Category Archives: Barcelona

41 grados

41 Grados – Meal of a Lifetime

As someone who travels for food and books reservations before flights, whenever I tell my friends about my time at 41 Grados they pause a bit before asking more.  REALLY?  THAT GOOD?  I’VE NEVER HEARD OF IT! 41 Grados was started by the Adria brothers.  Ferran Adria started El Bulli and many of the techniques used in El Bulli serve as the foundation of 41 Grados. If you missed out on the infamous El Bulli olive, you can get it at 41 Grados and Tickets, the tapas bar that the Adrias opened (and in DC with Jose Andres).

Getting Reservations Both Tickets and 41 Grados are relatively difficult reservations so you’ll have to book a month in advance.  In both of my early Winter trips, 41 Grados would book up 2-3 weeks prior, but Tickets would book up instantly on the day reservations are released online.  Of course, you should always check back for cancellations, but you’re less likely to see that at 41 Grados because there is a 50 Euro deposit.

The Experience Incredible.  Albert and Ferran created an “experience” for lucky diners–inclusive of moving projected images and music as the Albert takes you around the world with food.  Depending how die hard you are–you’ll probably want the first seating’s courses;  If you sit through the the later seating, your dishes won’t line up with the music though I doubt anyone would have really noticed unless they asked! Likely you’ll sit there asking what items on the plate you can eat or not eat because all the food is presented in such a bizarre or fun way.  This probably goes without saying, but not only does every dish have a perfect presentation, it all was delicious!  I nearly forgot to note the cocktails that come with the tasting–frankly, I wonder why all cocktails aren’t as beautiful or wild as the ones at 41 Grados! Whether it is edible “leaves” and “pearls” or the perfectly branded ice cubes, you will probably leave impressed and excited about eating in a way you’ve never felt before. Go now! Nom.

 

Barcelona – Tapeo Tapas

I had a great meal at Tapeo, a small Spanish restaurant started by the opening chef at Tapas 24, David Rueda.  When I first walked in, I didn’t catch the resemblance, but could definitely feel the same bright modern vibe.  Speaking to the chef, he had a bit of a giggle reporting to me how the white counters happen to look just like Tapas 24!

Tapeo Restaurant

First, we had the fried rabbit ribs.  Yes, rabbit ribs!  At first I couldn’t believe it, and while there was very little meat on the bone, it was so good.  Fancy Super Bowl party snacks, anyone?

Tapeo Tapas Rabbit Ribs

Next we had the fried artichoke (which you can find at just about any other tapas restaurant).  Apparently artichoke is fairly common on West Coast menus, but you hardly see fresh artichoke on the menu in New York so of course I ate it up.

Tapeo Artichokes

Then came the sliced stuffed squid (the only vegetables I had the entire trip, haha).  It was exactly as you’d expect from a Spanish restaurant: pure simple fresh flavor.

Tapeo Stuffed Squid

Next we had the beef and mushrooms.  It was a slow cooked stew-like meat with a thick sauce.  Delicious.

Tapeo Beef

Finally on the savory side we had the foie gras with truffle, mushrooms, and eggs.  Wow! It was an amazing finish with all your favorite flavors in one.  We almost didn’t order it but David insisted we try his specialty.

Tapeo Foie Gras and Eggs

Siete Portes – Squid Ink Paella

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Siete Portes was a great paella restaurant near Barceloneta (and relatively famous too!).  I’m not too keen on the tomato-based paella which is so sad and unfortunate, but when you change it up with well executed squid ink, I’ll never stop! The restaurant was pretty straightforward on the up-scale bistro level and a little pricey at 28 Euros, but I will definitely be returning next time.

Siete Portes Paella Squid Ink

It is also relatively close to the Citadel Park if you want a beautiful post-meal stroll! (You’ll need it)

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Barcelona: Doing nothing and everything

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I took my new friend’s advice to do exactly what I wanted at all times during this trip. With all the pressure of having to see certain things in a city you can often lose sight of important vacation goals like relaxation! As a result, I haven’t really left my hotel until 1pm all this week after some chatting with home and blogging and I spend my afternoons walking aimlessly and perusing shops and alleys. It’s been fantastic with something new behind every corner–blocks with only bead stores, massive ornament statues, abandoned buildings, people wildly dancing in the streets.

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Judge it all you want, but hey I’m having a great time doing “nothing”. I think this approach to the trip is exactly what I need. Also, if I wasn’t randomly wandering I wouldn’t have found the Catalan Bombers (firemen)!

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Anyway, yesterday I had the random experience of meeting some expat Americans living in Barcelona with similar priorities: food, wine, food, cocktails. They were the nicest people I’ve encountered in a long time and it reminded me… Oh yes, how really great traveling alone can potentially be. I think without all of these new friends, this trip could have continued to be a nightmare!

We went to a few spectacular places. First, a cool craft beer place called Georges and Dragons. Then we headed off to a lovely wine bar, grabbed something to eat at Fantastico and landed at 41 Grados for cocktails (and to meet Albert Adria).

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Spectacular night. I was giddy with Albert’s celebrity status and totally dig the two kiss cheek greeting thing.

Barcelona Day I & II- Gaudi, Shoes, Ham, and Tapas

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My first day was really rough with apartment issues, but I was able to catch La Pedrera before it closed, and see the rooftop right at sunset. If you are going to visit any of the Gaudi sights (which you must to have really seen anything), this should be your first because the mini museum inside provides a lot of context to the others.

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I started off my second day at La Manual Alpargatera, the old school shoe shop in El Gotic that specializes in espadrilles.

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If you look up all the places in the city you must visit to shop it is in the top ten of about every list. This is where I met my new friend, and went on to have coffee and dish about how tough and great traveling alone is (see here).

She was nice enough to walk me over to the cathedral where I discovered the most spectacular views (for 6€ to get into the church) and a local-oriented Christmas market. I don’t think Barcelona is a Christmas market destination. The markets are mostly mini nativity scene pieces, garlands, lights and simple ornaments. It was great to see but if you are looking for many unique stalls and offerings, I would head to Berlin!

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I told my old school Catholic grandma about the church and she was equally shocked that you had to pay to go inside, but agreed it was just a donation. She proceeded to give me a lecture that I’m young and shouldn’t worry so much about spending if I have my savings! LOL, oh grandma.

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In the early evening I headed over to La Boqueria to pickup some breakfast for the next day.

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In the evening I finally landed at Tapas 24, my favorite tapas bar! (I wish you could sense my enormous amount of excitement for this place).

Tapas 24 is… AMAZING. They have your standard tapas elevated to the next level. I’m really upset that they don’t have the squid paella anymore, but the baby squid and prawns are never-fails and are ridiculously fresh. You should remember to ask for the shrimps and squid when you go because they didn’t have them when I first arrived (8p). I was asked to eat slowly for thirty minutes for when they did come! It was heaven. The squid comes with the ink still inside. They were about the size of my nose as I described in a FaceTime to home :). The shrimps are grilled very simply but they are perfect–sweet, fresh, and full of their natural flavor.

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HEAVEN!