Sunday, September 30, 2007

I'm Ba-ack!

Just a quick note to say that I've returned from Europe, and that I'm sorry for turning Nancyland into a ghost town this last while. I'm ready to eat and blog again, so thanks to any of you who are still hanging around! Well, it's not like I've ever stopped eating... And if you thought that Vancouver was a great foodie town, you all need to go to Barcelona, Spain and the surrounding area! It blew my mind. I will going off the topic of Vancouver food for bit and I'll be posting a few highlights from Spain in the future just because the food was so wonderful.

I was literally in tears (of joy) waiting at the train station in Girona for a ride back to Barcelona because of the surprise tasting meal that I had in El Celler de Can Roca, a highly acclaimed restaurant (11th on the Restaurant magazine's 50 Best Restaurants in the World list ain't too shabby, eh?) in a smaller city a couple of hours from Barcelona, run by three brothers, right next to their parent's traditional Catalan restaurant (which unfortunately, I did not have time to try). These brothers are third generation restaurant people; dividing the roles of cuisine, wine, and dessert among them, and together they produce a very exceptional experience. It was certainly one of the best meals I've ever had, and the best service I've ever encountered. This grand nine course (plus "snacks" and petit fours) lunch capped off a mind blowing five days worth of exploring Barcelona on my own, before meeting up with my family for the rest of the vacation, so of course, as always context has so much to do with making a meal a special experience. The tears at the train station were about the amazing meal, including experiencing the warmth and exceptional craftsmanship of all of the staff there, but also about how the travelling had touched me, and the melancholy of having the trip end. I soaked up every bit of Barcelona I could in the week that I was there, and I want more. Eating out is a huge part of the culture there. And I've read that for Catalans, it is more usual to meet up with friends out at a restaurant than to invite them to their homes, unless they know each other very well. Barcelona was the only city outside of France to be named the Gourmande city of Europe by Michelin. Design and architecture are also huge parts of the psyche of the city. And the people are generally very friendly. This all makes for a really fun restaurant town - the decor, atmosphere, food presentation, food taste, food innovation or alternatively respect for tradition, wine, service and attitude of the restaurants all come together in a package. My dream job right now would be to start up a gastronomic tour company in Barcelona. That's it, I'm taking more Spanish classes. Who wants to go to Barcelona with me? We'll go to one of the best markets in the world, and we'll dine at a restaurant where you can get a six course menu of dessert dishes, and I'll show you this great little tapas restaurant I know...


ranger said...

Me me me me me! I'm sure my bf will be glad to join us.

p.s. glad you're back!

Dumpling_Girl said...

Thanks, Ranger! Oh, you'd love it! Great little night spots too - I caught a few live shows (one U.S. Jazz trio in a jazz club, a UK rock band in a warehouse style nightclub with 5 different sections, and this incredible real flamenco music with some dancing at the nightclub of a music school). On Fridays and Saturdays, clubs go to 5 am, and then after hours places go to 2 pm in the afternoon!

Diogo said...

I really enjoyed reading your blog. I also visited Barcelona.
Barcelona is today an important cultural centre and a major tourist destination and has a rich cultural heritage. Most of all I was ipressed by Gaudi's masterpieces. They are really great and awesome beauty. They are visit card of Barcelona and whole Spain. Many buildings, churches and hotels in Barcelona have an original design and architecture. There are many parks and a great number of museums, which cover different areas and eras. I really liked this wonderful and awesome beauty city

Maria said...

Barcelona is a massive exclamation if beauty, with admirable architecture and murals everywhere on the streets created by Gaudí, Miró and much others genius born in this amazing city.
The time is now for Barcelona. In the quarter-century since Spain has been freed from Franco's oppressive regime, Barcelona has led the autonomous region of Catalunya in a resurgence of a culture so esoteric and unique it is puzzling even to the rest of Spain.
The city grew and developed in a new modern tendency while the Olympic games took place in 1992, new flats and relaxing areas across the new until then non habited places.
Barcelona is the mixture of the classic and the modern, the Gothic quartier which is totally my favorite area, all those tiny streets around the wonderful cathedral, where is fresh even in summer and you feel like getting lost in your own.
Barcelona is a gateway: the gateway to Catalunya, to Spain, to the Mediterranean, and to the Pyrenees.
Barcelona is definitely beautiful, elegant and precious.

Anna said...

Hi, my name is Anna and I'm from Barcelona.
I came with my kids to Vancouver a couple of years a ago and we'll be here for one more year.
I not only agree with your comments (of course) but also want to thank you for them. There is nothing else I would add to you opinion.
We really enjoy Vancouver and other than family and friends we miss some food and ingredients.
Moltes gracies