Cabeza de Jabali

cansaladeria puri

cansaladeria puri

I was wandering around the Boqueria looking for something exciting and came across some Cabeza de Jabali (wild boar head) on the the Cansaladeria Puri (pork charcuterie) stall.

cabeza de jabali

cabeza de jabali

The wild boar head in question was actually wild boar brawn – listed in Larousse Gastronomique as Hure de Porc, potted head, or head cheese. In a  nutshell, the brined and slowly cooked head is turned into a terrine. Cooking the pig’s head is typical old fashioned nose to tail eating where no parts of a pig are wasted – this dish is common throughout Europe. Head cheese can also be made with cows and sheep, but pork is by far the most common ingredient.

wild boar brawn

wild boar brawn

Wild boar are native to Eurasia, North Africa and the Greater Sunda Islands. Like the pig, wild boar have also been introduced to the Americas and Australia.  In Britain, wild boar were hunted to extinction, probably by the 13th Century. There were moves to reintroduce them in the 17th Century, but as they were regarded by farmers as an agricultural nuisance, the new stocks didn’t last long. In the 1980s, wild boar were brought to Britain from France to be farmed. As this proved successful, other stocks have been introduced and bred from as far afield as Eastern Europe and Sweden. Today in Britain, there are real wild boar that have escaped and gone native. Across Europe the boar has been more successful than in Britain and in fact populations are exploding. In the vineyards of Europe the boar can be a particular problem, as a mother and babies can devour an entire harvest in a night or two! As they are hunted to keep their numbers in check, it seems only right to eat them – like deer and other game, their meat is lean and they haven’t been subjected to intensive farming. In short, they have lived decent lives.

I’ve eaten brawn made with pork quite a few times, but was excited by the chance to try the stronger wild boar flavour. The cabeza de sanglier was excellent in a bocadillo de queso – a Spanish cheese (manchego) sandwich in a baguette, where the bread is rubbed with garlic, tomato and olive oil (pan con tomate). It was also delicious served with a green salad, vinaigrette and pickles.

For a definitive brawn recipe, see Fergus Henderson’s book – Nose to Tail Eating.

Posted in Barcelona, Food, Game, Meat, Shopping, Spanish | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Feliz Navidad 2016

navidad

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

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La Carmanyola

la carmanyola

la carmanyola

I was in Poblenou again today for lunch with friends. We went a couple of streets off the beaten track and main Rambla de Poblenou to La Carmanyola (Catalan for the Lunchbox). It’s somewhat unassuming but known locally for good food, so we were lucky to get the last empty table inside. There is a terrace outside, but we were far to late at 2.30, to land a table there.

menú del dia

menú del dia

The four of us were handed little tickets with the menú del dia printed on them, somewhat like till receipts. As you can see, it was a choice of three courses with a drink for €11 each.

lentejas pardinas

lentejas pardinas

I ordered the Lentejas Pardinas to start – a Spanish brown lentil which has a regulatory council responsible for a guarantee of origin and quality. These pardina lentils (also known as Franciscan lentils) are often cooked with a piece of chorizo, tomatoes, onions, garlic, green peppers etc. If you look closely, you will see a small piece of chorizo above my spoon.

ensalada de fresas

ensalada de fresas

Adrian and Julia ordered Ensalada de Fresas – a pretty salad made with strawberries.

arroz a la habana

arroz a la habana

Gepe ordered Arroz a la Habana, also known as Arroz a la Cubana (Cuban Rice) – this is a popular rice dish in Spanish speaking countries. Apparently it comes from Peru or the Philippines and not Cuba. Normally (though there are a lot of variations) this dish contains rice, tomato sauce, a fried egg and a plantain or banana. Here there’s the addition of a slice of bacon on top. I tried this once, but it’s not my kind of dish. I am of the school of thought (or is that taste) that thinks fried egg and tomato (and that includes baked beans) must be kept apart on the plate, ideally there should be a barrier of sausage and bacon between the two. Regardless, this is quite a formidable starter!

boqueron andaluza

boqueron andaluza

I had Boqueron Andaluza for my main course – these are small anchovies dredged in flour and deep fried, served with a slice of lemon, much like whitebait. These came with fries and a little pot of allioli (an emulsion of garlic and olive oil) on the side.

