Sangria and Tapas
I am about to make a bold statement – of all the places I have visited in the past few years, spanning five continents, dozens of countries and an extensive list of cities in the US, Barcelona was my favorite. I loved it all – the people, the beautiful old streets and buildings, the art, and of course, THE FOOD. Food is always my number one priority when I travel – what do people eat here? What do they like? What are they known for? There’s nothing like eating cheese in Paris, street tacos in Mexico City or dim sum in Hong Kong.
It’s all about the meat and cheese in Spain. I ate at least three of these a day but how could you possibly blame me? There are jamon shops selling these little cones of heaven all over the city. Manchego cheese with Iberico ham were the most popular (and my favorite of the assortments) but there were cones featuring all different kinds of meats – I even had one that was Spanish venison chorizo. And these cups of deliciousness are super cheap – ranging from as little as 2 to 7 euros, depending on the size and quality of the charcuterie. There are dozens of shops selling these at La Boqueria Market, which is the amazing food market in Barcelona. It reminded me so much of Pike Place in Seattle and it is a must must must visit while in Barcelona for any food lover (I walked through it every day).
Playing with fire and cocktails at Paradiso
They are all about their sangria in Spain, but they’re bringing it in the cocktail department too. One of my favorite experiences was visiting the speakeasy, Paradiso, where the entrance is located in a refrigerator door in a pastrami shop. It’s worth seeing for the entrance alone, but I was honestly more impressed with the cocktails. This bar had, by far, some of the most creative cocktails I have ever seen. Try to get a seat at the bar and enjoy the show.
Crunchy Octopus with Kimchi Mayo and Tickets’ Piparras
Dining at Tickets Bar was a truly awesome experience that I will never forget. (I’m actually planning an entire other blog piece just on this meal, so stay tuned for that.) Y’all, this is considered to be one of the best (if not the best) tapas bar in the world and it’s very difficult to get a reservation – I read comments online from people saying that they had to get one four months in advance to get in – so be prepared. I got incredibly lucky and they were able to squeeze me in (and no, they didn’t know I was a food writer – sometimes when you are dining alone you and willing to eat at 10:30 pm, you can get really lucky). This was, perhaps, the best dining experience of my life. Tapa after tapa and glass after glass of Catalonian red wine were set in front of me until I couldn’t eat anymore. The whole evening ends with a trip into their secret dessert room – that’s right people, a room just for dessert.
Tapas and vermouth in the Mediterranean
Did you know Airbnb offers experiences now? When I was in Barcelona last month, I booked a two hour sailing trip in the Mediterranean followed by tapas and vermouth on the boat for 80 euros. And there’s all kinds of things you can sign up to do – walking tours, paella cooking classes, wine tastings. Here’s all the things that are available via Airbnb Experiences right now in Barcelona. I super enjoyed my sailing, tapas, vermouth adventure.
Paella: my last meal
One cannot go to Spain and not eat paella. But would you believe I almost did? It was seriously my last meal, I chowed down on this about an hour before I hopped on a bus to head for the airport. I’m not going to tell you where to eat paella in Spain – there are a million good places. For the record, I had this seafood paella at a little restaurant right in La Boqueria, which is a place that can get a little touristy, but none the less I found it to be fantastic.