En la Casa de Xavi

el born

On Sunday were were invited to Xavi’s apartment for lunch. He lives in El Born, one of the older parts of Barcelona with narrow Medieval streets. 30 years ago parts of El Born were considered dangerous, but lately, the area has undergone a renaissance and is now quite fashionable.

jamón y salami

As a prequel to lunch we had a cold xarcuteria plate of jamón and salami.


Our first course was a very traditional Catalan salad dish caled Esqueixada – this is typically a shredded bacalao and tomato salad with onions, olives, hard boiled eggs, etc. Here Xavi added a few pieces of Sill (pickled herring) from Sweden (courtesy of el Vikingo), with some sliced Jalapeño to give it a kick.


We drank an excellent local wine, Reforjat, a vi negre (black wine).

vi negre

Note the beautiful glasses, these belonged to Xavi’s father and are over 100 years old!


The main course was a mixture of meats cooked slowly in the oven – the main ones being lamb and pig cheeks on the bone. I chose the lamb (Xai) which was beautifully tender. The dish came with delicious stewed vegetables, almost like a light, potato based sanfaina with wild mushrooms.


After the main course, Xavi’s neighbour Jasmine arrived with cava and some posh biscuits. I think the above, Verema cava, was already chilling in the fridge – again this is a local wine. The champagne glasses belong to the same set as the wine glasses and are similarly hand cut.

en casa

Jasmine is a larger than life Spanish woman, straight out of a Pedro Almodóvar film. She recounted story after story of things that had happened to her at work and we laughed and laughed for several hours. Her funniest story was about being stuck in a service lift, while everyone was on holiday for August, without a mobile phone. She said she was 30 years younger and wearing a small top and mini skirt. Eventually an old painter heard her cries for help, pried open the doors and and invited her to jump from the floor above straight into his arms. Having no other options, she eventually agreed. It was considerably funnier and far more salacious in the telling! …next she started talking about la “killer” – her mother, who likes sex so much she’s put 3 husbands in the grave! I’m sure one could listen to Jasmine’s stories for a week and create an entire Almodóvar movie around them!


Exhausted by laughter, we eventually made our way home at 7pm, with a small stop at La Principal for a carajillo …which somehow arrived with a vermut for me and a beer for Jonas!

About Mad Dog

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9 Responses to En la Casa de Xavi

  1. Eha says:

    Ha ! This kind of lunch I so understand . . . thank you for allowing us to come along ! Thinking back many of mine have lasted until the dinner hour and, at a few, a second ‘meal’ has ensued . . . 🙂 ! Lovely to learn of a part of Barcelona I did not know and have you describe a home-served meal . . . a nice one indeed 1! Am surprised that my very favourite ‘sill’ ended up in a Catalan salad – actually should try the combination of ingredients you describe as I have had problems ‘liking’ bacalao in the past . . . perhaps I could make friends approaching the beastie in this manner . . . 🙂 ? . . . . Am looking at the wine glasses . . . would have raised those with both hands methinks to avert ‘tragedy’ . . . thanks for the invite . . .

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Eha, I feel extremely privileged to have been invited – it was such a lovely afternoon filled with joy and laughter. Those wine glasses are astonishingly beautiful and I know what you mean, but at the same time they deserve to be used, albeit, carefully.

  2. jmcheney says:

    I love all those gorgeous glasses & how I wish I could have tasted that bacalao salad, which looks divine. I do love bacalao, Eha, & wish I could have it regularly. I haven’t even seen one of those little wooden boxes on the counter for eons….. Oh, I wish I could have been a little fly on the wall for the that party (a “Spanish Fly” naturally – so I would have understood those spicy stories)! Thank you for inviting us along virtually, Mad.

    • Eha says:

      *smile* I faithfully promise to try again ! I had a Portuguese housekeeper for years – every month or so she would bring another ready-made dish from home for us to try !!! Here so close to a very fish/seafood rich coastline it may be the surfeit – the huge choice of fresh items from which to choose . . .

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Judith – it was a very special day!

  3. Oh how fun! I laughed just hearing you tell the story here! Looks like a marvelous time and I learn something every time I visit! 🙂

  4. Sounds like a perfect afternoon! Just back from 2 months in Spain so lots of great food. Enjoy your visit (?) Un abrazo

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