I was sitting in traffic the other day after a long day at work and got a whiff of someone’s cigarette in a passing car. The smoke took me back to a far away place. A place where you can float in the Mediterranean Sea, where everyone is a wacky strange beautiful. Where the speed of the culture is resting nicely on the good life, not the fast life. Where beer and Sangria fill themselves at all hours of the day.
A place called Barcelona. Not 30 hours home from a week long trip there and I’m already day dreaming of my return. Because Barcelona celebrates its food culture, like a lot of Spain, with the tapa leading the charge. It is just a wonderful place to get lost in food and drink. At first glance it feels like you are never settling down for a meal, instead trading for small plates and bite size moments of beauty that tread all day as opposed to sinking feeling of a large portion. Gambas and patatas bravas, and jamon. And after 5 days of little sleep and a constant buzz, I realize that the Catalan region has it all figured out
They don’t eat three huge meals and take a nap. They eat eight small meals so they can drink all day. Breakfast at 1 pm, inner at 11pm and you might get to bed by 5 a.m. if you’re lucky (or are you?) All peppered in between are tapas topped with face to face smiles and taking your time while soaking in the sun and many Estrellas.
Going to Barca yourself? Here are a few places to swing by and try:
La Boqueria: an outdoor covered market where you can find cooks shopping for fresh caught seafood, drink a fresh pressed coconut milk, buy a cured pork leg or any of the freshest produce around
Barceloneta: a neighborhood that hugs the Mediterranean and boast tons of seafood restaurants serving it’s staple – Paella; but most importantly a beach that is worth visiting. Stocked full of cold beers for sale on the sand and beautiful people to watch
El Gotic: The gothic quarter of Barcelona, its winding streets allow you to easily get lost among the number of great tapas bars and Catalan pubs.
Jamon Iberico: Similar to Italian prosciutto this is dry cured un-cooked ham that is going to change your life. Sliced straight from the leg, hoof still in tact.
Seafood Paella: all sorts of seafood, rice, lemon and flavors of the sea beautifully displayed.
Patatas Bravas: Delicious white potatoes fried in olive oil spread all over your table.
Catalan pa amb tomàquet: Literally means bread with tomato and it’s a beautifully simple and amazing thing to see coming your way at the table.
And any assortment of sausages, cheeses, aoili’s and beers of all shapes and sizes all strewn across the table, which you’ve hopefully curated with a wide range of European beauties and interesting storytellers.
Book your ticket now.—Adam Warren