Category: Barcelona

L’Esguard, slide show



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L’Esguard: quite possibly the worst meal of my life

Micri

The usual caveats apply and all that, but I might have just eaten at the worst restaurant in the world. Not that I hadn’t been forewarned; I should have taken note when Rafael Garcia Santos, the One-Man-Michelin-Guide of Spain, contorted his face into something quite indescribable when I told him we were going to eat at l’Esguard. I should have listened to many other concerned friends who pointed out that Roses—and the legendary elBulli—was really not that much farther from Barcelona. One even pulled out a mobile and offered to get us a reservation.

Alas, I was determined. Pigheaded, I should say. I had already been to elBulli, but not yet l’Esguard. We were sticking with our plan, we would not be swayed by anyone, not even the lot of them. Our resolve was, sadly, resolute.

You could hardly blame us. The chef, Miguel Sanchez Romera, has a back-story that is more than intriguing: a brain surgeon neurologist by day, and an haute cuisine chef by night. Ok, it’s more like two and four days a week, respectively, but you get my drift. Quite an iconoclast, Sanchez Romera famously denounced the inclusion of his restaurant in the Michelin Guide for Spain. Whether he had done so pre or post the not-so-favorable mention (ok, a demotion) in said guide is up for question, however.

I knew things began southward not long after we entered the beautifully restored 16th century building. Lining the walls of the reception room were photographs of the food. Beautiful yet strangely sterile. They were blown up, spotlighted, and posed as if to demand no less than worship from the unsuspecting diners passing through the corridor.

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Rias de Galicia

(If you are reading this post on a RSS reader, you might want to click through to Chez Pim for the slideshow.

What does it tell you when you sit down to dinner at a restaurant and, a few minutes later, one of the most famous chefs in the world comes in and sit down at the next table? It says this is gonna be good, this time at least.

No, this wasn’t at some fancy do. It wasn’t planned, even. It was at a random restaurant, on a random night, entirely by accident.

Well, I supposed it’s not so random. The town was Barcelona. The night was Monday, when most other places are closed. And the place was arguably the best seafood restaurant in town. The chef wasn’t random either. Half of you probably guessed who it was already. Yes, none other than Ferran Adrià.

And, no, I’m not about to recount a seafood dinner with spherical langouste or pulpito espuma -not that oyster dirt wouldn’t be fun once in a while, I guess. But you won’t find any modern wizardry or technique here. No Centrifuge. No chemical additives. Nor will you find italics or "quotation marks" on the menu, I promise you.

This place is simple, supremely simple, and brilliantly so. It’s called Rias de Galicia. I first thought it meant the joy of Galicia or some such approximation. Me no speako Espagnol. Happily Wikipedia (and my friend Pedro) rescued me from saying such outlandish a thing on my blog for all to see. In fact, the rias of Galicia were once river valley and estuaries that are now covered by the risen seawater. It’s that special geographic characteristic of the Galician coast -where the Cantabrian sea meets the vast Atlantic ocean- that makes it such a fertile area for seafood.

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Paco Meralgo – comer algo, get it?


(If you are reading this post on a RSS reader, you might want to click through to Chez Pim for the slideshow.

Never mind. I didn’t get it either. It took our friend the Silly
Disciple
to point out the pun, and then David to translate it. I can
be that thick sometimes. You still didn’t get it? What’s Google Language Tools for?


Paco Meralgo
is a tapas bar in a town full of tapas bars, Barcelona.
With a roster of names like Pinotxo and Quim in the Boqueria market and
the world famous –you either love it or hate it- Cal Pep, just to name a few, it’s easy for yet another tapas bar to get lost in the fray.
Paco Meralgo distinguish themselves with not only good tapas fares –easy
enough to find in this town- but by opening every day of the
week. Now that’s something you don’t find every day. Ha ha –I’m just
so full of puns today. Even more amazing is that they somehow manage
to have fresh seafoods even on Sundays and Mondays. Never mind what
that Bourdain told you. It’s really quite safe to eat seafood at Paco
Meralgo even on those days. The quality is evident
enough in the photos above, so if you didn’t believe me you could see for
yourself.

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How to wake up properly in Spain

Cortado

A Cafe Cortado and a Rosquilla, that’s how.

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