you didn´t think i´d ever get around to writing, did you?

And all because I haven´t in like three years. Silly, silly people.

Well, Matt and I are in Barçelona, and I am going to start off by answering the question so many have put to me in the days leading up to our offgoing. “How different will it be for Paulette traveling with Matt than alone?” Let´s see…we´ve gotten lost nearly everyday, walked a bunch (mostly in the wrong direction) and eaten well. So not really all that different, except I have someone else to blame for getting lost, especially since Mr. Sand claims to be able to read maps (and I know I can´t) and he thinks he can navigate by the sun, which is either just showing off, or the effects of the Horatio Hornblower book he´s reading.

Shall we start with the eating? Last night was dinner at a place Hisop, which is near our hotel, does neuvo Catalan cuisine, and was recommended by JT´s friend Terry. Awesome choice. The place was all white with one wall of red cabinets and the white highlighted only by red roses on the walls. The food was outstanding. I had an octopus salad with tomatoes, mizuna, and avocado ice cream, garnished with tomato consume. Matt had a sea cucumber and mushroom salad with blood sausage appetizer. Both fantastic.

Oh, I almost forgot the amuses. First was an oyster, lightly marinated in thyme and lemon, served with mango sorbet and a wasabi pea. Second was tuna belly with a tarragon and reduced balsamic bonbon. Both yum.

Main courses-I had the scallops, lightly seared, with zucchini flowers, a zuchini slaw, and a sauce of pumpkin soup, garnished with pomegranate seeds. Matt had braised veal shank with a red wine reduction and a turnip pudding. I can´t claim a favorite. They were both outstanding.

Yesterday we saw the Gaudi church and the Castillo Battli which was expensive to get into, but incredible. Especially the “courtyard of light” with is in the middle of the seven story building. It´s made of wavy blue tiles that get darker the higher the floor, but following a progression fo the same pattern. Thent he overlook from each landing into the courtyard has this very wavy glass you look into, giving the impression that you are under water and that the higher you climb, the deeper into the water you go. It´s the closest thing i can imagine to what it must be like to be a fish!

The church is amazing too, though far, far from finished, even though it was started 125 years ago. The people funding this massive undertaking better hope that Barçelona is not on a fault line!

The day before we walked the Rambla, kind of the big tourist street with a pedestrian way leading toward the Boqueria market. It´s lined with news stands, and people who paint themselves up in elaborate monochromatic and probably toxic paint to stand on a box and hope people will put money in their buckets. It also seems to be the equivalent of an outdoor pet flea market, with stands selling all manner of birds (from adorable tiny pink finchy things to parrots, pigeons and chickens) as well as rabbits, mice, gerbils, itty bitty little frogs and much larger tortugas with bumpy shells on their backs, and of all things, hedgehogs and chipmunks). It was, well, odd. But the animals were cute.

First night we ate at a Sicilian restaurant near the hotel because the place we wanted to go was full and a lot of things didn´t seem like the right atmosphere. They´d been open a week, but the food was delicious and homey. Matt had homemade tagliatelle with ham, peas, and mushrooms. I had linguine frutti di mare. Turns out the owner is from near Messina, where my brther and I will be going with my mother in six months time.

While we were there, some very chic chick sat at the bar and managed to kick one of the wine bottles ont he ledge below used for decor (bad, bad planning) which knocked two more down, for a spray of red wine and glass all over us, a lot of embarrassment on their part, and a topic for conversation to get started with our waiter, who turned out to be Tunisian, though he and the owner spent the night in lively conversation easily switching between Italian, Spanish, and French.

The next night we ate a small restaurant with a loud television, but delicous croquettes and ham and olives and mushrooms and fried herring that were then pickled in olive oil, vinegar, and paprika. One of the waiters dropped a bunch of salt and pepper shakers, so they moved us away from the mess. So you can imagine we were rather relieved that our three hour 5-star dinner last night didn´t result in any broken anything.

Today, I think we´re going closer to the water adn taking a funicular, or some such thing. Kind of depends on whether we can find it. Although we did atleast manage to get a pretty good idea of how to get to the nearest metro station without getting lost.

Talk to you all soon!


4 thoughts on “you didn´t think i´d ever get around to writing, did you?”

  1. Are you going to Bilbao??? we ate at an incredible restaurant called Gaminiz in an industrial park just outside of the city. rivals Arzak….


    The culinary headquarters of native chef Aitor Elizegi, Gaminiz is set in an improbably pretty industrial park 20 minutes’ drive outside Bilbao. Here, Elizegi fuses flavors and textures with thoroughly satisfying results. Fresh anchovies, topped with coarse-ground salt and served with celery gazpacho and green apple “tartare,” are a perfect balance of salty, sour, and sweet. The marmita de txipirón, strands of baby squid cut to resemble fettuccine and served with a savory Parmesan broth, is a playful take on a classic Basque ingredient. Pork fans shouldn’t miss the papada, a cube of salted jowl served with artichoke carpaccio and a tangy lime meringue foam. If you can’t get out of the city, try visiting Elizegi’s sister restaurant, Baita Gaminiz (meaning “also Gaminiz” in the Basque language), located in the center of Bilbao (20 Alameda de Mazarredo; 34-94-424-2267; closed Sundays, no dinner Mondays).
    Mon.—Wed. lunch only.

    and about 25 minutes from San Sebastian is an amazing fishing village called Getaria — we ate at restaurant Elkano and had some of the freshest seafood ever…blue Mediterranean lobsters (homard azule…sp?), seared hake jowels, and an amazing dish that was like egg drop soup with cepes over seared foie gras – maybe one of the single most delicious things I ate on the trip. If you do not venture out of San Sebastian, for seafood, Michelle Bernstein recommended, Casa Camara, they have a trap door in the dining room floor that they pull your lobsters up from the waters below….

    you are going to san sebastian, yes? if you do – you should also check out the spa – La Perla at La Concha – cool salt baths by the sea…and at night Museo del Whiskey. good times. have fun!

  2. Sounds like a delicious trip so far — thanks for the update! If the weather’s nice do head up to Park Guell for a picnic, it’s amazing up there. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  3. You should be glad I have no vacation left or this would have inspired me to book a ticket and crash your honeymoon! 🙂 Thanks for a post that is almost as good as being there (almost).

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