So what is a trip to Spain without the food right? And the story of our trip was heavily punctuated with delicious food. Street food, restaurant food, traditional food, 5 star food. You get my drift? So I begin my culinary journey in Madrid. The first day we headed straight to a Paella place right next to Reina Sofia. The touristy stuff had been taken care of and now we could indulge in a different sensorial treat. So we opened this plastic menu with the edges well-worn (which did wonders for increasing our comfort level with this restaurant) and glanced at the pictures of the variety of Paella. Chicken, seafood, bacon, they had it all. We ordered seafood and chicken and were promptly told by our server, ‘15-20 minutes take time ok? Paella you know?’ Oh…how our anticipation increased.
Then these steaming dishes, of yellow rice mixed with a variety of meats and some sprinkled vegetables, arrived. The smell was enough to make us dive straight into the metallic hot plates. Sigh. Utter bliss. Delicious taste and uniquely Spanish. It was a great dinner.
Next day bought a lot of rain and we took the opportunity to sneak into this small roadside coffee shop where we tried churros and some caffe latte. The churros were slightly oily and too salty. We thought we would try them elsewhere but it seems Madrid is the only place that has them at every corner. Barcelona has shut down all churro shops except this one in Barri Gothic which is impossible to find (even for locals, as our tour guide informed us).
Later at night in Madrid, we made our way to Jardin Pizza, close to the Alonso Martinez/Plaza Colon area. Oh my lord. That was the most divine thin crust pizza ever. We had chicken with cheese and it just melted in our mouths. The crust was skinny but managed to hold up the pizza. Let’s just say we scarfed it down without taking a single breath. I would throughly recommend all those in Madrid to make their way to Jardin Pizza. A pizzeria with a contemporary, modern feel and great service. Must try.
Onwards to Granada. We went to this small cafe called ‘Pizza cafe’ right across from Al Hambra. The food was good but even better was the service. The whole restaurant was run by one man. He served us the food, cleaned up the table and then even walked us out, as well as held the door! The highlight of this night was this one particular tea on the menu. How can one not feel proud?
Granada also has a lot of food graffiti on walls and otherwise blank spaces like shop shutters. Food lovers, people after my own heart.
Let’s make our way to Barcelona. Since our hotel refused to give us breakfast as part of our deal, we chose to use this opportunity to explore this Eixample area and its eateries. We found a delicious bakery or patisserie and it became our tradition to have breakfast there the next 2 days. There we discovered the omelette bocadillo. Crispy fresh white bread (yes white! I had white bread after 3 years but it was the best break of routine ever!), filled with salad, mayonnaise and egg. Divine doesn’t describe it. It was absolutely scrumptious. We shared a giant one and could have gone for seconds but decided not to gain all the holiday weight in one meal. Followed by a hot cup of Cafe latte, it was a great and affordable breakfast! We also couldn’t resist trying one or 2 of the other treats on display in the glass counters. I experimented with a chocolate biscuit with oats and my husband with some yummy mini croissants. The bread in this place was unforgettable.
Let’s talk lunch now. We made our way about 2 streets away from our hotel, U232 hotel on Comte d’Urgell, and found our way to a somewhat swanky restaurant called La Cococha. Here, we order some tapas. Aubergines with cheese and a variety of seafood. And were introduced to the traditional bread rubbed in garlic and tomato.
Wow. Yummy. Definitely a must try.
This delicious food was followed by a packed day of sightseeing. There is just so much to do in Barcelona, Gaudi’s masterpieces and the parks. But we couldn’t resist a mini break. We treated ourselves to some ice cream from this place called Farrgi. I had the mango sorbet and it was amazingly refreshing!!
One bad stop and huge dietary deviation was our meal at Hard Rock Cafe. I decided, hey what’s a better place to try their burger than Barcelona. And boy did I regret that Texas Burger. Can’t say it tasted bad, but it was too fattening, large and indigestible. Only try if you have great metabolism, are looking to sleep for the next 8 hours or have a guilt free eating conscience.
Spain proved to be quite a culinary treasure and even though I did miss spicy food quite a bit, the carbs and flavors compensated quite well.