The (?), The Bad, and The Ugly

We got off to a great start with food in Barcelona, but over the last 36 hours we experienced some underwhelming, if not disgusting, meals. I advise that you never go to a tapas restaurant where you serve yourself by choosing individual items lined along a bar and are charged by the toothpick (one is stuck in each gross piece of bread with an even more gross topping, see photo below). We also had some less than average paella last night, but today were told that it is much better to eat paella for lunch in more seafood-oriented neighborhoods than where we were.

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Generally, we have been subsisting off of a pastry and a cortado (similar to a macchiato) for breakfast and a plain sandwich with cheese or cured meat for lunch to keep our costs down, and then having a nicer dinner. The coffee is good here and generally the food is not expensive. Today we went to La Boqueria, the market on La Rambla and near our hostal, to pick up some ingredients for a picnic. Below are some photos from the market.

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Also, as you may know, the Spanish are obsessed with ham, particularly Iberian ham, which is fatty, cured, and delicious.

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Tonight we are going to visit one of the few places we have not yet been, a neighborhood called Barcelonetta, which should have some decent seafood and a more local vibe.

41 Degrees

Last night Indi and I splurged on the new cocktail/”snacks” bar, 41 Degrees, in Barcelona that is owned by Ferran and Albert AdriĆ . The reservation-only bar is attached to the impossible to get into restaurant Tickets, which has been the subject of much talk since El Bulli closed. 41 Degrees incorporates many of the tapas from El Bulli into its menu, making it an especially exciting dinner. These are the “snacks” we indulged in (with photos): olives stuffed with anchovies (or something vaguely resembling an olive until it explodes into liquid as soon as your tongue touches it); crispy prawns with saffron (aka prawn rice crispies); smoked beef toast with rye bread, cream cheese, vinegar powder, dill, pickled onion, and chervil (this was my favorite and was created based on the chef’s Nordic travel); air bread with Iberian ham; grilled brioche with truffled cheese; Parmesan ice cream sandwiches (!); and black currant profiteroles with yoghurt and something similar to, but more subtle than, anise.

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