Friday, December 9, 2011

Spain, Barcelona Part 1: Must-eat, must-do, must-eat!

Yes, HT couple is back blogging and we also went back to Spain after a year!  If you remember our moments in Madrid, you know that we heart Spain *love*.  This time, we set foot to Barcelona which is the capital of the Catalonia region.

Just like Madrid, the food scene in Barcelona is huge. In every step, you can see a restaurant, cafe or shop drawing you to go in or grab something.

Spain is known for its small bites/tapas

Barcelona is known for its pintxos(pinchos) which is a staple in Basque region that is near to Barcelona. 

What are pintxos(pinchos)?

Pinchos as per babelfish are "thorns" in Spanish which signifies the toothpick.  These are tapas placed on small bread and stuck with a toothpick to hold them all together.  I've read in, that when taking pinchos, hold the bread and support the toothpick with your forefinger as you don't want to create a mess when picking it up.

Usually pinchos have a common price.  The sticks are used to count how many pinchos you have upon payment.  A friend of mine told me to behave and advise me not to throw the sticks on the floor (*bummer, she knows me well*)  :D)

a wide variety of pinchos

We were looking around how many pinchos the locals were having.  That night, on average, they had 2 or 3 sticks per person.  HT couple had 12 (*wuhoo) :).  Yes, we were hungry and thanks to the self-service, they just made it easy for us to grab as much as we can.

This taberna charges 1.80 euro per pincho and is near the Picasso Museum (street~carrer montcada)

Barcelona facing the Mediterrenean Sea is known for its seafood.

Friends of ours were able to get tips from a local on where to get good Catalan dishes with decent prices.

Arroz Bomba (Rice bomb) - a soupy paella starter.  Yes, it was pretty big to start with.  But i was satisfied that I ordered this.  (Ht hubbie had the same :D)  It was my first time to try out a paella this watery but i was surprised how delicious and tasteful it was.

For main course, I got kokochas.  This traditonal basque dish was inherited by Barcelona having basque as a neighboring region.  Kokochas is made of cod pieces and clams (at least in the version I had).  The cod is gelatinous because it's taken from the chin part of the cod (which i think is their cheeks already) and the clams were just so fresh and its sweetness and juiciness were inexplicable.  The clear sauce is salty and I think with the main ingredients, this was just cooked with oil and garlic(any maybe with white wine).  It was amazing how such simple ingredients bring out a great taste of the sauce and of the meat.

It was nice that they show it to me first how it was cooked, and transferred it to a plate. :)

HT hubbie's main dish - scallops wrapped in bacon.  Since there were only 3 pieces of scallops, I just let hubby enjoyed every piece of it.  He described the scallops as perfectly cooked, juicy and delicious!  Even without the bacon, the scallops were very tasty.  And the bacon just made this dish more than perfect.

this is not part of the normal menu and was their special dish for the night.  Callos which is spanish dish and also a filipino dish (we inherited it from our spaniard ancestors) is a stew of meat and ox tripe (stomach lining).  What was amazing in this dish is that there were more tripe slices than meat which in our version is the other way around.  This was an order of a friend but i was lucky to get a taste of it.  This has more intense taste and quite oily due to the abudance of tripe.  It goes well with garlic rice which my filipino friends were amazed that it was available in the restaurant.  (Filipinos eat garlic rice usually for breakfast and having it for lunch or dinner is just great).

Fonda restaurant resides in Hotel España.  This is in one of the small streets intersecting the famous La Rambla.  (street ~ carrer de Sant Pau) and in the Barri Gothic area.  The starters cost between 8-16 euros and the main courses are between 12-20 euros. 

Outside the hotel, they recognized Filipino's national hero, Jose Rizal.  He stayed in the said hotel during his stay in Barcelona during the late 1800's. 

You wonder why would Barcelona do such thing?  Yes, there is a significant number of Filipinos who lives in Barcelona. In the same street, is where most Filipino immigrants lived.  They called this street
"filipinized" .

Filipinos have a special bond among the spaniards, after all, the spanish colonization left traces of their culture, their language  and most especially their love for food to Filipinos like me. :)

More Barcelona post...coming up!