bistec de girona

bistec de girona

The others ordered Bistec de Girona – steak and fries. I assume from the name that it’s beef from Girona.

tarta semifria de limon

tarta semifria de limon

I was going to order a carajillo and skip pudding, but was told I could have pudding or coffee but a carajillo would be off piste.

carajillo

carajillo

So I thought if I had to pay for a coffee with brandy I might as well have the pudding and pay extra, which is generally only €1.50 – €2. I don’t remember the price here, but it was suitably cheap and came with the usual large shot of brandy on top of the espresso! The Tarta Semifria de Limon – chilled lemon tart, was very good.

vino tinto

vino tinto

We drank the house vino tinto (Legítimo from Cariñena) with lunch – there was no rosado here, but the red (tinto) came chilled. Gepe drank his wine with Gaseosa (far left in the photo), a fizzy lemon drink, somewhere between lemonade and fizzy water. Gaseosa is popularly mixed with wine or beer, especially when it’s very hot.

interior

interior

We enjoyed good food and excellent service at La Carmanyola – I’ll be back, especially since I’ve heard they do a good paella!

La Carmanyola is at: Plaça de Julio González, 3, 08005 Barcelona.

Posted in Barcelona, Barcelona Bars and Restaurants, Drink, Eating Out, Fish, Food, Meat, Restaurants, Spanish | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Mercat de Mercats

la catedral

la catedral

After the wedding, I slept like a log and woke up feeling hungry. Lindsay turned up with croissants at midday and after a cup of tea we all decided to have lunch at the Victoria (again). I enjoyed a particularly good fideuà and crema catalana. While we were savouring carajillos, I remembered that the Mercat de Mercats (Market of Markets) was on.

 

mapa

mapa

Like the Christmas Market, the Mercat de Mercats is held in Plaça de la Cathedral. This is an annual event showcasing local food and drink from market stall holders, shops, restaurants and wine producers. I kicked myself, because we should have come here for lunch! I was feeling a bit sleepy after the Victoria, but nevertheless, as it was the last day of the three day event, I pulled myself together and got on with the job at hand.

vins

vins

I have to confess that I skipped the wines after drinking half a bottle for lunch and on reaching the food section I hesitated for just a second …before being overwhelmed and delighted by the quality of the produce.

horno santo christo

horno santo christo

Horno Santo Christo surprised me somewhat, since as well a baked goods, it had a well stocked fridge of boquerones, olives, salmon, etc.

mariscos selectos juani

mariscos selectos juani

Mariscos Selectos Juani from the Boqueria, had little paper cones of fried fish,

mariscos

mariscos

platos combinados (left) and the ever popular pulpo a la feira (boiled octopus with pimentón).

cansaladeria la confiança

cansaladeria la confiança

Cansaladeria La Confiança from Mercat de la Mercè (quite a way out of central Barcelona),

tartar

tartar

had quite a selection of exciting food, including fondue, steak tartar (above),

ous de guatlla

ous de guatlla

and quails eggs with botifara or chorizo.

lacuina internacional soley

lacuina internacional soley

La Cuina Internacional Soley, from the Boqueria,

pebrots

pebrots

sell a wide array of exotic fruits, vegetables, condiments and sauces. Here they also had arancini, croquetas, pizza, sandwiches and wraps.

vidal pons

vidal pons

Vidal Pons, now own 7 stalls in the Boqueria,

dolços

dolços

but they do sell the most astonishing array of chocolates,

confiteria

confiteria

nuts and candies, reminiscent of Fortnum and Mason in London.

molt bo

molt bo

Molt Bo, again from the Boqueria, were cooking rice dishes,

paella

paella

including a fantastic looking paella de marisco (sea food)

arròs negre

arròs negre

and arròs negre (black rice with squid ink).

olivas

olivas

La Cabana d’Alcover is a small family business near Tarragon, growing organic olives

oli d'oliva

oli d’oliva

to make a high quality extra virgin olive oil (which smells of green fruit, freshly cut grass and ripe banana). Apparently they keep a herd of sheep to control the weeds!

