No post on Barcelona would be complete without mentioning La Boqueria. As Barcelona's most famous outdoor market (although it's not really outdoors in my opinion because there's a roof), we definitely had to stop by. If I didn't already want to move to Barcelona, this market would have made a convert out of me. Fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, chocolate, juice, juice popsicles, etc. It's an entire world of amazing food and insanely fresh ingredients, and if I lived in Barcelona I would go there. Every. Single. Day. I was so excited and overwhelmed by it that I decreed that I wanted to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner there. So we did.
The next morning we headed to La Boqueria (luckily only 3 stops away on the metro) to get some fresh fruit and pastries for breakfast. Jake picked a chocolate croissant and a cup of fresh orange juice and he was more than happy with his selections. The Coca de Miel (Catalan) pastry I chose for breakfast was phenomenal. It was crisp, with a thin honey sauce and chopped almonds on top. As someone who doesn't like honey, I was amazed at how much I loved it. Add to that a cup of fresh fruit and half of Jake's juice and I was in heaven.
Museo de Xocolata
After breakfast it was off to the Museum of Chocolate. Yes, you read that right, the Museum of Chocolate. In addition to insane amounts of chocolate bars, pieces, and drinks in the shop, they have exhibits about the history of chocolate and all sorts of chocolate creations made by the students at the pastry school there.
When you walk out of the museum/shop, you can see the students at the Escola Patisseria creating their chocolate sculptures. Very cool.
Warning: Everything you are about to see is made of chocolate. You may not believe me, but I assure it is the case. And I apologize for the reflections in the photos.
Pizza, again? Really? Yes, really. What can I say? The dude likes pizza. And it's pretty cool to watch them hand make it, I'll give him that. Plus he ate the calamari, which he really liked in Barcelona because it wasn't fried until the breading was super crisp like it is most places in the US.
I went for a more regional lunch with cod fritters and a salmon-potato cake. Both were excellent. I got them from a counter with two very nice women behind it. I pointed to what I wanted and they tossed the portion in the fryer to heat it up right there. Pretty cool, if you ask me.
From there we went to see some of the last things on our list, like Gaudi's Casa Mila and his workshop (um, right next door to the cathedral) and then back to the hotel. On the way back to the hotel, I saw something that stopped me dead in my tracks: the largest meringue I've ever seen. No joke, it was bigger than my fist.
We'd eaten lunch a little late and I wasn't all that hungry (nothing at all to do with the meringue...) so I didn't think we were going anywhere, but I was wrong. We decided to go for a walk toward the Torre Agbar (only a few blocks from our hotel), which turned into a search for dinner.
As I mentioned in my previous post, Jake liked the paella so much on Thursday afternoon that he suggested it for dinner on Friday. In our quest we ended up walking back to the port (I won't even tell you how far it was) and settling on another unassuming little spot on the Carrer de Colon called Sailor. In our hour-long walk we worked up a little more of an appetite so it was bravas, paella and some ridiculously good desserts for us, accompanied by a rather yummy pitcher of sangria. This time I got seafood paella and Jake got chicken. I preferred the paella at Sedna because it was a little more tomato-y and I enjoyed the addition of the green beans, but Sailor's was still good. Jake liked the paella at Sailor more, but said Sedna's chicken was better. Jake's chocolate mousse didn't disappoint (I was lucky to get a single spoonful) and my vanilla ice cream with caramelized nuts was the perfect end to yet another great meal.
A Random Observation
There is something I first noticed in Madrid, though the same would turn out to be true in every city we visited in Spain, that I can't quite understand. It seems (to me) that Spaniards are obsessed with ice cream and breakfast-desserts. Or is it that there are so many tourists and the tourists are obsessed with them? I really couldn't say, I just know that I saw at least one ice cream shop on every single block and several restaurants offering things like chocolate-covered waffles as desserts. It was so prevalent that it became a joke with us. That said, the leche merengada gelato at Sweet Terraza outside Barcelona's L'Aquarium was one of the best things I've ever eaten. I have no idea what was in it (my Google search result of "a lemon and cinnamon scented gelato" seems unlikely) but it was amazing.
All in all, we had a fabulous time and Jake loved Barcelona as much as I did, so I think I'll start brushing up on my Catalan for next time. :)