Marcelle’s Adventure in Spain

Each year, I try to take one or two big/international trips. I was fortunate to travel to Barcelona, Spain this March. While I was there for only one full week – not long enough – I made the most of each day. I visited museums, toured cathedrals, churches, monuments, enjoyed Gaudi buildings, spent time by the beaches and in the parks, checked out the music scene…

 

But let’s be real, I was really there for the food (and the sangria).

 

The food and beverage items I consumed at every chance I could get included:
 

  • Café con Leche – I’m not typically someone who drinks coffee every day, but there is something particularly incredible about the coffee in Spain. I ordered it with steamed milk (latte style), no sugar.
  • Baked Goods (especially croissants and sandwiches) – Again, baked goods are not something I order everywhere I go, but I couldn’t resist the flaky croissants and skinny baguette breads, crispy yet somehow soft and fresh altogether.
  • Gelato – I think I ate gelato every day I was in Barcelona, sometimes 2x/day. I didn’t realize Spanish gelato would be so different from the gelato I was used to. My favorite flavors were Coconut and Hazelnut.
  • Sangria – When in Barcelona, order a jug of sangria at every restaurant you see. I don’t care what time of day it is, just do it.
  • Vermouth – Don’t forget the vermouth! Spanish vermouth quickly became my favorite drink. Get it with a slice of orange, and you’re in heaven.
  • Jamon Iberico –Thinly sliced cured ham from pigs who are fed an acorn diet, unique to Spain and Portugal. Some restaurants even go as far as hiring someone whose title is strictly “Jamon Cutter.”
  • Pan con Tomate – Though simple, this was one of my favorite tapas. It’s truly just bread (typically toasted or grilled) with Spanish olive oil, fresh tomato, and often fresh raw garlic rubbed across the bread to let the flavors soak in.
  • Paella – I had to try at least one kind of paella at most restaurants for dinner. To my surprise, I often found the meat and seafood flavors to be a bit overbearing – the veggie was my favorite of all.
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    Out of the wide variety of restaurants I tried, I want to include two that stood out to me: Bar Cañete and Caravelle. Though I loved many, many more, these two represent the diverse flavors I discovered eating my way through Barcelona. Meanwhile, they also offer a different “vibe” – for lack of a better word – than some of the others.

     

    Bar Cañete

    Overview

    Bar Cañete is definitely a gem in the “La Rambla” area of Barcelona – which most locals will say is not the best area for food as restaurants are overpriced and geared towards tourists. This was not the case here. The restaurant was recommended by another fellow af&co. employee, and wow, so glad I listened to her advice. Bar Cañete had to have been one of my favorite restaurants ever experienced. I loved everything from the aesthetic (open kitchen with a long L-shaped bar, plants galore, beautiful plate ware), to the service, to the wine list, to each of the dishes, and more.

     

    Favorites

    The Tuna Tartare was to die for. It was made with wild tuna, mascarpone, trout caviar, avocado whip, and crisps. So delicious that we placed a second order towards the end of our meal, right before dessert. I also loved the fried Cordoba-Style Eggplant, thinly sliced and deep fried in sugar cane honey. And of course, their Cañete-Style Garlic Shrimp was hot, buttery, and fresh with the perfect amount of garlic we all love.

     

    Caravelle

    Overview

    I visited Caravelle towards the end of my trip, when I was *shockingly* getting (sort of) sick of traditional Spanish tapas. After so many plates of padron peppers, croquettes, olives, and papas bravas, my taste buds started to crave a bit of a change. Caravelle was recommended as a go-to spot for brunch, but after perusing their dinner options featured throughout their Instagram page, I knew I had to give it a try. The concept was not only a restaurant for brunch, lunch and dinner, but also a microbrewery with a selection of unique craft beers.

     

    Favorites

    The Oak-Smoked Beef Rib plate (for 2-4) was their limited time special of the night, and one of the best dishes I’ve consumed to date. It was plated on a large wooden cutting board, served with French fries, pickled vegetables, avocado whip, and grilled zucchini. Some other dishes I loved included the Raw Salmon Tostada made with jalapeño harissa, tomatillo pico, and crispy tostada, the Meatballs slow cooked in tomato sauce with parmesan ricotta, and the Roasted Miso Cauliflower with roasted carrots, kale puree, and crisp baby beets. They also had a unique Banana Old Fashioned Cocktail and Elderflower Sangria – both of which I had yet to see featured elsewhere.

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