Posts filed under ‘Restaurants’

Barcelona, The Final Two Months

Well, it had to happen. Our stay here is coming to an end. We stayed with Jackie and Sebastian for the last few months and had an absolutely fantastic time. I don’t think I managed to get on their nerves but I have been known to be wrong. Jackie and I would have some pretty heated discussions in the morning and most times she was right but I’d never admit that. I’ll miss the times we had.

Most of the last few weeks was saying goodbye to all the amazing and woderful friends we had made over the past year. There are some that will remain close to my heart forever (and they will never know who they are). I’ve put together some photos of some of the people we partied with or dined with or just hung out with over the last few weeks.

Bradley at Wushu’s

Paul

Francesca, I’ll miss her humor and outlook on life. We had fun communicating. Sha actually thought I spoke Italian but that’s a whole other story.

Sara, my spanish teacher. We became good friends. I really hope her and Andrea come to visit us in Canada. Actually I hope they all come to visit us in Canada.

Matt, a great friend whom I met in Spanish class.

His wife Elena, always smiling. The two of them were a lot of fun.

Marc, another friend from Spanish class.

I had to have a few friends who were closer to my mental age and Elena’s cousin’s baby fit the role. Same sense of humor too.

Jackie, Alex, Joy and Jesus at Joy and Jesus’ casa. They had us over for a farewell lunch

Alex and Andres having a chuckle. Andres taught Alex how to make mate.

Francisca and Sylvie fooling around. Those two were really great people. Sylvie was stressing out about her newly purchased piso in Bari Gotic. It’s an amazing place and I am sure she’ll love it when all the work is done. Francisca returns to Chile in October and we hope to visit her soon.

Mireia, she just finished her Phd thesis and was preparing to defend it. Her and Pau were super and Pau has to send me my honorary Catalan citizenship card. I’ll hold him to that too.

Jackie getting her hair done

Pau, Mireia and Jackie having a discussion. I’ll miss my discussions with Jackie………

Joy and Jesus

I have missed posting photos of many others because I don’t have them or they are really blurry. Photos taken while drinking too much wine ……

Last, but not least is Naomi. It was through her thoughtfulness and consideration that we met most of these people. Naomi always made sure that Alex and I were invited to different places. She is a bundle of energy and always up for a good time.

Many thanks to all of you who made Barcelona a special place and time for us. You are all invited to visit us in Canada anytime. Our home is always open to you so please come.

Now for the next series of adventures ………

May 10, 2007 at 2:37 pm Leave a comment

Amazing food in Girona

Of course, after all that researching we needed to eat! I was determined to have a good eating experience and after a bit of research, I decided to have lunch at Mimolet, a new restaurant about a block away from the cathedral in a tiny side street. Call it gourmet Catalan at its best. It’s not cheap but for a restaurant of its class I didn’t find it terribly expensive either. A three-course lunch menu is 14.75 euros (at night an 8-course degustation menu runs at 40 euros, which is not bad at all). The meal was well worth it. We set right beside the cheese counter and all my efforts to live dairy-free went up in smoke and I had the five cheese taster for a first course. All I can tell you is wow, it was great.

How could I resist all those wonderfully smelly cheese??

Cheese at Mimolet

As a main course I had grilled dorade, a tasty white fish from the Mediterranean, served with some nice grilled vegetables. The fish was done to perfection – cooked only until it reached opacity. Alan had Arroz con sepia, which is a rice cooked with a kind of calamari. We both had coconut sorbet with ginger as dessert, served rolled in a nice bit of crepe. I liked the meal so much that I would love to go back one day to have the tasting menu…

At night we went to the Creperie Bretonne for some highly-recommened crepes. Although the crepes were all perfectly done and I discovered a new-found love for dessert crepes, which were never my thing, the neat thing about this place was the decor. They had a bus – that’s right, a bus – inside the restaurant! The bus was hollowed out and the waiters used it as the salad counter:

Bus Bus 2

All in all, a very successful eating holiday 😉

Mimolet is on C/Pou Rodó, 12 tel 972 20 21 24

Creperie Bretonne is C/ Cort Reial, 14 tel. 972 218 120

—–

Update: There’s a Creperie Bretonne in Barcelona as well! It’s located under the big golden fish at the Passeig Maritim. And this one also has a bus inside:

Creperie Barcelona

Photo from Creperie Bretonne’s website.

