||[May. 12th, 2009|10:45 pm]
Kelly J. Cooper
Sunday, I slept late. Housekeeping left me utterly alone, bless them. Later, we discovered that our key cards failed & had to get replaced (weird for both to fail at once). Housekeeping is 24x7! They'll clean the room any time we're out & leave the "Please tidy up" sign hanging on the door handle.
We went on one of my BF's famous long rambles. First we walked along the Mediterranean for a while, then found an artisan's market just as it was closing down. I bought some neat hand-made trinkets. Then we headed back to the hotel to find people for dinner. We gave up trying to move the crowd, got a recommendation for local tapas from the front desk, relayed the place to the other folks, and headed out.
Just as we were getting ready to order, the BF's phone rang. They got lost. Not entirely their fault as it turned out that there are TWO instances of lonja de tapas in the area (four in total) and the hotel had sent us to the slightly fancier one (at Placeta Montcada, 5) and we had stumbled across (and sat down at) the one that was closer to the hotel (at Pla del Palau, 7).
Eventually a big pile of people showed up & got seated inside, except for one guy who stayed outside with us. Nice guy. One of many "Dave" people. Anyway, fantastic food (the guys had some beef things I didn't track; we shared ham croquettes; tuna tataky; deep fried Camembert with red fruits sauce and roasted sunflower seeds; tomato bread; potato omelette; marinated chicken skewer with soya sauce and sesame seeds; fried potatoes with spicy sauce; a salad of both fresh & dried tomatoes with fantastic dressing and warm goat cheese plus black sesame seeds and roasted sunflower seeds; and fantastic sorbet for dessert - raspberry, honeydew melon, and lemon) and excellent, attentive service.
Afterward, we returned to the hotel & the guys all went drinking & I went to sleep. When the BF came in & asked if I'd called my Mom, I asked him why he'd been asking me that all day & he pointed out that it was Mother's Day. DOH!
I called her cell & left voicemail, then called my Dad to make sure she wasn't with him & her phone off - he said that she was en route to her week-a-day job. I went back to sleep.
Monday, we both slept late! Then we went for a long walk, exploring the city, and stopped off to have ham sammiches. Turns out that tomato bread is ubiquitous - you take a baguette, you slice it in half and toast it a little, then you take half a ripe tomato and rub it all over the surface of the baguette until only a bit of skin is left (which you chuck). Hit it with a little olive oil and VOILA! Tomato bread. They serve ham on this delicious concoction too. Yum. I also bought a... let's call it a biscuit. It was a slightly sweet cracker, covered with pignoli nuts, and dipped in chocolate. Tasty!
We visited the Catedral de Barcelona but didn't go in due to the long line for entry. We did wander all around it and visited Casa de l'Ardiaca, which was cool and picturesque. We also stumbled across a sax player from New Orleans (he announced, in English, that he needed a break after finishing an excellent rendition of "Take 5", so I went over and introduced myself & asked where he was from originally; he said New Orleans, I told him I was from Jersey). The BF revealed his "MAKE LEVEES NOT WAR" t-shirt under his button-down shirt and the gent laughed. As we wandered off, he said something like "I'll play you some New York music," and proceeded to do a perfect version of Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind." Fantastic acoustics there with all the big stone walls.
By the time we'd wandered through the old town district (which was now the hippie quarter and the Arabic quarter; I bought a bunch of Middle Eastern snacks there) and headed back to the hotel, we'd walked over 12,000 steps! (Impressive, but my record for the week was last Thursday, when I managed 17,857 steps.)
The BF went off to some dinner I wasn't invited to (but they had planned for me & I was expected, darnit!) so my afternoon nap turned into an all-evening nap until the BF dragged me out of bed for some dinner a little before midnight. I just went next door & got a pre-made ham sammich with some sort of sweet cheese & spinach on a chunk of Italian-spices-loaded focaccia bread. Had some trouble getting back to sleep, but made it there eventually.
And today, Tuesday, was pretty much a wash. While I woke up at noon, I couldn't get myself out of bed to DO anything until around 5pm, when I finally showered. I just lay there, thinking and writing stories in my head. I suspect my body wanted a break.
We did go out with the group to dinner again, and ended up at the same damn tapas place, but that gave me the opportunity to try a bunch more things! Again, including things that others ordered. Our best buddy joined us for this dinner, while Dave was stuck at another table talking nerd politics.
Anyway, we had fresh fried sardines; kalamata olives in oil with sesame seeds; tomato-based gazpacho; Norwegian diced salmon marinated in soy sauce & fresh dill oil; grilled duck foie gras with ginger bread and mango coulis; grilled iberic pork 'Joselito' D.O. Guijuelo with quince jam; dried sausages; deep fried small peppers from padron with maldon salt; the tomato salad again; and for dessert this time I had "Three textures of chocolate with virgin oil and maldon salt" which turned out to be a small scoop of chocolate ice cream with flakes of salt on top, sitting on a chocolate cracker, which sat upon a molten chocolate brownie, which sat in a puddle of olive oil - it was AMAZING and the most interesting blend of flavors... whoa! Wow. YUMMY!
Afterward, the guys all went for a nightcap & the BF set up the computer so I could catch up on stuff. And here we are.
Tomorrow, I think I'll shoot for La Rambla & try to see some Gaudi buildings. Good night!