gori

gori

Gori Embotits de la Vall d’en Bas are artisans curing meat and sausages in beautiful valley near Girona (Vall d’en Bas).

xoriç

xoriç

These are top quality hand made chorizo and fuet

embotits curats

embotits curats

and I love these astonishingly long secallona.

formatge de búfala

formatge de búfala

Formatges Montbrú make a number of cheeses from cows, goats, sheep and buffalo. I noticed that they had a sign stating zero lactose and when I looked it up, discovered that buffalo milk is virtually lactose free. Regardless, the cheese is very tasty! The cheese is made in Moià (home to prehistoric caves) and about 31 miles from Barcelona.

valliser

valliser

Valliser are a food company in the Penedès, dedicated to producing artisanal quince.

codony

codony

The quince is a member of the Rosacae family (which also contains apples and pears). It originally came for the Eastern Mediterranean, but has spread throughout Europe and was once far more popular in Britain than it is today.

carn de codony

carn de codony

The quince can be used to produce a wine or strong liquor, though the most popular culinary products are quince jelly, jam and pudding. In Spain it is very often eaten with cheese (Manchego), in a bocadillo (sandwich) or as part of a cheese platter. The hardened jelly is sometimes referred to as quince cheese.

espai la cava

espai la cava

Espai La Cava are located quite close to La Sagrada Família and specialise in hams, cured meats and cheeses.

sobrassada artesana

sobrassada artesana

Their sobrassada (a soft, spreadable, cured pork sausage flavoured with pimentón), traditionally from the Balearic Islands was particularly good.

hortet del baix

hortet del baix

Hortet del Baix was started by two farming families, who have gone into organic fruit and vegetable box delivery, similar to companies doing this in the UK.

arròs

arròs

Arrossaires del Delta de l’Ebre are a rice growing cooperative on the Ebro Delta in the Province of Tarragona. The Arrossaires grow Bomba rice (above), which is the best known variety cooked on the East Coast of Spain. Bomba rice is very popular for dishes such as paella, Arròs Negre and Arròs a Banda. Bomba is thought to have been brought to Spain by the Moors and is believed to have originated from an Indian strain.

liqor d'arròs

liqor d’arròs

While looking at the Arrossaires’ stall, I noticed that they have diversified into making liqueurs from rice, flavouring them with cream, figs and herbs. They are also the first people to produce a rice malt beer – good news for people allergic to gluten.

embotits artesans

embotits artesans

Embotits Artesans l’Esquiador from Girona, produce artisanal cured sausages and meats.

ventresca curada

ventresca curada

Their cured pork belly was excellent.

sanpellegrino

sanpellegrino

They day had started out slightly chilly, from the rain yesterday, but this afternoon the sun shone brightly and it became quite hot and humid. I was very grateful to Sanpellegrino, who handed out free citrus flavoured water. It was so hot that I went back for a second can!

valle de aran

valle de aran

The Valle de Arán (Aran Valley) is the only part of Cataluña on the north side of the Pyrenees. The stall pictured above showcased their produce, including caviar, casis, cider, hazlenuts, jam, mustard and paté.

fires i mercats

fires i mercats

Fires i Mercats showcased vegetables,

fires i mercats - carn

fires i mercats – carn

meat and cheeses from traditional regional fairs and markets.

blau d'osona

blau d’osona

This  blau d’osona cows milk cheese (top left) had a real kick. It reminded me of Asturian cabrales cheese, which I’m very fond of.

mel muria bio

mel muria bio

Mel Muria Bio has produced award winning honey for 6 generations – they now have over 2,000 hives and sell their products throughout Cataluña and Spain.

sushi catala

sushi catala

Sushi Catala Xarcuteria is Olga Rovira’s unique Catalan take on the Japanese dish.

sushi

sushi

Olga believes that her sushi ingredients should be fresh, local and economical. It’s worth noting that there’s quite a bit of Catalan Japanese fusion going on in top Barcelona restaurants. I find this unsurprising since seafood is such a large part of the Spanish diet. In fact, Tempura originally came from Iberia via Christian missionaries – the Japanese just refined it and they have been coming to Spain to buy the very best tuna for many years.

formatges vall de cati

formatges vall de cati

Formatges Vall de Catí – cheeses from the Vall de Catí – a valley in the north of Valencia.