March 17, 2007 at 2:06 pm 2 comments

Cantonigròs

This past weekend we went on a camino with Pau and Mireia. This hike had been in the works for quite a while. Sebastian and I had talked about organizing one way back in January. We wanted to hike up north, around Vic and Pau, who is a member of the hiking feferation in Vic, knows many of the trails there. We contacted him about a month ago to see if he was available to go for a hike with us. Sunday was the day we went. We let people know where we were going and when to meet but in the end only Alex, myself and Sebastian went from Barcelona. We left for Vic on the 9:20 train out of Placa Catalunya.

Pau i Mireia

An hour and a half later, we arrived in Vic. Pau and Mireia met us at the train station and off we went. They told us that they had made reservations for lunch and that we would be hiking to the restaurant, eating and hiking back. We were in for a huge, pleasant surprise. We headed off in the direction of Olot, which is north of Vic. The highway progressively climbed as we got further from Vic. The whole landscape changed from what we were used to in Barcelona. Most of the trees were bare of their leaves and the sky, wow, so dramatic. The sun and clouds were having this huge battle for dominance and the clouds were winning each skirmish, although at times it seemed the sun would win. It was like this for the entire day and made for some of the most dramatic skies I had ever seen.

So here’s a photo of what Barcelona was like on Thursday of last week, lush and green. Keep this in mind when you view the photos from our hike.

We pulled into a parking lot for a restaurant and our hike began. we were in an area called Cantonigròs. Pau pointed the way and off we went. The light was really flat so it was hard to get good photos since there was hardly any contrast.

We walked down the highway to a dirt road that went towards the mountain.

Actually, the road ran along a valley in between mountains, the scenery was amazing. We walked past working farms and the livestock was right there. Some of the biggest bulls I have ever seen were here too. These are cows by the way.

The path eventually started to wind it’s way upwards. It started off with a gentle climb and as we entered the forest we ran into some hunters with their dogs. We could hear dogs howling since we entered the valley. I’d never seen hunters with dogs before (except in the movies) so it was quite a treat.

Aparently there are a lot of wild boars here and signs were everywhere warning hikers of the possible danger. We kept on walking upwards and the path started to narrow at points as we made our way across the terrain.

That soon ended as we started some serious upward movements. The path varied from lots of vegetation to rock. The sky kept up the show and at this time, the clouds were really winning the battle. They were so thick it was getting dark.

You could see we’d climbed a fair bit up into the mountains

and of course we had to shoot some photos (just the excuse I needed for a rest)

After our rest, ooops, I mean photo session, we climbed at a much quicker rate. The slope of the path increased quite a bit. I was sweating like mad. I sweat easily, even just doing my weight workout. I keep meaning to ask a doctor if it’s good to sweat so easily or is it a sign that something is up. I’ll have to wait until I get back to Canada I guess. Here’s the view from a little higher up, note the sky again. The sun is starting to gain a little ground.

At this point we’re “almost” at the restaurant. It’s on top of that mountain in the back and if you look closely you can see the trail that leads up. This was going to be fun (tongue in cheek).

We started up the trail and Sebastian, the mountain goat, went bouncing up the trail. You can see where we had come from and now, where we are going.

I went up at a good rate and stopped about half way up. I could actually hear my heart pounding, it was amazing. On the way up there was a marker and it gives you an idea of just how high we’d climbed in 1 hour and 30 minutes.

On top of this mountian were more trails continuing on and walking the narrow trail gave you fantastic views on both sides of the range.

It was weird because the sun was winning the war on one side and it seemed like the clouds were gathering on the other side to attack.

This was an amzing place to be. So close to the edge and nothing to guide you. You really felt the three dimensional world when you looked at the edge of the cliff.

There was also a geological marker placed at the top and there were indicators to different areas on the horizon.

As high as we were, the trail climbed even higher. Since our table was ready we only went so far.

From here we turned around and went back to the restaurant.

The restaurant, Sanctuari de Cabrera, is in a building that heralds from medieval times. It was a church and a sanctuary and the church is still there beside the resaurant. A really amazing place and a fantastic treat.

