Espana Part Four: Barcelona Part Two

by janet on July 21st, 2010

Do they really need ALL of us to hold them up? Don’t they has wings?

After our toothpicky fun, R2 and I went to the Barcelona cathedral – technically Catedral de Santa Eulalia de Barcelona. Saint Eulalia was a poor 13-year-old girl who was tortured 13 times by the Romans for refusing to recant her Christianity before being crucified on an X-shaped cross; this X appears on every pew and all over the catedral.

Until I wiki-ed it right now, I didn’t quite understand what “tortured 13 times” meant, but apparently this included cutting off her breasts, putting her into a barrel with glass or perhaps knives (details) and rolling her down a hill, and decapitation (at which point a dove allegedly flew out of her neck stump?).

Intensezors.

To lighten the mood, R2 said:

Catedral. CATedral. LOLCATedral. Get it? Wordplay.

Janet: [weakly] heh heh

R2: [insistent] LOLCATedral! …Where we sacrifice Buttins [Tinx's cat; see below] to Satan! …That’s YOU! [Satan is indeed my nickname in some circles] Didn’t you say you wanted to eat a beating snake heart? You can eat a beating kitteh heart!

Janet: [stares]

R2: [getting more desperate] Or a BUNNY!  But it has to be a CUTE bunny! A…white one! Virginal! It MUST be the cutest bunny on all the earth to satisfy the mighty and terrifying LOLCATedral gods!

Janet: I’m SO putting this in the blog.

R2: Noooo I’m gonna seem creepy!

Done and done.

The law clearly states you can’t do anything mean to me or my heart once my pupils reach a certain size

For dinner we did a Rick Steves-sanctioned tapas crawl in the Ribera district. We went to Taller de Tapas, which was a trendy and upscale tapas bar where we paid much money for standard fare. Standard meaning jamon de croquettes, bacalao de croquettes, deep fried artichoke, and pan. After a day of walking around, and after the tall pitcher of cava sangria (white sangria with bubbly) we had on the waterfront, we much enjoyed the food as efficient calorie-delivering vehicles.

R2 sang the word “balls” to the rhythm of that Shots song

Next we went to Sagardi, which sounded fun in the guidebook because it was a grab-whatever-you-want kind of place, and the actual establishment was HOPPIN. But as soon as we got there, I had brain/worm deja vu. And I looked farther down the bar and realized that ALL the tapas were identical to that we had seen earlier at Taverna Basca Irati which was a disappointment and a half since (a) we had eaten it all earlier and (b) we realized Rick Steves was playing favorites but trying to lie to us about it. Just to confirm, I looked at their menu, which had the same logo as Irati, thus confirming our suspicions. We said “PAH!” and stomped out (but not before eating a smoked salmon pintxo with nommalicious horseradish).

We put the guidebook away (why were we trusting a guy who (a) has two first names; and (b) has a weird already-pluralized last name so it’s confusing as to where to put the apostrophe in the first place?) and went into a smaller but still classy joint a little bit down the street. We were not given a menu but were commanded to order by a scary lady, so we just pointed to some things that were out on the bar. We ended up with some sort of meatball and some sort of fish stew.

Damnit did I use my R2 balls story already?

I wish wish wished the meatballs were lamb, but instead I think they were beef. The green olives nestled in there were the best part.

The fish stew was oilier than I preferred, but so salty it zinged all the way into my eyebrows (which I like).

R2 said “CLAMS CLAMS” like that robot Mafia dude on Futurama

I loved Espana, but I was missing cheese. Manchego is nice but as mild as butter. So we headed to Cheese Me, where we got a Spanish cheese plate.

The blue cheese on the slab was so sharp it made my mouth hurt and tingle thereafter for at least three minutes. It was sharp enough to the point that eating it became a game, akin to consuming Pop Rocks or Atomic Fireballs. I would play blue cheese roulette by going around the platter in a circle, making excited Wheel of Fortune noises when I got close to landing on the blue cheese.

I may have been massively drunk.

Chickens can’t make this – yet another reason why fowl sucks

The following day we went to Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia – a super cool outing with dizzifying circular stairs up and down incredibly tall spires. I liked looking at Gaudi’s desk, which was preserved exactly as it was on the day of his death.

If you look closely, you can see his sack dinner hanging there. Apparently his dinner consisted of  two small slices of bread spread with honey and a small handful of raisins, thus proving to me that he might be an architectural genius, but he’s a glycemic index dumbass.

[Menacingly] I eat dinners like yours for BREAKFAST

Now that we knew that Rick Steves recs were generally American-friendly and chain-ey, we decided to do his “dark,” “rough-edged” tapas crawl that will “stain your journal” along Carrer de la Merce. We assumed that this meant, in normal speak, that this would be just a normal tapas crawl. And it was.

First was R2′s favorite resto and favorite dish in all of Spain, at La Pulperia. There, we had pulpo – octopus – a la plancha. It was grilled, salty, and flavorful, and rapidly cut up into bits by Mr. Pulpo (R2′s name for him) using scissors.

It’s ok it’s ok – that’s paprika on us, not blood

Then, to La Plata, which served only fried anchovies (FINALLY! We had been hunting for them since Madrid), salad, and super cheap keg wine. Fried anchovies might be my new popcorn.

Then, to a place not mentioned in the guidebook, but another one of our favorites. The people there were cheerful and friendly. We ordered sidra, the native hard cider, and appropriately marveled when he poured it out from the height of at least five feet over a barrel, and then promptly choked when the first sip hit our mouths. How do I describe it? Like a salty beer with a malty aftertaste that smells of apples. Not…great.

I assure you no walrus wants this bukkit

As we were politely suffering through our sidra, a family from New Orleans came over. The dad in the fam was clearly overserved, though in a jolly kind of way.

Dad: Now, that beef thang – HOW long is it aged?

Owner lady: Two years.

Dad: Now I’m talking about about that beef – that amazing beef. HOW long is it aged?

Owner lady: Two years. Yes, it is very delicious. Two years.

Dad: [to wife] Dang that beef was good. I asked her how long she thought it was aged but I couldn’t get a clear answer outta her. [To us] Y’ALL GOTTA TRY IT!

We obeyed.

We’ve been aged X number of years!

It was just like the luscious jamon, but this time with beef. Exactly in between ham and jerky. Well, perhaps more on the ham side. It was smoother and more deeply flavored than the jamon we had encountered, and was indeed worth getting riled up about.

We were chock full of food at this point, and couldn’t finish our entire plate, which deeply concerned both owner lady and owner man. We insisted that it was just because we were full, but they were unconvinced and to this day I wish I had just sucked it up and eaten it because their heartbroken eyes were too much to bear.

Leaving Barcelona was too much to bear. Luckily we were destined for the ultimate European beach holiday…in Mallorca!

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2 Responses to “Espana Part Four: Barcelona Part Two”

  1. tinx says:

    Buttiiiiinssss!!! She will thwart all attempts to keel her.

  2. [...] pickled red onion, salsa verde. We hoped and hoped and hoped that it would be as delicious as the pulpo a la plancha  we had in Spain, and while it wasn’t THAT good, it was the best octopus we’ve had [...]

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