Our second stop was Barcelona, Spain. I have been to Barcelona numerous times in the past and it is one of my favorite cities in the world. We didn’t have much time and I wanted to get to the Casa Mile and have lunch. It is about 4-5 miles from the port, but due to the traffic, took at least 30 minutes. A cab was the only way to insure being back at the ship on time. The Casa Mile, see below on the left, is a home built by Antoni Gaudi. A fascinating structure and one you should make sure you see the next time you are in Barcelona. In that house is a restaurant, the Café de la Pedrera. Had a wonderful lunch with anchovies (are you surprised), and a few other things (see the blog on anchovies).
The white and red anchovies were delicious. You can see the plate in front of me in the picture below. Alternating red with white anchoives. The red were more salty than the white, however, the white had a vineger background taste. Both were muted fish taste, in my iopinion.
The Gaudi Bravas potatoes were amazing. The small Yukon Gold type of potatoes, had one end flattened, and it appeared that they were baked, not boiled. They were plated “standing up” as it were, with 2 sauces, see the photo on the left above. Only 3 were left when the pictures was taken, but I felt this showed much better how this dish was prepared. You can see the undisturbed dish in the picture on the right. The garlic and white vinegar sauce was foamed between each potato, and toped with a Bravas sauce. The Bravas sauce is a red sauce, with a touch of red pepper flakes or chilis. The spice of the chilis was offset by the foamed garlic sauce. The garlic taste was very minimal. The potatoes were typical potato flavor, sweet and earthy. But adding the two sauces … YUMM!! I was then served crochettes made from roasted chicken. These were rolled in a very light breading and deep fried. A satisfying crunch when bitten into, and then the wonderful chicken flavor of the filling. I had 4 only plate but was only able to eat 3. The server suggested a tomato smeared bread, which I probably should have said no too … but I said yes. It was delicious, but as usual – I overordered. I think the tomato “spread” on the bread would be called a tomato colis. It was probably brushed onto the bread. The bread had a very open crumb, was crunchy. So with a good Catalan lager, Estrella Damm, my meal was almost complete. I saw on the bar a Spanish brandy, Torres 10 year old. So, that ended my meal. Hey give me a break I am on vacation! The brandy was complex, but a distinct flavor of caramel and a bit of smoke. It really did Wrap Up this delicious Catalan meal!
In Cartagena, I tried to obtain reservations at some up scale restaurants, but no go. So decided I would walk until I found a “regular” restaurant. El Viego Almacen looked interesting, so I walked in and ordered. The tomato, tuna and, yes again, anchovies. This was a great and simple dish. The tomatoes were fresh and the tuna was belly, very tender, certainly not your Chicken of the Sea. The anchovies were the red variety in EVOO. A little EVOO was drizzled over th dish, and a bit of salt. It was very good, but very filling. The potatoes bravos was a disappointment. However, I was so stuffed, I couldn’t have finished them anyway. However, I have to say, I would come back to Caragena again without hesitation. A beautiful city, and one that would make a wonderful 2 week vacation.