We had salad, mountain paella, beef, wine, dessert,coffee and penty of great conversation. I might add that at the beginning of the day, we, or should I say they, decided to speak only spanish and catalan. I survived and even managed to get into the conversations.

Pau and Mireia even taught me how to drink wine from a porron, a catalan wine dispenser. It takes a bit of time to master and after pouring lots of wine on my face and shirt, I finally managed it.

Here’s some clearer photos of the porron.

The room was very humid with all the cooking going on and the outside looked so uninviting. Fog was just rolling across the ground and being inside was so comforting.

The cooking was done like it has been for centuries, by fire. The kitchen had few modern conveniences since the place was so isolated.

When we left, it seemed like the sun was finally going to win the war, at least in the valley we were heading down into. The dark clouds were still blowing across so it could go any way.

The return trip took far less time than it took to get up there and when we finally made it back to the car, the sun poked out and gave us a grand farewell.

Shortly after that photo, the clouds waged a massive assault and won the day. Less than 2 hours later, the rain started.

Pau and Mireia had given memories that we will treasure for the rest of our lives. A fantastic day with fantastic friends.

February 19, 2007 at 8:11 pm 5 comments

Two Weeks

Well, it’s been a very busy two weeks. Last week we went out for beers with Keiko, Sarah, Francesca and Matt. Keiko is going back to Japan after being away for over 8 years.

She left on Feb 9 and we all had to say our goodbyes. She’ll be living with her mom just outside of Osaka. We’re all going to miss her. Francesca is heading out to Bilbao and then back to Florence until about mid March so it was kind of an adios for her too.

Sarah is friends of all of us. She was our profesora in Spanish school and we all keep in touch.

And here are the three togather. I call them “las tres chica teeras”. They are great people and I’ll miss Keiko.

After we got home from that little soiree, I received an email from a friend in Toronto. William is teaching classical guitar at York and he had a student, Jordan, who was coming to Barcelona for spring break and he wanted to buy a guitar. I bought mine here and I thought the luthier where I bought was a special place. I sent an email to Jordan and agreed to meet him when he arrived on Feb 10. We actually met up on Feb 11 in Bari Gotic. He was here with his dad, Ron for a few days of relaxation. We hit it off like old friends and ended up showing them the sites for their entire stay. We brought Jordan to the guitar store on Monday and he tried out quite a few instruments.

He found one he really liked, an Alhambra and that was that. We spent the next few days touring and dining and chatting.

For their last night here, we took them to our favaorite restaurant in Barcelona, Wushu’s. During our brief time together Ron and I discovered a link we had from way back. When I was around three or four we lived in Ottawa, just off Island Park Drive. Our backyard bordered with another house that was owned by a fellow named Joe Feller. Well, it turns out that Ron know’s Joe Feller’s son and had actually been inside that house. We had been chatting about links in life and that started me thinking about some other events that happened and put me into a particular space. One that came to mind immediately was the writing of the previous post, Tribute to Our Frineds (Ron and Jordan are part of that group now).

Listen to this, it’s so strange. The reason that post is there is because a female French journalist, dropped a copy of “The Little Prince” in the Sahara desert, during the Paris / Dahkar rally. I won’t go into the sequence of events that led up to the post but I will relate the last piece. We went to see Moussa (see Alex’s blog for more info) and his words really brought the value of things to the forefront. He was the catalyst that caused me to write something I only would think about. I’m sure there are many more I could find out about. Anyhow, that one was cool.

Jordan and Ron have left now but we, both Alex and I, feel our lives are richer for having met them. I must thank William.

February 14, 2007 at 7:55 pm Leave a comment

Wushu – New season

Yesterday we introduced our new friends Kim & Steve to our favourite restaurant in Barcelona. Wushu had been closed for about 2 weeks while Brad & Paula did some work on the place and took a much-needed vacation.

They started the new year with a new menu. Some of the basis remained – Brad’s amazing thai curries and attention to detail were still there – but dishes changed somewhat. The red curry – which I love! – now comes with duck & eggplant, the yakisoba comes with kanagaroo meat, and there’s a new green curry with prawns that looked really yummy. The prices of the mains went up a notch and the list of appetizer grew. According to Brad, they wanted to make the place more “restauranty” and less “noddle-housy”. Lunch menus continue – from tuesday to friday you can get a special dish of the day with dessert & drink for 9.90 euros. A really good deal considering the quality of the food and service.

