Writing about food is just bragging. Ohh, sure it can be fun to read, but in the end the writer is always saying, "Check out what I did that you didn't." Now, there is a saying in that state to our west which holds that if you've done it, it ain't bragging. So pardon me for the next few weeks, as I assail you with bragging boasts and prideful posts of what may go down in history as the greatest week in eating ever undertaken.
Lindsay and I arrive in Barcelona on a Tuesday under a sky bluer than a Bob Saget joke. After putting our bags down in an apartment in the Sant Pere district of the city, we set off on foot to get the lay of the land and eat lunch. After finding an old church and checking out the beach, we located Can Ramonet and set out to do some serious snacking. It was also at this time we learned, that no one eats lunch in Barcelona before two p.m.
In the time it took to take a few sips of Estrella, out came our first round of nibbles. Boquerones, anchovies, tomato bread, and pimenton de padron (counter-clockwise from bottom left). As for the tomato bread, save one dish later in the trip, we never really got it. I chalk this up to not having that dish as a cultural milestone. Pan amb tomaquet is one of those dishes Catalonians grow up eating, as a snack prepared by mom after school, or a way to stave off hunger until after Sunday Mass. Without that cultural touchstone, for us, it was a soggy and bland.
The boquerones were tart and taut, their firm meat graced by little more than vinegar, garlic, parsley, and a touch of paprika. The anchovies were another matter. I simply could not get them down. Maybe it was the overnight flight, or the stress of travel, or serious concerns over the rampant devaluation of the Euro and its inability to respond to China, but I just couldn't eat those anchovies on that day. "More for me," said Lindsay.
Not to worry as I moved onto the devouring of those green jewels. They were mostly just on the spicy side of a typical green pepper. But in that bunch were one or two that really packed a wallop. Another round of beers settled on the table before my eye caught a big bowl of wild mushrooms on the restaurant't display. Those were sauteed in a bath of olive oil and garlic before being showered with parsley. They were woodsy and deep with hints of herbs. After a glass of sherry, it was time for a well-deserved nap.