Finally I have the chance to sit my butt down and post some pictures of some of the food we ate on our travels! I didn't take shots of ALL of our meals, but hopefully this will give you a good idea of what we experienced.
Our first destination was the incredibly vibrant and international city of Barcelona. We were there for 4 nights and soaked up every moment we could, filling our time with relaxing cafe and pastry shops, sightseeing, market browsing, tapas, and bar hopping!
The pastry shop windows were some of my favorite to just stand there and gawk. Obviously we couldn't go into every one of them, but it sure was tempting. Sometimes we had no idea what we were looking at, but it all looked so amazing. Those meringues were MONSTROUS! Here are some of the beautiful displays:
The next stop was one of the most famous markets in all of Europe, the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria. Seen on every food and travel show that films in Barcelona, this market made me want to drop everything and move 5011.01 miles just so I could eat there every day. Produce and seafood that was both familiar and strange, row after row of pastries, stacks of cups with freshly juiced fruits, stand after stand of hanging meats and rare cheeses, and little food bars you could saddle up to and completely stuff your face with local delicacies and a refreshing drink. Check out the bounty!
Now on to the tapas portion of my entry. My husband is vegetarian, and knowing our fellow traveler David and I wanted to try some authentic meat-inspired tapas, he said to pick a place and he would just follow us and eat what he could. What a good hubby, eh? We consulted the wondrous internet to find a place within reasonable walking distance from our apartment which happened to be one of the highest rated in Barcelona, let alone Spain, called Cerveceria Catalana. When you first walk in, it's through a crowded bar area where you get to sit in front of their plated mounds of colorful tapas and just point and eat. If you're not so fortunate or have a big party, you can walk through a very large and modern dining area and be seated by friendly waitstaff who will tell you their specials and what we MUST try! There's also an outdoor area to sit but it was already full by the time we got there. Ordering a picture of sangria, we hunker down. Starting off with their complimentary Pan de Tomate (bread rubbed with garlic and tomato drizzled in olive oil and a dash of salt) dishes ranged from the simple but delicious skewered garlic shrimp and Patatas Bravas (fried potatoes), to the more adventurous but locally common fried sardines, cuttlefish and foie gras (which I don't actually like but David wanted to try it. I had a tiny bite. Yup, I still don't like liver). The lighting was really low, so some of my images are really hard to distinguish...if you have a question as to what something is, let me know!
The rest of our few days in Barcelona we mainly had one big meal a day and the rest of the time we would stop for a small bite or just something really refreshing like Gazpacho because it was so hot! Here are a couple more pictures from the tail end of our visit. I took every chance I could get to eat their world famous Jamón Ibérico. I have only seen it served in a couple of Spanish restaurants in the US that can actually import the massively expensive meat, as you're not going to ever find it in your local deli. We also had what I think to be the best gelato we've ever tasted, shaped ever so lovingly into big delicious roses!
Now onto the Portugal portion of our trip! I should tell you that growing up in Vancouver, B.C. in one of the most predominantly Portuguese and Italian neighborhoods in the 70s & 80s, lent itself to being able to see, smell, and taste food from those cultures on a very regular basis. I can remember being in my Portuguese babysitter's kitchen all wide eyed watching them make sausage and soups by hand. Oh my gosh, the incredible aromas that I will never forget! I must admit I left my heart in Lisbon and was most appreciative of a friend's boyfriend who was born there, driving us to a seaside restaurant near Sintra at Adraga Beach and doing us the honor of ordering superb seafood and wine, including one very popular edible crustacean called Percebe, or Goose Barnacle, that was although alarmingly phallic (lols) very delicious and fun to peel and eat! I also have to thank our host for flagging down the waiter to get us their fish soup; it brought me right back to my childhood, simply divine.
Another delicacy of the country that everyone talks about is the Pasteis de Nata, which are egg tart pastries the most famous apparently being from a place called Pasteis de Belem. Disappointingly we didn't make it to the neighborhood that it was in, but we found an adorable local bakery a small walk from where we were staying in Graça where we tasted our first scrumptious pasteis! MMM!
Okay, enough chatter!
If you would like to see more of our vacation photos, feel free to click on any of the images and navigate around my Flickr pages!
HAPPY SUMMER EVERYONE!