Tracey Jackson

Jan 1 2014 | 10 Comments

FOOD OF BARCELONA

And cod. There are entire stores devoted to cod.

 

One thinks of Spain and the first thing that comes into mind is Tapas. I know until I went there that was always the first thing that came to mind when thinking about Spanish cuisine.  And not having experienced a lot of tapas I thought – bar snacks. I certainly did not understand they could be as varied and complex as they are. Nor was a I aware it was an actual way of eating. Many little plates of prepared food. Pick what you want. Eat on the run, or sit for hours. I think it’s swell. I wish we had more Tapas places in New York as it is exactly the way I like to eat.

While there, we did a variety of tapas dining – from the upscale place at the W Hotel, which is run by one of those bold face named Spanish Chefs, Charles Abellan, to a place that must have been The In and Out Burger version of tapas.  My favorite was the old school traditional place we wandered into that had been serving up ham and fried artichokes since 1880.

The other  thing Barcelona is big on is markets. Our friend Adriana explained that each neighborhood was built around two things a market and a church. Sometimes in the case of the market in El Born they built the market right over the Convent.

Cod.  Ham. Shrimp. Squid. Octopus. Cheese. Olives. These are just some of the staples.

And Olive Oil. Little known fact,  Spain is the largest producer of olive oil in the world.  When we think of Olive Oil we think Italy and then Greece – right?  But the Spaniards produce almost two thirds of the total tonnage of olive oil in the EC. In fact the Italians import a lot of their olive oil from Spain and then stick it their bottles and smack their labels on it.

The other thing Spain has become known for in the last two decades is top notch chefs. For ten years the number one chef in the world – year after year was Ferran Adria, the owner and chef behind  elBulli  and the world’s the foam king. People would make pilgramges to his restaurant outside of Barcelona. In a final tour not seen since Ole Blue Eyes stopped singing,  he shuttered his place two years ago, people were beyond upset by this, they started making reservations years in advance so they could get there before it closed. For foodies this was a total bucket list spot.

He has left behind a slew of young men who worked for him – all of whom have opened up their own restaurants.  We did  not plan far in enough in advance to get into any of them.

We did find a small place that was not considered the top of the top, but we had one of the best meals we’ve eaten for a long time. It’s called Gresca.  I found it by accident through the  Luxe guide.

It is tiny, maybe twelve tables.  They take it very seriously but not the point it isn’t any fun.

Sitting here on the plane heading back to New York,  I can think of about ten foods I wish I had tried and  as many restaurants I wish we had gotten to. But there is next time. And we did have some memorable meals.

Ham seems to be everywhere.

Along with the ham it's essential to have a ham slicer. People have them in their homes. Big ones, like these.

Along with the ham it’s essential to have a ham slicer. People have them in their homes. Big ones, like these.

 

Mountains of dried mushrooms at the market.

Mountains of dried mushrooms at the market.

Golden and sliver almonds for good luck.

Golden  almonds for good luck.

Marzipan. I don't think one can ever tire of marzipan.

Marzipan. I don’t think one can ever tire of marzipan.

 

Then of course you never know when you might want some chocolate boobs.

Then of course you never know when you might want some chocolate boobs.

After the ham and the chocolate boobs, fish is the main thing they seem to eat. OK, not the boobs.

After the ham and the chocolate boobs, fish is the main thing they seem to eat. OK, not the boobs.

 

And more fish.

And more fish.

 

They sell preprepared food at the markets. Some people eat it there.

They sell preprepared food at the markets. Some people eat it there.

They sell double yolk eggs.

They sell double yolk eggs.

More of the prepared dishes.

More of the prepared dishes.

 

This was a fancy Tapas place called Bra-Vo at the W Hotel.

This was a fancy Tapas place called Bra-Vo at the W Hotel.

This was a more basic place though very good.

This was a more basic place though very good.

This is white sausage.  They call it butifarra blanca.

This is white sausage. They call it butifarra blanca.

This was one of my favorites. I'm easy to please.

This was one of my favorites. I’m easy to please.

