Second only to museums when I travel is trying new things to eat and drink. Barcelona was no different.
La Taverna del Born
This place was special if only because it was near our apartment and the first place we ate. I was starving and ordered too much food: croquettes and patatas bravas. I also got the first of many cappuccinos:
My friend is a vegetarian and when he finds a veggie place likes, he tends to go back a lot. Hence, our two visits to Teresa Carles (which we went to on our first trip to Barcelona as well).
We went there for dinner on our first night. I got the pappardelle with red pesto and a glass of white wine:
For dessert my friend got some kind of cake. I didn’t really like it. The icing was not icing. But I guess you can’t have everything.
Our second visit we both got salads, Italian for him and goat cheese for me, and shared a bread basket.
I guess a salad was “healthier” because of all the vegetables, but the serving of goat cheese was, um, generous shall we say. It was also delicious.
My friend was excited about trying this vegetarian place for the first time, but then it turned out to be one we ate at on our last visit. It was still good though. I got what they called “brunch,” a delightful assortment of different sweet and savory eats:
The only thing I didn’t like were the kiwi. They were incredibly sour.
Casa Lola Rambla
A random pick after a long day at the amusement park (more on that later). We both felt like paella, although I was a little worried that it would be a huge serving that I wouldn’t be able to finish. But the portion turned out to be perfect.
The rice was black instead of yellow and was infused with flavor. I only wished there had been more shrimp and other seafood. Of course paella wouldn’t be complete without some sangria.
Another favorite haunt was this bakery on Carrer de la Princesa. Their specialty are these incredible-looking cinnamon rolls in a multitude of flavors.
Our first visit they had matcha and red velvet, which we found out later was a rare occurrence. My friend got a matcha and I got a red velvet. While the matcha was good — very matcha-y — the red velvet didn’t really taste like red velvet. It was just sweet. Maybe it would have been better with a cream cheese icing.
However, my friend was hooked and kept going back. (It helped that the guy working was cute and very nice.) He was hoping for matcha but they never had them again during our visit.
While my pal was addicted to Demasié rolls, my poison was chocolate croissants. I tried a few random places, and while they were all good, La Xocolateria, which was near where we stayed, took the cake.
I went one day and asked for my usual. Luckily the guy behind the counter spoke English and offered a hazelnut. At first I said no, but then thought twice and decided what the heck, I’ll try a hazelnut.
I thought it would be similar to the almond croissants from La Boulangerie, but no. When the guy said “hazelnut,” he meant Nutella. That’s right: a croissant oozing with Nutella. Cue angel chorus.
Nutella croissants are definitely not something I want to be eating all the time, but I was curious if any places in New York sell them. Epicerie Boulud seems to be the main one although I don’t know if I’ll go out of my way to get one from there.
We had brunch one morning at this little cafe that’s part of a theater. I had a yummy ham and cheese croissant sandwich and a cappuccino.
Satan’s Coffee Corner
We hit this spot for brunch one morning mostly because we were intrigued by the name. Turns out the food is really good too, not to mention my cortado:
My friend and I ordered polar opposites in terms of healthiness: a kind quinoa porridge with fruit for him and sausages and biscuits in gravy for me. He did, however, eat one of my biscuits.
Sometimes takeout is just easier, and this Greek place was right up our alley. I got the lamb and beef burger patties with all the fixings: salad, sauces, pita. It was a lot of food for not a lot of euros (unfortunately I can’t remember how much it was). I also got a can of stuffed grape leaves.
Mercado de la Boqueria
We had heard from a few people that this market was a must-see, and indeed it is, even if just for the spectacle of it:
But while it was huge, it was kind of the same thing over and over. Meat, fruit and juices, tapas, seafood, again and again, with a few egg, dried fruit, empanda, and candy stalls sprinkled in. Still, it was fun to wander up and down the aisles.
In terms of eats, I got a little cone of chorizo, quail eggs, and patatas. Turned out it was mostly lettuce filling that cone. A bit of a rip off. However, the fresh fruit cup I also got was amazing.
Santa Caterina Market
I had read online that this market was similar to Boqueria, only smaller and less crazy. It was indeed smaller, but maybe because I went on a Saturday, still pretty crazy. I liked my food better: three oversized croquettes, chicken curry, gorgonzola and nuts, and goat cheese. I liked the chicken curry best, but I don’t know if that’s because it was the first one I ate and I was hungry.
This absinthe bar was recommended to my friend. It’s supposedly the oldest bar in Barcelona and was frequented by the likes of Hemingway, Picasso, and Gaudi. While you can tell the decor was once interesting, even beautiful — especially the chandeliers — now it’s pretty rundown. However, the absinthe was still effective.
What you get is half of the glass of the potent stuff, two sugarcubes, tiny forks, and a water bottle to share. We uncapped the bottle and poured the water over the sugarcubes before realizing a small hole was pierced in the cap and you were supposed to use it like a squeeze bottle.
I got pretty drunk. Like, I could barely walk in a straight line to the bathroom. Luckily we weren’t too far from our apartment.
Bun Bo Vietnam
We first saw this place when we stumbled upon this famous kissing mural:
Then on one of my solo wanderings, I stumbled upon it again and decided to give it a try. By then it was the last day of my trip and I was craving Asian food. I got the bun, or rice noodles, with chicken. It was good overall but the vegetables kind of sucked: wilted lettuce. I don’t get it because their produce is really good. I also got an aperol spritz and for dessert, tapioca pudding.
Which kind of looks like pasta with a red sauce, but I believe that’s cinnamon. It was tasty.
While eating out was fun, having meals at home was also lovely. We’d sit on the porch, eat random things, drink the wine our kind hosts left us, and read or write postcards.
One night when I was on my own, I ended up having most of a pizza I had bought from the supermarket along with half a bottle of 10 euro rose. Ah, vacation.
Up next: random fun.