formatge de cabra

formatge de cabra

They produce some excellent award winning organic cheese from goat and sheep milk.

formatge d'ovella

formatge d’ovella

I was encouraged to try all their cheeses and liked the hard ovella (sheep cheese above) so much that I bought a piece.

o'croquet

o’croquet

O’Croquet, AKA Oliver Croquet, makes one of my favourite Spanish foods, the croqueta.

bacallà

bacallà

The above bacallà croquetas (salt cod), had a perfect crunch, with the right mix of creamy cod filling – to die for!

righetti forners

righetti forners

Righetti Forners – Pa i Coca de Forner. This looks like fantastic bread and coca, from the town of Gavà, just west of Barcelona El Prat Airport.

embotits can gaburra

embotits can gaburra

Embotits Can Gaburra are another cured meat and sausage company, from Olot. Their longaniza, xorizo and fuet (cured sausages) tasted so good that I had to buy some.

chicharrónes

chicharrónes

The chicharrónes (fried pork fat) were very tempting,

bull blanc

bull blanc

but were not nearly as good as this bull blanc (a bladder or intestine stuffed with pork mince and seasoning). I was quite interested in buying one of these, but they tried to push the more expensive lomo (cured pork tenderloin) on me instead, so I moved on.

quesos ojos del guadiana

quesos ojos del guadiana

Quesos Ojos del Guadiana come from Cuidad Real, so they were a long way from home. They make a first class Manchego, which they say is the “Best sheep cheese in the world.” It could definitely be one of them!

carn de vedella

carn de vedella

This beautiful piece of beef is from Barrachina Meat & Burguer (their spelling of burger on the stall) – a shop and restaurant next to the Boqueria. I’m quite sure this wasn’t minced up and served in a bun.

carnisseria gallifa

carnisseria gallifa

Carnisseria Gallifa have a stall in the Mercat de Felip II in the north of Barcelona.

carn

carn

I was impressed with their brightly coloured seasoned meats (above) and I believe they are big on barbecue.

symposion especialitats gregues

symposion especialitats gregues

Symposion Especialitats Gregues specialise in Greek produce and have a stall in the Boqueria. Back in the 90s one couldn’t find taramasalata for love nor money in Barcelona, which I considered odd, because of the Catalan love for cod and the popularity of tarama in France, just next door.

empanades

empanades

I was a little surprised to see them selling empanadas, but I realised that they contained Greek style fillings.

tapes

tapes

Olives Francesc de la Boqueria had some fantastic tapes for sale. Above are pa amb tomàquet with salt cured anchovies or boquerones for €1

pastes de pa

pastes de pa

and little rolls containing tuna or anchovies for €2.

olivas

olivas

Large cups of olives also cost €1.

trufa negra

trufa negra

I was very keen to try their black truffle potato chips (crisps) too! These are available from their stall in the Boqueria.

la belle huitre

la belle huitre

The oysters at La Belle Huitre were in a glass fridge reflecting the sun, but I did get a decent shot of their pop (octopus) on skewers above.

olivas

olivas

More olives here from Olives i conserves Torres, who are in Sant Antoni Market.

seitons i pebrot

seitons i pebrot

These are fantastic little tapes at very sensible prices, unlike London, where street food costs almost the same as a meal in a restaurant. Above are boquerones with pimiento

anxoves i pebrot

anxoves i pebrot

and here, anchovies with pimiento.

salmó i olives

salmó i olives

Even the little olives stuffed with salmon and cream cheese looked delicious.

baron de roquette buisson

baron de roquette buisson

Baron de Roquette Buisson came all the way from France,

foie gras

foie gras

with their foie gras, cassoulet and confit de canard. It is said that Jews fleeing from the Inquisition took the white beans in cassoulet to France from Spain. Most beans, aside from native broad beans, came from the Americas and would have come through Spain before reaching the rest of Europe. Cassoulet itself may be derived from the Jewish Cholent.

olives i conserves el pinyol

olives i conserves el pinyol

Yet more olives from Olives i conserves El Pinyol.

tonyina i pebrots

tonyina i pebrots

They also had remarkable value for money tapes, of tuna and red pepper,

anguilas y aceitunas

anguilas y aceitunas

eels and olives.

anxoves i olives

anxoves i olives

anchovies and olives

brandada

brandada

and some fantastic brandada in cones.

mercat de mercats

mercat de mercats

After all the shopping and tasting, I was exhausted. I didn’t even get to the restaurant demonstration section as I was badly in need of a siesta.
…later on, awake and refreshed, I cycled across the square at around 11.30pm and found that the market had completely disappeared!

