A fun weekend and now eating uber healthy

26 Jun

S and F were in Barcelona for 3 days before heading back to HI. So, they had an eating “line-up” that rivaled any I’ve ever experienced. Friday: Alkimia into Dos Palillos. Saturday: El Quim into CalPep into Osmosis. Of course, I joined them on Saturday for all of the eating and festivities.

The picture at top is a pastry from Cal Pep. I used that as my feature pic because it was one of the best pastries I’ve had in Catalonia. Most of the pastries of this sort are way too sweet and the dough is not flaky and light. This one… wow, it was perfect. The custard inside was not too sweet and it had this very airy quality about it. The pastry was light and flaky and the contrast was delicious!

Now, compared to the San Joan pastries that I had and which everyone around town buys and eats for the celebration, you can just go ahead and throw the sorry San Joan pastries in the trash. Think: bad fruitcake. Now, that seems like an oxymoron to me, as I think all fruitcake is horrendous, but the San Joan pastries managed to beat out fruitcake as the worst pastry I’ve ever eaten. They were like day old, stale white bread with candied fruit on top, all covered with simple syrup that hadn’t even soaked into the bread. Even my hamsters (when I had them) – and they were sugar fanatics – wouldn’t have eaten those.

I digress. Back to good food! Cal Pep is Shannon’s favorite tapas restaurant in Barcelona. To be sure, it has good tapas – very “clean”. I don’t think they were the best I’ve ever eaten (because I’m spoiled and have eaten so many in Barcelona), but I understand why she loves the place. It’s the atmosphere, it’s the chef, it’s the other cooks. They are all very festive. I will take my dad and Maren there when they visit.

Here are few pics of the tapas that were executed perfectly:

Clams in olive oil and lemon (these were the highlight, along with the pastry, for me):

Padron peppers (if you can’t execute these perfectly, you’re not Spanish):

And, of course the thing that many tapas restaurants love to give us when we say “chef’s choice”, even though we’re from Hawaii and eat poke all of the time, is the tuna tartar:

We also had jamon iberico, excellent fried artichokes, fried calamari (which was actually pretty bad – rubbery and cold), and a succulent beef dish.

The chef loved Shannon, as everyone does, so here’s a pic of the signed artwork he gave her:

Here’s a pic of half of our party in Cal Pep. I was, along with 3 others, at one end of the bar, so you can see that the place is not very big. That’s why it’s necessary to get in line about 1 hour before it opens. We did. There are a lot worse things than waiting with friends you love and drinking a couple of bottles of cava while you wait 😉

Man, everyone looks awesome in that pic!

Okay, back to food. So, after CalPep, we went to a wine bar. Then, I had to detox and take a nap for a few hours before a rich dinner at Osmosis. The biggest hit of the evening at Osmosis, in addition to the baby pears with pop rocks in them, was the foie micuit. I have given the recipe in a prior blog post, but I don’t remember posting a pic of the presentation. Here it is:

After dinner, 6 of the 8 of us decided we needed to see what the San Joan celebration was all about, so we went to El Born for an after dinner cocktail (for me: Hendrick’s and Fevertree with a cucumber) – at 1:00 a.m. We wanted to sit outside, but most of the bars had closed their outdoor seating by then. I wasn’t sure if it was because there were random fireworks – and some pretty big and scary – being lit indiscriminately, or if they just closed the outside seating at a certain hour. No matter, we found a cute bar. We went up this windy staircase and sat at “kids tables” with kids chairs. Seriously, I think they were from kids’ playrooms as everything was miniature. I loved it, of course. I think it also had to do with scaling. The ceiling was very low and the room wasn’t very big, so it was genius in a way.

Here’s a pic of the stir sticks I love. The bar was called Pitin Bar.

Sunday, I went to the beach with Quim and to Escriba, a seafood restaurant on the beach. There are 2 Escriba brothers who are friends of Quim. One of the brothers is a chocolatier and the other is a chef/owner of the Escriba seafood restaurant. At the restaurant, we had delicious paella Valenciana, a yummy tomato and onion salad, great clams, and my favorite dish – this puffy, hollow flat bread with jamon iberico on top, served with a side of tomato fondue. The presentation was fun! Here’s an iPhone pic:

It was a gorgeous day – mid 80s fahrenheit – and Escriba is a fabulous venue in which to eat. It’s open air and you can stare at the ocean. I learned that there was no beach there before the Olympics. Obviously, there are lots of “improvements” to cities who win the Olympics, but I am learning just how much Barcelona – and its tourists – benefitted from the Olympics. Beaches and public transit were either non-existent or in a bad way prior to the Olympics.

So, after such an indulging weekend, it’s not a surprise I had a horrendous stomach ache all Sunday night and Monday. After work on Monday, I went to the health food store and bought some aloe vera designed to drink (it coats the stomach and aids in digestion) and decided to eat healthy for a few days. Dinner was a bowl of miso soup with shitakes and tofu (I made at the apartment). Breakfast this a.m. was a bowl of quinoa cooked in milk, honey and cinnamon, topped with raisins, walnuts and fresh pear. Here’s breakfast:

I think this hot cereal would be ideal on a cold winter day and it’s super simple. Quinoa Breakfast Recipe: Heat 2 cups milk to a simmer, add in 1 cup quinoa. Simmer for about 1/2 hour or until quinoa is cooked. Add in 1 tsp. good honey and cinnamon and stir. Top with raisins, walnuts, and fresh cut pear. You can top it with anything you like, but I like the combo of nuts, dried fruit and fresh fruit. You can also use water instead of milk, or switch it with another “milk” that is a non-dairy option.

Buen Provecho!

One Response to “A fun weekend and now eating uber healthy”

  1. janet draman June 28, 2012 at 3:13 am #

    I will try your quinoa recipe as a friend gave me some that she goes to southern CO to get. A farmer that she knows raises it organically. Who knew?

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