Snacks — before lunch at the world’s No. 1 restaurant

Today I’m continuing my travels-from-Daglan saga with a report based on our recent trip to northeast Spain — Barcelona and the Costa Brava. Following this posting, I’ll begin my review of our lunch (on September 23) at the world’s No. 1 restaurant, El Celler de Can Roca, in Girona.

But before we get to world-class cuisine, let’s just have a look at some regular-class (but awfully yummy) food. Think of this as snacking before the main event.

First, the Ibérico ham that shows up at just about every restaurant and bar. No wonder it’s so popular, because it’s absolutely delicious and exceptionally tender. Here’s a platter of it (along with some mounds of flavoured cheese) that we had at the rooftop bar of our hotel in Barcelona:

The ham is especially delicious.

The ham is especially delicious.

Often the ham is served with what is simply called “tomato bread,”  but which is a wonderful  treat on its own. It’s like garlic bread without the garlic  and the thicknes and the heaviness — usually the pieces of crusty bread are relatively thin, nice and crispy, and rubbed with crushed fresh tomato. Perfect.

Seafood is ever-present on the Costa Brava, also for good reason. It’s fresh, delicious, and often cooked in ways that are unusual, at least for us. Here was Jan’s main course at one lunch on the Mediterranean coast — fish served “on its back.”

Fresh fish, cooked perfectly.

Fresh fish, cooked perfectly.

Among the other seafood treats we enjoyed were: breaded and fried squid rings; breaded and fried baby squid; meatballs cooked with cuttlefish pieces in a squid-ink stew; prawns of all kinds; and cockles.

Another seafood dish that I enjoyed were fresh crab-cake burgers, served on buns that had been doused in a green curry sauce. Here’s my plate:

Fresh crab, with a taste of India.

Fresh crab, with a taste of India.

Ever one to try local specialties, for one lunch I opted for kid (young goat) that was said to be roasted in “the traditional manner.” This was at Principal, a lovely restaurant (and tapas bar) located on a side street not far from our hotel on the Passeig de Gracia, which one travel writer called “Barcelona’s smartest street.” The roast leg of the kid was brought to our table for a viewing, after which it was taken away and carved. Eventually, the sliced meat arrived on my plate, like this:

Pieces of roast kid -- crispy on the outside, tender within.

Pieces of roast kid — crispy on the outside, tender within.

Of course, one cannot live on food alone, so on our trip we enjoyed cava (the Spanish sparkling wine), as well as red, white and rosé wine, and (of course) the odd martini or two. As a nice touch, several places in Barcelona served silver martinis — a dry martini made (properly) with gin,  but with the addition of a silver powder of some sort that added a nice colour but no added taste. Here’s one of mine:

My silver martini.

My silver martini.

I had this one at lunch at Restaurant Brown, just down the street from our hotel, on Friday, September 18. That is an easy date, and meal, to remember, because it was during that lunch that we received a text message announcing that our first granddaughter, Katharine, had just been born in Toronto. Martini indeed — the restaurant staff brought us each a glass of Champagne!

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4 Responses to Snacks — before lunch at the world’s No. 1 restaurant

  1. Robin says:

    You guys are my heroes! I love the way you are living your lives!….down to the silver martinis! (Don’cha wonder even a tiny bit what the silver powder is?)

  2. Dan & Nesta says:

    Well well well, Spain is not only about bulls!!! Appears you have been dining your way right into the world cup of culinary. What a way and place to celebrate the birth of your first granddaughter.
    CONGRATULATIONS from all of us here in the Southern tip of Africa. May she bring you loads of happiness, laughter and pride!
    We awfully miss the great weather we enjoyed in Daglan. It would appear our Summer has been Hi-jacked.
    Love, Dan, Nesta and Lindie.

  3. loren24250 says:

    You guys are terrific — thanks so much for your good wishes and nice memories. We have great memories of your visit here, and look forward to many more!

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