Deciding to move to Spain, the weekend that decided it.
This last-minute trip to Barcelona was not meant to be about eating but of course with me: food always finds a way in.
It started on the first night, my husband and I went to meet my father for dinner somewhere, only for the two of us to be whisked off to the 2 Michelin starred Enoteca as my father grinned mischievously and waved us off “You two don’t spend any time alone together!” (It’s true, we rarely do. And I’ve read on all those blogs about the importance of date night but getting my roots done is equally important and I never get to do that either!)
At my insistence, while my husband stared wistfully at the listing of a simple plate of Jamon Iberico, we went for the tasting menu. (My reasoning was that it was better value.) The tasting menu was inspired by the Mediterranean so my husband suffered through quite a few for professional-gourmet-eaters’-only type of dishes. Like a mollusk injected with liquid so that it spurted impolitely when placed in the mouth, followed by what looked like a donut (yay!) but turned out to be filled with a warm reduction of shellfish (gah! even for me, that was challenging). After sitting through 8 courses of that, I looked at my husband, cheeks filled with bread as he tried to dull the vivid seafood impressions and thought, “Wow, this guy must really love me to sit through all this!”
There were breakfasts at Café Emma and lunch at Bar Lobo (part of the Tragaluz group.) and Bar Moo. Donuts from the newly opened Chok and happy flipping through 365Barcelona (a fantastic little book put together by a motley crew of Barcelonians with one thing to eat for every day of the year). The perfect custard tart at Nata and Japanese / Brazilian food (yes, really and no, I don’t really know why?) at Ikibana.
Possibly my favorite meal on the weekend that was crucial in Deciding to move to Spain was the one on my last night at Tapas 24. I was walking to my apartment** when I spotted the line for the restaurant and joined it without thinking. When I told the blond waitress that I was dining alone, she whisked me forward. A quick half hour wait and she set me up with a nice bar seat across from the kitchen.
The kitchen of (roughly) 8 worked together quietly and beautifully. The chef would call out the order and the guy working the plancha would lay down a thick vivid line of rock salt, then he would line up the shrimp like they were line dancing.
It was a grand trip. And you might be hearing a lot more about Barcelona in the (extremely) near future.
**I stayed in a gorgeous studio apartment that I found via Cocoon (like airbnb or Tripadvisor but vetted) but could also have been booked via the owners’ site: Suite a BCN. It was quirky, comfortable and perfect. With original tiles, a coffee machine, even a stack of DVD’s. Some mornings I woke up and just padded around happily trying to savour being alone, just moi as I was once upon a long (long) time ago. What an incredible feeling.
Which brings me to this – short-term apartments are the future. Who wants to argue with some hotel school graduate about the porn you did not watch, the €15 peanuts you did not eat and how wi-fi should be a freebie as part of the €500 a night tariff for a room that, let’s face it, saw its best days years ago. And breakfast? The breakfast that is now an extra unless you are a Centurion card holder. €25 per person for Lidl quality salmon and stuff in small glasses organized in neat rows? Come on! I’m telling you, short let apartments, a visit to a market, set yourself up and make your own bed in the morning. That’s all.