Skooter reporting 08/16/12
A tapas crawl is the state-of-the-art Barcelona tradition. At the best of the city’s taverns and bars one can join the locals where the dishes on offer range from gourmet innovations to very old neighborhood favorites.
This is my third visit to Barcelona, Spain and the places that I’m going to focus on will be the city’s cozy taverns and bars offering yummy tapas, Catalonians favorite dish. First we’re going in to Bar del Pla, the place is casual, but at this bar, it still has high culinary standards close to the Museu Picasso. I would say the menu is more grand than in most taverns, with pig’s trotters and tempura-esque artichokes. Standards like pa amb tomàquet that is, toasted bread rubbed with tomato and olive oil are among the most outstanding in the city.
Speaking of Barcelona institution, Cal Pep is what I’m referring to, it got two tiny rooms with stools by a counter where chefs prepare the food on the spot. The specialty here is seafood with trifasico, it is a combination of battered whitebait, shrimp and calamari, a favorite with locals. The size and reputation of the place mean that queuing is expected, but this array makes conversation with the regulars even easier.
The internationally renowned restaurant El Bulli was set up by former head chefs Ferran and Albert Adrià is sadly now closed. But then Tickets is in its place takes Barcelona’s tapas tradition to new pinnacles. Specialities adapted from the El Bulli menu include baguettes emptied of bread and filled with Iberico ham, liquid ravioli, and candyfloss trees filled with fruit.
There are no seats, just a couple of small tables at Quimet I Quimet. Nevertheless, this glorified wine cellar serves delicious tapas, cold meats, cheeses, seafood, caviar, jams to crowds that spill onto the pavement. I just learn that Quimet is one of the favored tapas haunts of El Bulli’s Adrià brothers. I tried the salmon and truffled honey montaditos (ball shaped candy) and now I know why.
Here we are at La Cova Fumada, a family-run, hole in the wall bodega, there is not a single day it’s not full with locals. It is known that the potato bomba, consists of balls of mashed potato stuffed with meat, rolled in breadcrumbs and served with spicy sauces was created here. The three other awesome specialties that are equally deserving that drew my attention are the small octopus, marinaded sardines, and grilled breads in garlic mayonnaise.
I’m happy to be in El Quim once again, one of the highlights of the Boqueria, the food market just off La Rambla which supplies the raw ingredients for just about every restaurant in the city. It is more street stall than restaurant, I would say. But get jammed into a menu of freshly prepared seafood, Serrano ham, eggs and patatas bravas, in an environment that’s buzzing with chatter and camaraderie.
To be contued…