Still highly recommended. I think I’ll have the green curry next time.

——————–

Wushu Wok/Restaurant/Bar is on c/ Colomines, 2, right behind the Mercat de Santa Caterina (Born). 933 107 313 . They are open Tue-Sat from 13:00 to 23:00.

Update: Wushu has moved to larger premises:

Avda. Marqués d’Argentera 1
08003 Barcelona
Metro: Barceloneta
Tel: 933 107 313

January 25, 2007 at 9:12 am 2 comments

Arenys De Mar

Ok, I am having trouble putting stuff in this blog. Alex is on a roller coaster, putting posts up at every whim. I was in a slump and tried different strategies to post, but none worked. There is one from Flickr that consists of taking a photo a day for 365 days. It’s a challenge and I tried to do it here but …….you see the results. I may attempt it again soon.

We have booked our flight home. We leave Barcelona on May 2. It has been a fabulous and amazing time and it went by all too quickly. I know we still have 4 months left and we will make use of every single weekend starting with this last one.

We went to a place up the coast called Arenys De Mar. It’s only a 50 minute train ride from Barcelona so we decided to go with some friends and just walk around the town.

We went up the hill into the old part of town and noticed that a lot of houses had 4 or more empty cava bottles outside. We assumed that they must have had quite the party recently but we were told that today is pickup day for the bottles. Poof, there goes this amazing fantasy I had.

Every street in the old part of town is very narrow. Some even have steps to help climb the hill. I can imagine how it must have been in the 14th century.

We even came across a little square. It had a few benches and one tree in the middle. I loved the light that was reflected from the surrounding buildings. It was quite pleasant on the eyes.

From there we walked over to the fishing port and had lunch at a nice little place called Puerto Del Mar. We ate out on the terrace by the sea and it was beautiful.

After eating we took a short walk around the fishing boats.

Saw where someone would mend their nets ….

and caught the train home. All in all a great day.

January 15, 2007 at 6:40 pm 2 comments

Catalan food: Origens 99’9%

Origen

Today we went for a late lunch/early dinner with our friends Matt, Elena, and a couple friend of theirs from Toledo, with their two little kids (Luz and Olmo). The chosen restaurant was Origens 99’9%, a small chain here in Barcelona that specializes in rescuing traditional Catalan food. Some of the recipes go back to the Middle Ages! The restaurant is also partly a gourmet store and you can buy many of the wines they serve and artisan cheeses, mermelades, desserts, and chocolates at their store.

InsideThe menu is in form of a cooking magazine, with nice pictures of the dishes, a little history on the produce or the cooking technique involved, some recipes, which you can take with you as a souvenir or to try some of the recipes at home. All the courses are half-sized (and priced accordinly) so you can try more of them and eat as little or as much as you’d like.

ceba farcidaI started with a ceba farcida (stuffed onion). Accompanying the recipe in the menu was a little history: “Stuffing vegetables with meat is a common characteristic of the Mediterranean region. Onions already used to be cultivated in Sumeria in the year 6,000 BC, and then it reached Egypt, where it passed over throughout the majority of Mediterranean towns. This dish is prepared in the area of Anoia.” This onion was stuffed with a mix of pork, veal and pinenuts and covered in a pesto sauce. It was delicious!

cim-i-tombaFor my second course I chose cim-i-tomba, a fish casserole typical of the Costa Brava. According to the menu, “it receives its name due to the way of shaking and moving of the pot when cooking takes place, in order to move the ingredients from top to bottom.” I had head of cim-i-tomba before and couldn’t pass the opportunity of trying it. It was served with lots of broth, with potatoes and onions and was very tasty. The fish was very fresh and clean.

cremaFor dessert, I couldn’t pass on the crema catalana… It’s similar to the French crème brulée, but with a creamier custard. Very nice.

