After spending 9 days exploring, indulging, and traveling around Spain, I managed to collect so much information, sample so many dishes, and capture many moments to share with you all. However, knowing me, I kinda went overboard with the picture taking . But how could I not when everything seemed so new and exotic to me since this trip was the first in a while that my family took to a totally new country. I took some Spanish in high school, but after not using it for five years, it became rather rusty. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how much Spanish I managed to retain and how much it helped me find my way around Spain.
My family and I took a direct flight from Bangkok to Madrid, and we were scheduled to catch another plane to Barcelona. As we landed in Madrid, it started thundering. Which, of course, in traveling language equates to a long and boring delay. But, fear not, I managed to keep myself entertain in the lounge by trying out all the interesting looking drinks they had to offer, which kept me busy for about an hour.
Afterward, we decided to go grab some food to eat at the airport and chose a busy tapas restaurant. This was the first time i realized how much of a hard time I will have in Spain when it comes to ordering food. With the nature of a tapas restaurant, they offer a large variety of small dishes. Which made it extra difficult for a non-Spanish speaker to order food without an English menu. After trying to communicate with the waiter for a good ten minutes, I managed to make out that they’re out of so many items on the menu due to many flights being delayed at the same time. So let’s have a look at what we managed to get:
I think tapas is very similar to Thai-style eating. We ease into this style of eating very easily since we already enjoy ordering many dishes to share and sampling a little bit of each. I especially like the smaller bottle of wines and cavas (Spanish sparkling wine) that they sell every where. They just look adorable!
Finally after hours of waiting, we caught a plane to Barcelona and finally arrived at our hotel. We spent a couple of minutes settling in and off we went to explore the town. The first place we went to was the street of “La Rambla” or the busiest and the most touristy street in Barcelona. The wide tree-lined street is clustered with tourists from all over the globe. Souvenir vendors, tourist information stand, and U.S. fast food chains take up most of the space> I read some where that it’s easy to spot a tourist in La Rambla since they are either the ones drinking sangria in chilly weather or the ones eating a paella on days other than a Thursday (which is paella day.) Although the street was pretty and buzzing with energy, it was not the best place to “see” Barcelona.
We decided to hop on a cab to El Born, a neighborhood fill with trendy restaurants, bars, and small boutiques. We got there, starving, around 7.30 P.M. and quickly learned one more thing about the Spanish lifestyle – no one eats before 9 P.M! Yes, I read in guidebooks that they eat late, but I didn’t realize that it was to the extent that most restaurants will not be opened before 8.30 P.M. (I guess it was partly because we went there during a national holiday/ long weekend too.) So we wandered around the street and bought ourselves some snacks from a cute chocolate shop while my parents bought some ice-cream.
After searching the block high and low, we stumbled upon a restaurant that was opened. To our delight, we gave in to our rumbling stomach and rushed into the restaurant. Little did we know that the restaurant was serving Asian-inspired tapas – probably not what we wanted for our first, official, meal in Spain! But the food turned out to be pretty good, so all was well. We started off with some mint-infused nectarine smoothies, and sampled many creative dishes such as pomegrenate salad with asian-style dressing. My favorite dish was fig topped with ham and cheese on lightly toasted baguette. Yumminess!
After eating a light meal at Santamaria. We walked to the nearby famous dessert restaurant nearby called Espai Sucre. This restaurant only serves dessert tasting menus, which was right up my alley! The restaurant was packed with patrons at 9 P.M. After studying the menu for a couple of minutes, I decided to go for the big dessert menu with wine pairing, while others ordered the chocolate menu and the little dessert menu.
Initially, I was extremely excited about the meal, however, the service was so slow that it took them 30 minutes to serve our first dish that by the time the dish was served, the whole table was half asleep and no longer so excited. Good thing that my spirit was raised at the sight of the gem-like desserts that were so beautifully and creatively presented. One thing about creative food is that, I always eat it with caution. In my mind I always hold a prejudice against overly creative food in minuscule portion that contains any word to the like of jelly or foam in their description to be not as tasty as it looks. Espai Sucre was no different – sometimes I was pleasantly surprised, while some other times I was left gagging for a good minute or two. I believe that this kind of creative food is not for every one. Some people truly enjoy eating foam and sampling bacon-flavored gelato, while I’m more of a “pile on more of the whipped cream, please” kinda girl. However, the experience itself made the meal worth it. I thoroughly enjoy the visual of each dish and totally admire the creative minds behind them. You only live once, and when would be a better time to sample goat cheese mousse and white peach jelly than my first day in Spain, right?
Comerç, 17 08003
Barcelona, Spain Tel: +93 315 12 27
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Barcelona, Spain. Tel: +34 932681630