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...

Saturday, September 01, 2007

A Little Food Porn to Tie You Over

Wow, that post title came out naughtier than I was expecting. Anyhow, just wanted to write a note to say that I have LOTS of good eating to report, and posts are in the works (including positive experiences at Mistral, Gastropod, and Jules Bistro. Also, I'll report on positive return visits to some older places: Kedah House and Nu). In the mean time, join me in my Spanish food fantasies, as I prepare for my Europe trip. Here is a beautiful little slide show from Restaurant Cinc Sentits, in Barcelona, Spain.