Barcelona Day 1: Eating

If there’s anything I’ve learned from this blog, it’s that I love eating, photographing, and writing about food. So what would a documentation of Barcelona be without complete coverage of its culinary delights? Day One was less fettered with foodie favorites as Day 2, but we did discover a tiny little tapas restaurant in Born (section of Barcelona near Gotic) that was perfect – a true local eatery, and a 10 Euro menu that was minimalist but traditional. Nicasso was a great place to gather with some friends we made at the hostel – including a brother and sister from the Midwest and an Australian backpacker of Spanish descent. Our Australian friend and I both opted for vegetarian options: tortilla espanola, slices of manchego cheese, and patatas bravas with a spicy sauce that my mouth couldn’t quite handle. Delicioso!! And the sangria, of course, was fantastic.

I’ve already mentioned La Boqueria, my favorite, but I can’t help mentioning it again if only to include more food porn. If you head there, I suggest trying any kind of fried seafood, particularly the fried fish balls on a stick (sounds ridiculous, but is delicious). Head to a cheese vendor and ask to try some manchego: for about 2 Euro they’ll give you two decently sized slices of the delicious cheese. Look for the smoothie vendors, who have every flavor imaginable for about 1,50 Euro – but don’t drop yours, like Shaun did. They are colorful and photogenic, and too delectable to pass up. There are also gelato stands, tapas bars, candy vendors, and meat that looked like it had been taken from a horror film – I steered clear of that.

I guess since I’ve mentioned manchego, I should include here that it turns out my favorite cheese is not French but Spanish. Manchego is Spain’s finest export, in my opinion, and is the perfect moderate flavor with an absolutely irresistable texture. I could have eaten a block of it. I picked up some in the airport (overpriced, of course) to take home, and within a week it was almost gone. Though I’ve had manchego before in the states – fried, in mac and cheese, fondued – I have to say I hadn’t tasted it quite like I did in Spain, plain and without anything to hide its tremendous flavor.

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5 thoughts on “Barcelona Day 1: Eating

  1. Looks awfully different from (lovely) snowy Paris! And the sangria looks amazing! Coincidentally, I dreamed about manchego cheese last night, which I’d forgotten until I just read your post. Foreshadowing? I’ve been enjoying your writing and pics.

  2. Hello!
    I’ve been following your blog for about a month now.. it’s great! My fiance lives in Paris ( Nogent sur Marne)and i’m planning my first visit in mid January, God willing.
    Unfortunately, he will be working during the day, so do you have any suggestions to occupy my time with out spending an arm and a leg?

    1. Hi! Thanks so much for reading. Sorry it took a while to get back, it’s busy over here and I wanted to give you a good response. But yes, I definitely have some good advice for you. I would say that half the fun of being in Paris isn’t really going to the museums or spending a lot of money on tours. The best way to see the city and really enjoy it is to just walk around, which requires no money. I know that sounds like horrible advice, but that’s what I would tell anyone coming here. Pick a few things you really want to see and put them on your bucket list, and then let yourself get lost. January might be tough though – it will be cold!
      My suggestions for things to see would be:
      Musee d’Orsay (one of the cheaper museums, and even if you pay it is completely worth it) – also, across from it is the Museum of Legions of Honor and Orders of Chivalry, which sounds dorky and weird but is really cool. It’s completely free and they have all these amazing medals worn by kings and world leaders, including ones from the US. It’s not very big so it doesn’t take long, and it’s really well put together.
      Trocadero (best view of the Eiffel Tower, and if you are really cold, pop into Cafe de l’Homme, inside the museum at Trocadero, and just have a coffee and enjoy the view – coffee there is expensive at about 4 euro, but is one of those little luxuries you should treat yourself to!)
      Get a book and go to Shakespeare and Company, and sit inside and read for a while – it overlooks the Seine, and Notre Dame, and was the hangout of some of the most amazing American writers (Hemingway, Joyce, Fitzgerald) – you can also buy used books there for like, 3 Euro or read one from their shelves – if you go upstairs there are shelves upon shelves of old books that you can just sit down and read for a while.
      Bercy Park is really nice if you don’t mind braving the cold, and is especially enjoyable when paired with wine, bread, and cheese!
      Montmartre and Sacre Coeur- just walk around and enjoy this area, it is awesome. It’s everything you think of when you think of Paris. Walk up to Sacre Coeur and just enjoy the view, it’s a beautiful church. At the Abbesses metro stop (where you get off to go up to the church), there is a beautiful garden with a mural that says “I love you” in 300 languages. It’s lovely. Montmartre also has amazing food that is reasonably priced as long as you are not on the very first street with all the cafes (before Abbesses), or very close to the church. A favorite bar/cafe of ours is Au Rendez-Vous des Amis, it’s well priced and has a great atmosphere. You can also walk down from Montmartre and check out the Moulin Rouge (and the surrounding sex shops, which are hilarious).
      Pere Lachaise Cemetary and Cemetary of Montmartre: these are obviously free, although I know cemetaries aren’t too exciting, they are really interesting here. Pere Lachaise is very peaceful and absolutely gorgeous, and you can see Jim Morrison’s grave, as well as Edith Piaf and Oscar Wilde (his is awesome, there are lipstick kisses all over it!). A great place to just stroll if you have good outerwear. Montmartre is also pretty awesome (and it’s on the way to Sacre Coeur) – it’s kind of under a bridge, which is crazy, and it has a lot of famous filmmakers in it.
      Best free exhibit in all of Paris – Espace Culturel de Louis Vuitton. When you go to Champs-Elysees (you have to – it’s beautiful! and you see the Arc de Triomphe), go to the side of the Louis Vuitton building closest to the Arc de Triomphe, and go into the door that goes down. It is a free gallery that hosts temporary exhibitions, and they do an incredible job putting it together. For the current exhibit, they give you a book that explains each piece and what the artist wanted to convey. Totally a must see.
      Go to side of the Latin Quarter closest to the Seine, and check out all the art galleries – get off St. Germain des Pres, check out the church, then walk down past Dior and just get lost – there are great art galleries in this area, and lots of amazing cafes. It is right near the famous art school, so it’s worth strolling and just seeing what you find.
      Madeleine – such a cool area. Laduree has the best macarons in Paris, and the original Chanel store is near there, as well as Coco Chanel’s original workshop. You can’t really go in, but it’s cool just to see.

      Sorry for the novel, there’s just so much to do here. Honestly, the best thing to do here during the day is like, walk around, then sit and have a coffee, maybe some cheese. Don’t kill yourself trying to see a ton of stuff, just enjoy the city! Enjoy your trip, despite what they say Paris is still beautiful in the winter! Hope this was helpful…

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