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.
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.
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.
Geppe 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!
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.
The others ordered Bistec de Girona – steak and fries. I assume from the name that it’s beef from Girona.
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.
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.
We drank the house vino tinto (Legítimo from Cariñena) with lunch – there was no rosado here, but the red (tinto) came chilled. Geppe 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.
We enjoyed good food and excellent service at La Carmanyola – I’ll be back, especially since I’ve heard they do a good paella!