Posted in Barcelona, Drink, Eating Out, Fish, Food, Meat, Shopping, Spanish | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

A Catalan Wedding

consell de cent

consell de cent

After several days of eating, drinking and celebrating, Jonas and Silvia’s wedding day finally arrived. It was a civil wedding, but they’d booked a spectacular venue – The Consell de Cent (Consejo de Ciento), the Council of the Hundred. Not long after the reconquest of Spain (from the Moors) the kingdoms of Aragon and Cataluña were joined by marriage – their government council was formed in 1249 (by King Jaume I) and from 1337 sat in this chamber until 1714, when it was abolished by Phillip V of Spain.

casa de la ciutat

casa de la ciutat

The Consell de Cent is housed in the Casa de la Cuitat (City Hall), which has a more modern, neoclassical façade (it looks good at night when the square’s not full of tourists). The Casa de la Cuitat is on one side of Plaça Sant Jaume, opposite the Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya – in Roman times this square was the site of the Forum.

According to Catalan tradition the groom is given away by his mother. Silvia was given away by her nephew. The service was in Catalan, but there was no mistaking Jonas’ affirmation when he was asked if he took Silvia to be his wife – he replied with an extremely loud, “Si!”

It had rained heavily overnight and was still spitting at 10.30 when we arrived for the wedding, but by the time we came out the rain had stopped, much to everyone’s relief. It is customary here to throw rose petals or rice. On the whole, most of the ceremony seemed quite similar to an English wedding, but here there are no bridesmaids.

la festa de noces

the hidden factory

There was a short break between the wedding and the reception. most of which was spent toasting the happy couple in Almirall Bar, which is quite literally downstairs from the flat where I’d spent my first two weeks in Barcelona back in 1991. The reception itself, was in The Hidden Factory, opposite and just down Joaquin Costa from the Almirall. I know the street well but had no idea that behind what looked like a door to an atelier, there lurked an old garment factory on several floors, literally sandwiched between two shops with apartments above.

entremesos

entremesos

The reception started with cava and some more toasting.

amuse-bouche

amuse-bouche

We were present with beautiful looking appetiser platters of cheese, ham, figs, etc.

croquetes

croquetes

Little platters of croquetas arrived,

foie gras

foie gras

along with foie gras

vegetarian option

vegetarian option

and a vegetarian pastry containing roasted peppers.

the top table

the top table

I sneaked up to the top table before having a look at the kitchen.

cuina

cuina

I don’t remember the head count, but there must have been about 50 guests.

fish course

fish course

The chefs were hard at work trying to get all the dishes to the table.

llobarro amb musclos i cloïsses

llobarro amb musclos i cloïsses

This course being fish, was a large piece of sea bass in a sauce, with clams and mussels.

pork cooking

pork cooking

The meat course, pork, was bubbling away, unusually, in a paella pan.

pork and vegetable chips

pork and vegetable chips

When it arrived at the table, it was sitting on a bed of mash with crispy vegetable chips.

pa

pa

Here even the bread looked special.

chocolate mousse

chocolate mousse

There were two puddings – chocolate mousse

fruit and flowers

fruit and flowers

or fresh fruit and flowers on a sweet brioche like bread. Anyone feeling greedy could have had both!

vi negre

vi negre

You will be unsurprised when I say I drank quite a few glasses of Coto de Hayas, a Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon blend from Campo de Borja.

Following the lavish reception we retired to the first floor at about 6.00pm, for live music, dancing and a considerable amount of drinking (until we were kicked out at 1.30 in the morning). Jonas and Silvia were insistent that everyone go back to their place for more! A small group of us thought that an additional party might be too much of an imposition, so after a night cap of vodka at Betty Ford’s we took our leave. It was quite an extraordinary day and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a happier couple!

