Lunch at La Roca Village
In case you are wondering, where the heck is La Roca Village, link here…
Yeah, instead of sightseeing, I rather spontaneously decided to squander a day of my trip to go shopping at the premium outlets instead. Well I did get myself a new backpack, watch, wallet and two t-shirts, so I guess… Ouch! I shall write more about this place in the future (as usual), but suffice to say it is NOT inside Barcelona, and coming here is a day trip.
So I had lunch here. The shopping bus that I took gave us vouchers for a 10% discount at one of the restaurants here called Pasarela, so that’s where I went for.
I don’t think the locals come to La Roca Village a lot. Things here are actually quite expensive. The discounts here are not as generous compared to the outlets in the US. In fact, the items that I bought are items that I really need, and they are indeed slightly cheaper compared to if I buy them back in Malaysia.
Most of their transactions here I think are done with tourists. Chinese tourists especially. This place is infested with them!
The menu that I got, which is a standard menu, has Spanish names and descriptions, with NO English but Chinese translations! How about that?
A flip through the menu revealed that their agua mineral (mineral water) is priced exactly the same as their Sangria beer and an assorted array of wines. So I asked for a local specialty red wine. It is called La Rioja.
For my food, I ordered something which I thought was another Spanish specialty. I saw the word fideua and thought, “Hey this name sounds familiar! Where have I seen it before?”
Now I remember it must be Marta who mentioned it before somewhere in her blog…
This fideua, it is a creation from Valencia. In fact, paella is supposed to originate from Valencia too and not Barcelona. Much like paella, the fideua is cooked in a paella pan using more or less the same methods, but instead of rice, thin pasta noodles is used. The accompanying ingredients consist of different types of seafood.
In fact, if you ask a Valencian, he/she would tell you: paella is cooked with land animals, fideua is cooked with sea animals. The Catalan paella is a fucking abomination that should be exterminated from the face of the Earth.
My verdict? I love this! Maybe it is because I am not used to rice being al dente, but I love this more than paella!
Dinner at McDonald’s
At this point of time, I have been walking and climbing for 3 consecutive days (okay, one of them for shopping). I was really tired, and my thighs were screaming for respite. Also, thanks to the shopping, my wallet was also screaming for respite. So I planned to stay as close to the hotel as possible and get some cheap grub for dinner.
This only means two things: another paella set in one of those tents along touristy La Rambla, or fast food. In the end, I didn’t feel like having another paella, and fast food was much closer to the hotel.
So, McDonald’s it is!
I saw something interesting upon stepping into the restaurant…
There are kiosks for you to place orders by yourself, then there’s a special counter to collect your food. I don’t think I have seen this in Malaysia before. Do we already have this in certain KL outlets?
Unfortunately, you need a credit card with PIN to use it. Mine was new and I did not have time to get a PIN before I left Malaysia, so it was the normal counters for me.
Anyway, here’s what I got…
I have to admit, I do not know what does CBO stand for. I just ordered it because the picture looked prettier compared to the other items, and it looked like the only thing that I cannot find back in Malaysia. I’m pretty sure if they introduce this burger using the same name in Malaysia, it would quickly become a yellow joke in no time if you know what I mean. Lychee Pie, remember?
Let’s take a look inside…
Are those bacon bits? Yes, they’re bacon bits! Nice!
Ooohh!! Bacon pieces! Oh yeah baby! Seems like I lucked out and got myself a decent fast food burger!
Now that I’ve seen the whole thing, let me hazard a guess. CBO = Chicken, Bacon and… and what? Onion? But there’s no onions to be seen here… 🙄
So the following day, after my visit to Camp Nou, I decided to look for squid ink paella. Everyone was telling me that it is a must eat in Barcelona so I have to find it.
According to my hotel’s concierge though, actually that’s not true at all. It is more expensive and tastes the same so the locals don’t really eat it much. It only became famous among tourists after some of those TV documentaries get paid by certain restaurants to cover it.
My search led me to a secluded neighborhood plaza somewhere between the Diagonal and Fontana metro stations.
Unfortunately, the restaurant that was supposed to be the famous one was full for lunch services for the day. So I had to settle for one of the supposedly less famous ones around the plaza.
I don’t even remember the name of that restaurant I settled for, but I do remember I went there because I saw they offer something that I have been dying to try! You’ll see later…
So I sat down and immediately placed my orders of my craved food and a glass of red wine which the locals prefer. This was when the server decided to set me straight by telling me: “No senor, red wine for tourists. Catalans drink cava and white wine. I give you good local white wine.”
He did tell me the name of this good local white wine, but it was a Catalan name and I could not remember it.
Well, I suppose after this, I can say I am more of a white wine person. It seems to have subtler flavors and more refreshing compared to red wine which I think is more in-your-face in terms of flavors.
Anyway, anyway… here’s the food that I craved for…
Paella Valenciana. Paella done the Valencia way, the original way, with only land animals and nothing from the sea. And this one here is a proper one apparently. Most places in Barcelona, though they offer this item on the menu, they use pollastre, chicken. It is quite hard to find one that stays true to the origin and uses conill.
What’s conill, you might ask? Well, nothing much. Merely this…
If you decide to hate me after this, I can… no, I refuse to understand. I’m just trying to eat something that Spanish locals eat. Are you going to hate all Spanish people who loves conill meat? And how is it much more disgusting compared to eating unborn ducks (balut) for example?
So what did I think about this rabbit paella? Well, I expected the meat to be like chicken, but there’s some difference here. The meat seems more… brittle? Firmer, but not tough to chew. And it doesn’t have that strong chicken flavor to it if you know what I mean. If was most definitely very interesting indeed!
Let’s sneak in one last food item before I call it a day…
This was another thing that I have been searching high and low for because I saw it from Marta’s blog. I thought it was going to be easy to find a supermarket that sells it, but no. It took me 3 freakin’ days before I chanced upon it in one of those mini convenient stores by the metro station.
Here, I present to you, the ultimate Spanish food item not to be missed, the Frigo Pie! (pronounced Pi-e)
LOL! Yeah, an ice cream!
Interestingly, I expected this to taste and feel much like those rainbow Paddle Pops that I used to eat in Malaysia as a kid. But no… First, the texture is soft, so you can bite into it easily. Also, there’s a mild fruity flavor to the ice cream, so it felt somewhat more refreshing to be eating this.
Forget the many Italiano gelaterias all over Barcelona. This is the ultimate local’s ice cream in my opinion, and I love it! 😀 😀 😀