Monday, October 31, 2011

Barcelona Cuisine | El Poble Espanyol

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blogging to dedicate an entire week to the food consumed while on vacation in Barcelona! This first meal coincides with an afternoon spent at El Poble Espanyol, an open-air architectural museum village constructed in 1929 for the International Exhibition.
Inside the walled community lies a full scale reproduction of Spain's symbolic buildings and places, fused with artisan workshops and boutiques, as well as restaurants and tapas bars.
El Poble is definitely an attraction geared towards tourism, albeit a fantastic one! There is a a 9,50 entrance fee and audio guided tours are offered for an additional 3.
I had a feeling the restaurants "inside" would be slightly more touristy than traditional, but it was later in the afternoon and we were starving.
The spacious patio at L'Albi which offered reasonably priced Catalan fare, felt like the perfect fit. (Photo borrowed from the website, linked above.)
We started the lunch festivities with a pitcher of Sangria.No matter how much Sangria we consumed on an almost daily basis (lots!) I never seemed to tire of this luscious fruit infused red wine libation. Neither did Adam. After a basket of bread and bowl of potato chips, the starter courses were delivered. I ordered a Queso Fresco y Chorizo. What I thought would be a simple platter of ham and cheese, was actually a pottery ramekin full of melted queso, delicately torched, containing rolled slices of ham within it. While the thick melted cheese was tasty, it became overwhelming after about 5 bites. Or maybe I'm so used to tapas size portions, that switching back to a hearty dish of a different cuisine had me thrown for a loop! My entree of Tortilla de Patatas was Spanish comfort food at it's very finest. A 1/2 inch thick wedge of fluffy eggs is loaded with fried potatoes and onions, and topped with a spicy chile pepper. Alongside was a substantial salad of fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and shredded carrots and a serving of white rice. The rice was a rather starchy component to pair with the tortilla, and the salad and rice both lacked dressing and seasoning, respectively. Overall, the dish still satisfied, I wasn't expecting anything gourmet to being with.
For dessert, there was no going wrong with the Crema Catalana, essentially the Spanish/Catalan version of creme brulee. The base of a rich egg yolk custard is far creamier than a typical U.S. version, with a much more substantial layer of burnt caramelized sugar on top. This was definitely my favorite course! Most of our meals in Barcelona (as you will see in the forthcoming posts) consisted of modern tapas, so this lunch of traditional Catalan cuisine was without any comparison. (Unfortunately!) It seems we barely scratched the surface of what this city has to offer in terms of amazing foods.We thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon on the airy L'Albi terrace and exploring the narrow winding streets of El Poble Espnanol. Warm weather and sangria pitchers at lunch seems a distant memory; so it's nice to reminisce on those intensely hot and sunny, blue skied, carefree days in Barcelona. Stay tuned this week for more of what we ate. The food only gets better!!

P.S. Happy Halloween!

8 comments:

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

Yum, the dessert definitely looks the best to me, too. But I love a good Spanish tortilla. It's funny seeing outdoor dining now that it's gotten cold!

In and Around Town said...

That dessert looks amazing! So excited there is still plenty more about your trip!

Elizabeth said...

That patio is gorgeous! I was in Barcelona in the winter so sadly no patio dining for me. I clearly need to go back in the summer

Lizzy said...

Your pictures are again so stunning. This makes me want to go back to Barcelona immediately! I'm so jealous of everything. I want that Sangria!

Ameena said...

I really dislike touristy spots but sometimes you just have to go where it's convenient. It looks really delicious though, and lack of seasoning aside my naive palate would probably love the entire dish.

I am loving your Barcelona posts!

Megan said...

The tortilla looks really good... even it is a simple dish. Simple dishes are sometimes the best dishes. Love seeing all the pictures from your trip.

Meghan@travelwinedine said...

The sangria looks beautiful!

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

That sangria looks fantastic!