Boqueria; they have so many unique fruits and seafood that I don’t taste anywhere else – your photos make me want to be there now!
That’s wonderful, Sherry! I’m sure you’ll have a great time there. If you get a chance, contact Mariana from http://mytravelthirst.com/. She can probably suggest some great places for you to go. Have a great time!
With the exception of the fish quartet, your photos have me trying to figure out a way to get to Barcelona. Mouth-watering pics – especially those cream-filled churros. Yum.
Well, the fish could always sing to you while you ate… ;)
There are churros filled with dulce de leche??? Oh my good heaven…I can’t even handle this news.
Hahahaha! World rocked – check! Yes, there are, and Mariana can show you where next time you’re in Barcelona. Or, as Linda has pointed out below, you could hop down to Tenerife and try some there. :D
Damn you! Now I’m starving and going to eat a salad with tofu. :(
LOVE food. Chicago abounds with great Mexican – come on over! After my RTW trip, I craved Mexican more than I ever had. It was the one food I could never find in most places. I’d love to try mamacitas one day! I love journeying just for food. It’s the best reward! :)
Mamacita’s is pretty darned good. Maybe we could gather a few friends and have a Mexican food trip around Europe! :D
But what the heck are you complaining about? You are in one of the best food towns on the planet! I don’t recall if you are vegetarian or not, but if not, then you MUST (and I’m sure I’ve told you this before) hit Harold’s Chicken Shack on… ah, 53rd or 55th, down by the university. Order a “regular half” with BBQ sauce. TO. DIE. FOR. I was never a fan of fried chicken before Harold’s; now I check airfare to Chicago to see if I can satisfy my craving.
Loved this food post! I relate so much. When I lived in Spain, there was one little Mexican restaurant that never seemed to be open. And one of our fav restaurants was a vegetarian place. I loved reading about Mariana — I so miss living in Costa Rica! I bet this group had a blast!
Gosh, you’ve lived everywhere with good food, Abby! (Have you lived in Thailand, too? India?) Speaking of that and of Mariana, you’ve got to go read her post about calçots. Sooo much deliciousness! http://mytravelthirst.com/archives/2515
(If you want to see some of the further exploits of the group, you can get a glimpse from our Catalonia & Barcelona board on Pinterest, too: http://pinterest.com/tourabsurd/catalonia-barcelona/)
Where you headed next, Abby?
Holy sweet food! As a mexican food lover and searcher around the world- love how you ate Mexican food! Tacos really are an every day any time kind of food!
And those drinks we had were delicious- although, by that time I could barely keep my eye open (yes, one eye worked fine)… note to self: next time to Europe, buy eye drops sooner than later or look like a pirate!
Or buy an eyepatch! But totally agree with you about tacos. I still dream about the fish tacos I had on the beach in San Felipe when I was in 4th grade. Never had anything so delicious in my life! Must go back to Mexico. :D
LOL! At the beginning I thought, “Must tell Katrina we have churros filled with dulce de leche here,” but I see later you know them!! Maria had one at a fiesta we went to a few weeks back (uff – I’m telling tales!) I just couldn’t manage one, but only because I’d just had a hot dog….sometimes you have to give in to junk food too!
I sincerely hope that you got your cholesterol level checked when you got home? It’s funny, all this talk about the Mediterranean diet because when you think Spanish food you think hams, tortillas, all manner of fried stuff, and pastries with almond paste. OMG you’ve got me at it now!
Oh and if you enjoyed the food in Barcelona you HAVE to go to Sevilla!
When I met Dario in southern Spain last year, we intended to go to Sevilla, but I’d had such a grand time in Morocco that we hopped on a boat instead. I will keep Sevilla in mind, though. If it’s better than Barcelona — just wow!
And yeah, that Mediterranean diet thing is a farce, I say! Lots of frying goes on in Italy, too. …but at least all the ingredients are fresh. :D
I ate SO MUCH in Barcelona! I’m veggie now, but at the time I kept a link of chorizo in my room and would just gnaw on it… you might stuff your face, but apparently I gnaw!
Chorizo is so good! (Hope they come out with a decent veggie variety for ya. :) I prefer proscuitto to Serrano ham, but chorizo kicks the pants off Italian sausage. Too delish!
Aww, we were sooo short of time to go with you and Mariana for those churros! NEXT TIME! I promise vengeance.!
Vengeance? Now I’m scared! I could barely walk after those tapas as it was. What horrors await?
ps: as Linda says above, they have stuffed churros on Tenerife. I think we should convince a few of our blogging pals to converge on the island sometime this year and indulge!