Okay, I am typing this in a cheap hotel near Paris airport as we speak, and I’m headed back to Istanbul again to complete what some of you guys keep thinking I missed out on regardless of how I keep explaining: to explore the Sultanahmet area (Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sofia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar etc). So this will be my last Barcelona food post while I’m traveling. My next post will feature Istanbul again (if I have the time and internet to blog, that is)…
I was on a random walking trail around Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) and El Born today. It was quite a boring day to be honest. Most of those supposedly famous architectural buildings charge exorbitant fees per entry, and if we don’t enter then they’re just, well… buildings. Seriously, I think many buildings in Barcelona have been unique to me, so those so called unique buildings didn’t seem too unique to me.
So I decided to treat myself to a nice lunch. I remember there is a somewhat fine dining-esque Catalan restaurant around the neighborhood, in between the Jaume I metro station and the Basilica Santa Maria del Mar. So I went looking for it and quickly found it: Restaurant Senyor Parellada.
I lucked out this time compared to that time with my attempt for squid ink paella. The place opens for lunch at 1PM, I was there at 1.05PM, and the restaurant was completely filled by the time I placed my orders. I think this is a popular place both for the working locals and tourists alike.
Apparently, this place is famous for having one of the best paellas in Barcelona. But I’m not interested in yet another paella. Three paellas seem more than enough for me for this trip.
So I ordered something else that intrigued me. Escudella i carn d’olla. Catalan stockpot.
This was actually cheaper than paella. And the fact that it has the word “Catalan” on the dish name makes me feel I am eating yet another local dish.
It was wonderful! The broth was super rich and delicious! I think this is all thanks to the amount of meat that went into it. There’s chicken and pork meat (together with the bones), two different types of Catalan sausages, radish, cabbage and pasta. All cooked till soft and tender. Awesome!
To make matters even more awesome, I also had dessert. The one and only time where I ordered dessert to go with the mains in Barcelona. And what else could I order except the Crema Catalana (Catalan version of creme brulee)?
This was surprisingly good too! I think they added some alcohol and cinnamon into the pudding mixture. Delicious!
You would’ve thought this meal would cost a huge atomic bomb compared to my other meals. But no, these with a glass of white wine and a bottle of water came to 21€. And I just realized I have began to stop seeing the prices in terms of Ringgit and only in terms of Euros. 21€ for fine dining compared to 15€ for similar food in a bar, is a good bargain!
The hotel that I was staying in provides free breakfast. So I have been eating in throughout my stay. But on the last day, I decided to have a very light breakfast very early in the morning, and then try out one of those “secret local place” recommended by Booking.com’s people: Granja M. Viader.
Granja is a place that serves breakfasts and brunches. I guess it is the Spanish equivalent of our kopitiams, although the food and beverages offered are totally different. Granja M. Viader apparently started opening its doors for business since 1870, so they are over 140 years old as we speak…
I’m not so sure about it being the “secret local place”, but at least the “secret” part is true. The place was almost empty when I came. Although that could be due to me coming at the wrong timing. 11 AM on a Monday is not an ideal time to see if many locals would come here, is it? They’re all, well… at work. The two old couples in there having their breakfast were speaking in Catalan though.
I ordered three things here. One was what attracted me, one was what I think I should eat in Spain, and one was recommended as a house specialty.
Nice! They gave me the sugar sachet, but it was not needed. The slight sweetness plus the rich cocoa made it a very enjoyable drink.
I have to be honest, I didn’t enjoy this, for it was cold. I thought they would heat the bread up, but they didn’t. But I guess it is normal for baguettes to be cold in Europe. Just that my personal preference did not match…
By the way, “X” is pronounced “Ch”. So if you ever come to Spain and see Xurros con Xocolata in the menus somewhere, please make the right pronunciation.
Well, I ordered just Xurros, without Xocolata. After all, I already have my Cacaolat for dipping if I wanted to. But seriously, these xurros are so good they should be eaten just by itself (okay, with sugar).
I have two more food items that I can share about, but I think those places merit their individual blog posts when I get back home. So yeah… and, time to check out and head to Istanbul again! 😀 😀