Others had salad with nuts and goat cheese (amanida de fruits secs amb formatge), coca with escalivada & romesco (a slice of bread with roasted vegetables), lentils with cuttlefish and sausage (llenties amb sipia i salsitxes), pupkin and chestnut soup (sopa de carbassa i castanyes), penne with sausage and carreretas (macarrons amb salsitxa i moixernons), pork chops with chestnuts (costella de porc amb castanyes), stuffed apple of l’Empordà (poma farcida de l’Empordà), meatballs with cuttlefish (mandonguilles amb sípia), small squid with chocolate (popets amb xocolata), beef with eggplant (vedella amb albergines)…

You can download their magazine-menu here . All in all, a very good meal! We’ll definitely go back soon…

December 25, 2006 at 8:31 pm Leave a comment

Catalan food: Origens 99’9%

Origen

Today we went for a late lunch/early dinner with our friends Matt, Elena, and a couple friend of theirs from Toledo, with their two little kids (Luz and Olmo). The chosen restaurant was Origens 99’9%, a small chain here in Barcelona that specializes in rescuing traditional Catalan food. Some of the recipes go back to the Middle Ages! The restaurant is also partly a gourmet store and you can buy many of the wines they serve and artisan cheeses, mermelades, desserts, and chocolates at their store.

InsideThe menu is in form of a cooking magazine, with nice pictures of the dishes, a little history on the produce or the cooking technique involved, some recipes, which you can take with you as a souvenir or to try some of the recipes at home. All the courses are half-sized (and priced accordinly) so you can try more of them and eat as little or as much as you’d like.

ceba farcidaI started with a ceba farcida (stuffed onion). Accompanying the recipe in the menu was a little history: “Stuffing vegetables with meat is a common characteristic of the Mediterranean region. Onions already used to be cultivated in Sumeria in the year 6,000 BC, and then it reached Egypt, where it passed over throughout the majority of Mediterranean towns. This dish is prepared in the area of Anoia.” This onion was stuffed with a mix of pork, veal and pinenuts and covered in a pesto sauce. It was delicious!

cim-i-tombaFor my second course I chose cim-i-tomba, a fish casserole typical of the Costa Brava. According to the menu, “it receives its name due to the way of shaking and moving of the pot when cooking takes place, in order to move the ingredients from top to bottom.” I had head of cim-i-tomba before and couldn’t pass the opportunity of trying it. It was served with lots of broth, with potatoes and onions and was very tasty. The fish was very fresh and clean.

cremaFor dessert, I couldn’t pass on the crema catalana… It’s similar to the French crème brulée, but with a creamier custard. Very nice.

Others had salad with nuts and goat cheese (amanida de fruits secs amb formatge), coca with escalivada & romesco (a slice of bread with roasted vegetables), lentils with cuttlefish and sausage (llenties amb sipia i salsitxes), pupkin and chestnut soup (sopa de carbassa i castanyes), penne with sausage and carreretas (macarrons amb salsitxa i moixernons), pork chops with chestnuts (costella de porc amb castanyes), stuffed apple of l’Empordà (poma farcida de l’Empordà), meatballs with cuttlefish (mandonguilles amb sípia), small squid with chocolate (popets amb xocolata), beef with eggplant (vedella amb albergines)…

You can download their magazine-menu here . All in all, a very good meal! We’ll definitely go back soon…

December 25, 2006 at 8:31 pm Leave a comment

Lunch break

11:30 AM. I was working away at the archives (or trying to) when my cellphone buzzed. It was a text msg from Alan. The message was clear: “Wushu for lunch?” I knew I couldn’t really afford the time, that I should work overtime to compensate for the upcoming trip to Lisbon, but when it comes to food, I have no will-power. So Wushu it was.

Since it is mushroom season, the plato del dia was chicken with japanese mushrooms in a soy-based sauce served with jasmine rice. Dessert was a really nice passion fruit mousse served in a yogurt “soup” with biscuit. With a drink, it went for 9.90 euros.

Plato del dia

December 5, 2006 at 11:06 pm 9 comments

Wushu pictures

Christine, a friend from Montreal, was visiting last week and in between tourist sites, we took her to Wushu, our favourite restaurant. I also took the time to play with my new 50mm lens. Here are some of the pics:

Brad working away Curry Rojo con Gambas Plates Anise Pea

If you want to see larger version of these pictures, click on the first one on the left… Alternatively, you’ll find a slide show on the bottom. By the way, the dish is a Red Curry with Shrimp (Thailand). Yummm, sooo tasty

December 1, 2006 at 12:24 am 2 comments

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