 

We went to this very cool sweet shop in the Gothic quarter. Everything they serve is made by nuns and monks. This is looking down through the grate.

We went to this very cool sweet shop in the Gothic quarter. Everything they serve is made by nuns and monks. This is looking down through the grate.

Sweets baked by nuns and monks at Caelum.

Sweets baked by nuns and monks at Caelum.

This was what our little group had They were all amazing.

This was what our little group had They were all amazing.

This is where you eat. It feels like it's from another time.

This is where you eat. It feels like it’s from another time.

An Egg Souffle at Gresca.

An Egg Souffle at Gresca.

Then when you stick a fork in the yolk does that thing yolks tend to do. I don't love yolks like this, but both my girls do.

Then when you stick a fork in the yolk does that thing yolks tend to do. I don’t love yolks like this, but both my girls do.

 

I had this it was a ham salad with artichokes. I could have eaten four of them.

I had this it was a ham salad with artichokes. I could have eaten four of them.

In true Glenn fashion he had have some octopus.

In true Glenn fashion he had have some octopus.

 

Taylor and I both had this scallop dish.

Taylor and I both had this scallop dish.

And while Lucy expanded her palate this trip, she did have a steak.

And while Lucy expanded her palate this trip, she did have a steak.

 

We had this wonderful chocolate thing that was attacked before I could take a pristine shot of it.  We are now home and I'm going in to make a turkey sandwich and go to sleep.

We had this wonderful chocolate thing that was attacked before I could take a pristine shot of it. We are now home and I’m going in to make a turkey sandwich and go to sleep.

 

BRA-VO – Hotel W  - www.CHARLESBELLAN.COM

GRESCA – C/Provenca,230  93 451 693

CAELUM – c/ de la Palla, 8 93 302 69 93

  • http://www.startupmanagement.org/ William Mougayar

    Wow, I love these pics. Food porn!

  • Larry

    Another winner both pictorially and grammatically. Loved it. If we here in the US cooked with olive oil exclusively it would make a difference. Thanks again for taking me on your trip.

  • http://www.gothamgal.com Gotham Gal

    The food looks divine. Happy New Year to you and the fam.

  • http://www.traceyjacksononline.com/ Tracey Jackson

    It is….But ya know. We can all use a little food porn from time to time.
    Happy New Year William!

  • http://www.traceyjacksononline.com/ Tracey Jackson

    Thank you Larry. You are so right about the olive oil. You know being as health and fitness aware as you are it’s the best fat we can eat. We should outlaw butter except for special occasions and only use olive oil.
    We always ask them to take the butter off the table and replace it with olive oil.
    Happy New Year.

  • http://www.traceyjacksononline.com/ Tracey Jackson

    Thank you GG. As I was writing it, I said to Glenn I’m doing a GG blog. Happy New Year to you and yours!

  • michele

    beautiful and enticing! Thank you Tracey for this trip into gastronomical heaven! now I am hungry for something delicious…cod perhaps?!

  • QuietGuy

    Thank you for the photo journal – there’s a pleasant easiness in looking at your photos, gaining a perspective of other places. Would have been curious to know your perspective of the “W” hotel, as IMO in trying to be ever so trendy they aren’t. Your postings with pictures are edutaining.

  • http://www.traceyjacksononline.com/ Tracey Jackson

    I’m glad you find the photos pleasing. I’m not a visual person by nature, so it takes, and has a taken a lot of effort to get to the place I can photograph things that actually make them look like they look.
    I’m not a big fan of the W chain. I find them impersonal for the most part. I find the public spaces cold and that “trendy” thing they try to do feels forced. The one in Barcelona is a bit out of the way, though it is on the water. I imagine in the summer it is hopping, this time of year not so much. I prefer to be in the thick of things. We were staying at The Majestic which was a wonderful hotel in every way. We had a truly memorable room.
    I will say, I once stayed at The W in Seattle and liked that quite a lot. But otherwise I tend to avoid them.

  • http://www.traceyjacksononline.com/ Tracey Jackson

    Cod. Always the healthy choice and very delicious.