Day 5 – Espana

1 Mar

Yesterday I said I would start with tapas from last night, so I will. We went to this cute tapas place in an ally that we randomly walked down. It was called El Bixto. No more than 20 seats total, including the ones that weren’t really seats but a piece of plywood covered with material so that it hid presumably empty kegs. It was at Verdaguer I Callis 9. I’m not sure why they have on their calling card: Nos Veras desde el palau de la musica. But, they do.

Regardless, this was the most interesting-in-a-good-way food I’ve eaten so far in Spain. We ordered 2 things from the hanging menus and I asked our bartender/server what was su favorito (her favorite). The 2 dishes we ordered were as follows:

1) Ensaladillo exotica gratinada con queso ementhal con jalapeno, and
2) Milhoja de aguacate: aguacate, queso de cabra, cebolla macerada, trujiente de frutos secos, vinagreta de albahaca.

I mistakenly thought the first one was a small salad of some sort, but I was very wrong. When it came out it looked like refried beans covered with melted cheese and sliced cherry tomatoes. It was served with melba toast. Not that appetizing looking for sure. But, wow what an explosion of the senses. We dipped the melba toast in the ensaladillo (really, it was a dip) and it tasted like ground pecans and jalapeños with melted ementhaler cheese on top. And, indeed it was ground pecans and jalapeños topped with delicious gooey cheese. Whoever thought of this creation was crazy, in a good way.

The Milhoja rocked my world. It was a timbal, or terrine of sorts, with avocado, goat cheese, macerated onions in soy sauce, spiced/baked nut brittle, and cucumbers with a thyme-citrus dressing. These people really loved their nuts and so did I. I am definitely going back here.

Finally, the dish we asked the server to surprise us with was a typica Catalan dish, as she put it. It was some type of white fish escabeche served with a wasabi-mustard whipped dip. Good weird. Kind of like herring with a Japanese twist.

I should have taken pictures but we were stared at because we “clearly weren’t from around here” and I felt self-conscious with my bad Spanish.

The feature picture at top was tonight’s surprising tapas at a place called Tapas Comerc 24. It is very popular in the guide books and the Michelin guide. There was a line, but since we were a party of 2, we were seated in under 15 minutes. Notice to travelers: go in small numbers here and you’ll get in right away.

Here’s a picture of the kitchen through the bar area:

 

 

We ordered the following:
1) Tacos de cochinita pibil
2) Mc-Foie Burger (seriously, that was the name on the menu)
3) Lamb skewers
4) Tomato-olive oil bread, which is the staple here in Cataluyna
5) squab in an overly salty soy-sauce Asian, based sauce
6) Bikini Comerc – grilled cheese, jamon iberico y black truffles

The tacos were awesome. The Mc-Foie burger was served rare, so I didn’t touch it, but the whipped foie gras was excellent. The Lamb skewers had some really nice Indian spices on them, the tomato-olive bread was great except it needed some salt, the squab was WAY too salty but super cute as it was presented, and bikini comerc was as delicious a grilled cheese sandwich as one can imagine.

The pictures are all below.



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3 Responses to “Day 5 – Espana”

  1. Paul Casey March 1, 2012 at 2:06 am #

    Rachel..very jealous.our favorite country..Paul

  2. Bee Leng Chua March 1, 2012 at 2:22 am #

    The tapas in the Spain I knew – have come a long way – incorporated so many ideas from other cultures and countries. Many years ago, I saw mainly ham, cured sausages, squid, cheeses, olives, bread…drizzled with olive oil.

    What a journey it is for you and thanks for sharing. I may have to see and experience it for myself!

    Bee Leng

  3. Real-Estate Insider March 1, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    Tapas are the best idea! I’ve been in Spain for eight years and I find tapas bars are the best places to eat, drink and socialise, without the bloated feeling you get from a proper sit-down meal. Gambas pil pil is a great one – nice fat prawns in a garlic and white wine sauce.. mmmmmmmm!

    Enjoy!

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