I’ve just arrived back at the Barcelona airport to start my journey toward home, and after having the world’s most fresh, tasty, non-greasy, fluffy-yet-firm-yet-crisp Egg McMuffin (don’t judge, it’s all they had past security), I’m compelled to own up to the gluttony that has been my trip to Spain.
After a few rookie mishaps early in my trip (you just don’t order sheperd’s pie in Spain), my palette was delighted time and time again as I literally ate my way through Barcelona. I decapitated jumbo prawns by the marina, savored paella under the shadow of La Sagrada Famillia, and (pause for bite of pastry) marinated in sangria pretty much everywhere.
While I ate and drank and took photos of my conquests like the enthusiastic tourist that I am, I observed some mission-critical rules to Barcelona dining:
Eat meat. I was raised carnivore, so Barcelona is my kind of town. A typical meal was cured hams as an appetizer, grilled sausage as a first course, and steak with a side of roasted lamb as a second course. Unfortunately, dessert tended to be meat-free.
Hydrate. All that meat is salty! And as one of my fellow traveler’s dear husband said to her after she sent a picture, “honey, you look like you’re retaining water.”
If you don’t know, Google. This is how I learned (too late) that puttanesca translates to “whore sauce” and the reason it tastes a tad fishy is because those tiny little chopped up olives are really anchovies.
Wine is free. Ok, “wine is cheap” is probably more accurate, but you know when you get a lunch special that includes a side salad and a large Coke? In Barcelona that Coke is a large wine. I learned a fun trick on day one when I ordered a nice six euro glass of Spanish red with my dinner and out came an entire bottle. Viva Espagna.
Be wary of live sea creatures. I enjoyed a lovely four course seafood extravaganza while overlooking a showpiece of live ginormous lobster and shrimp just hanging out on a tray at the end of our table. Novel change from the lobster tank or giant-fish-on-ice displays I’m accustomed to, but as I spent the next fifteen hours in an agonizing food-poisoning incuded stupor all I could picture were tiny little uncooked eyes looking up at me.
Share. Tapas and sangria by the pitcher are the answer to every unsolicited “are you gonna finish that?” Tapas are small enough to taste, cheap enough to refill, and come with their very own toothpick. Sangria is fruity enough to stand in as water, cheap enough to refill and comes with its very own wooden spoon (no stained fruit fingers!). Sharing is good.
Although I navigated through a few misses, I can’t say that I had one unsatisfying meal (even the puttanesca came with free wine) during my entire trip. I’m full, I’m happy, and I already miss the salt.