…and the song of the day was, A Better Place by Stereo Explosion.

Posted in Barcelona, Barcelona Bars and Restaurants, Drink, Fish, Food, Meat, Spanish | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

El Museu de l’Embotit

el museu de l'embotit

el museu de l’embotit

After lunch at Le Cinquante Huit, I did some work in Poblenou, before returning to Oli’s flat in the Raval. I barely had time for a cup of tea before it was time to go out again and meet the other guests who’d arrived for the wedding. Most of the new arrivals were from Sweden (Jonas‘ homeland). Tonight we ate in El Museu de l’Embotit (the museum of cured sausages). This is another traditional bar restaurant in Sant Antoni.

el museu de l'embotit bar

el museu de l’embotit bar

Like last night at La Bodega d’en Rafel, El Museu de l’Embotit does tapas, small portions of food that can be shared between friends. We practically took over the establishment and most of the tables had been pushed together in advance, in order to accommodate us. There were probably about 40 of us, a mixture mostly of Catalans, Colombians, English and Swedes.

menú 1

menú 1

Jonas took charge and ordered from the comprehensive hand written menús.

menú 2

menú 2

Click to read what was on offer. I grabbed a seat underneath a light, so as to get some reasonable shots of the food. As luck would have it, I was opposite my new Colombian friends from last night and next to some new Swedish acquaintances on either side.

boquerones en vinagre

boquerones en vinagre

The first dish to arrive at the table was boquerones en vinagre – fresh anchovies cured in wine vinegar, served in olive oil, with parsley and green olives. This was followed by:

pa amb tomàquet

pa amb tomàquet

No meal in Cataluña is complete without pa amb tomàquet – bread rubbed with garlic and tomato, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt. We had many plates of this.

magret de pato ahumado

magret de pato ahumado

Magret de pato ahumado – thinly sliced, smoked magret de canard (the breast of a duck which has been reared for foie gras), drizzled with olive oil.

tortilla de patatas

tortilla de patatas

Tortilla de patatas – a classic Spanish omelette, made with potatoes.

patatas bravas

patatas bravas

Patatas bravas (tonight I managed to photograph them with the sauce) – chunks of fried potato drizzled with salsa brava, a hot chilli and tomato sauce (often mixed with mayonnaise these days).

croquetas

croquetas

Fantastic crispy croquetas – you can see from the irregular shapes that they are made en casa.

lomos de salmón ahumado

lomos de salmón ahumado

Lomos de salmón ahumado – thick cut loins of smoked salmon. I’ve had salmon cut like this from Hansen and Lydersen and definitely prefer it to the regular thin slices one generally gets in London.

pimientos de padrón

pimientos de padrón

Pimientos de padrón – little green peppers, originally brought to Spain from Mexico 200 years ago. They were adopted by the town of Padrón in Galicia, where they celebrate them with an annual festival in August. What makes these peppers special, is that most of them are sweet, but one in every five or so is hot. They are fried in olive oil and served salted. Eating them is like a culinary Russian roulette.

jamón asado

jamón asado con patatas

Jamón asado con patatas, a house specialty – herbed roasted ham with potatoes. I’d noticed the whole leg, earlier, coated with herbs and wrapped in foil.

morcillas de cebolla

morcillas de cebolla

Morcillas de cebolla – black puddings containing onion and sometime pine nuts. These are very popular in Cataluña and quite delicious.

mixto de jamón, embutidos y quesos

mixto de jamón, embutidos y quesos

…and one of the final dishes that arrived, mixto de jamón, embutidos y quesos – cured ham, sausage and cheeses. You can see how I nearly missed this one, it didn’t last long!

I had some interesting conversations in a mixture of Spanish, Catalan and fortunately the Swedes speak fantastic English. I was telling Silvia’s Catalan friend opposite me that I’d lived in Barcelona through the Olympics and how I keep coming back. She immediately replied, “Tú bebiste de la fuente de Canaletes” – you drank from the Canaletes fountain. …and she was right, I did, in 1993. Legend has it that if you drink from the Canaletes fountain on the Ramblas, you will fall in love with Barcelona and always return.

You will be unsurprised to hear that I drank rosado – it was a good one that I’ve previously bought in local shops. I recognised the label, but can’t for the life of me remember the name! I didn’t see the bill, but I remember that we all ate and drink copious quantities. When it came to paying, I believe that everyone put in €22, which was extremely good value. The service here was cheerful and attentive. We probably would have stayed here all night if the owners hadn’t wanted to go home to bed at about midnight.

El Museu de l’Embotit is at: C/ de Floridablanca 131, 0811, Barcelona.

As you can imagine, with the arrival of new wedding guests, the night did not end here. We walked down to Absenta del Raval, where I had 3 more glasses of wine and Silvia poured a glass of beer on my leg (last time Jonas poured a glass of red wine on the other leg) – at least beer doesn’t stain! When the bar closed, we settled up …and then the staff offered to lock the doors so we could keep on drinking. I believe a few people had already gone back to Jonas and Silvia’s, so it was decided that Jonas would go and buy wine and beer and the party would continue at home. The poor Colombian girls, who’d been out dancing until 9am, had gone to bed, but had to put up with 20 of us partying until 5am!

……………………………

No doubt I slept with the dead, but the next day I was awake before lunchtime and restored by an astonishing picante soup of bacalao, chickpeas and pimentón at the Victoria. In the evening I had supper with Dorian at Iposa – both of which are fantastic, but have been covered a few times before …so next stop, the wedding!

Posted in Barcelona, Barcelona Bars and Restaurants, Drink, Eating Out, Fish, Meat, Restaurants, Spanish | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Le Cinquante Huit

le cinquante huit

le cinquante huit

In spite of staying out nearly all night, I woke up feeling reasonably good this morning, which is just as well since I had to go to Poblenou to do a little consultation. Nookie was also working in Poblenou today, so we arranged to meet for lunch. Poblenou was once a village in its own right, it became the industrial center of Cataluña during the industrial revolution and a suburb of Barcelona. Nowadays many of the factories have been transformed into artists studios, galleries and even craft breweries – it has become quite a trendy barrio.

58 bar

58 bar

We went to look for somewhere good to eat on the Rambla de Poblenou, which runs down to the sea through shops, bars and restaurants. Oli mentioned Le Cinquante Huit (conveniently at 58 on the Rambla) when I left the house, but warned that it’s often busy. Nookie had also heard good things about it, so we went to have a look. I was half expecting a queue, but we arrived at about 3pm and had missed the rush.

58 interior

58 interior

Le Cinquante Huit looks like a small bar through the window, though there’s no doubt that it’s also a restaurant as it has four boards outside promoting the food. One walks through the bar and down a small passage, with kitchen on the right, to get to the restaurant. There’s even a courtyard with tables at the rear.

bacalao, leek and potato soup

bacalao, leek and potato soup

There was next to nothing written on the menú del dia board (outside on the right), so I wondered if they’d sold out. However, I needn’t have worried, the waiter recited four starters and mains, all of which sounded good. I chose a fantastic (and restorative) bacalao, leek and potato soup as my primer plato. The potato was just starting to crumble into the liquid and there were plenty of big chunks of salt cod amongst the strands of leek – it was delicious.

celeriac and scallop salad

celeriac and scallop salad

Nookie went off piste and ordered from long list of tapas on a blackboard that our waiter brought to the table. She had quite an extraordinary dish of scallops in a purée of céleri (celeriac) topped with a pretty salad containing little yellow flowers. I tried the scallops and purée – they were fantastic.

lubina

lubina

My main course was lubina a la brasa (grilled sea bass) with rice. Again this was excellent and the seasoning was perfect.

yogurt and honey

yogurt and honey

For pudding I had yogurt with honey.

carajillo

carajillo

I drank a very good house vermut when we arrived, followed by a glass of rosado. I finished, como siempre, with a carajillo de coñac.

The menú de mediodia, including 3 courses, a drink, bread and coffee costs €10.50 and is exceptional value. Le Cinquante Huit also does a long list of tapas at reasonable prices – it can be busy, so get here by 1.30 or come after 3.00pm.

Le Cinquante Huit is at: Rambla Poblenou 58, 08005, Barcelona.

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