La Pepita, Pepitas & Tapas, Gracia

La PepitaLa Pepita is a family run restaurant launched in 2010. Nothing out of the ordinary about that. (It’s mostly family run, small businesses – “this is our second living room” places “and we also serve some food here, my brother will fix you up a drink and don’t wake up my nan who is sleeping in the corner” – kind of city.)La Pepita Nan isn’t in the corner at La Pepita (named after “the “female” version of the Pepito, a baguette filled with veal steak that is a classic.” ) What you find instead is a French bistro style restaurant, complete with Paris metro style tiles adorned with an abundance of graffiti.  There are clear signs that this is Barcelona; the ubiquitous Jamón, long necklaces of garlic suspended from the ceiling and Vichy Catalan as the only choice of sparkling water.La Pepita, BarcelonaThe menu is made up of sandwiches (pepito) and small plates to share.  I wouldn’t call them tapas because to my mind – tapas tend to fit in an ashtray, whereas at La Pepita they come on larger plates and are plated with lots of layers to create volume (a lot of love for squeezy bottles and Japanese mandolins in this kitchen).  There is a tendency for a shaggy presentation: lots of leaves and herbs, whole and chopped, strewn about the plate helping to convey a feeling of abundance.  Then there is the sauce – quite a lot of it, although not all the same – different types.   Read more of this post

Tlaxcal, Mexican Food, El Born

TlaxcalTlaxcal has been recommended by the chef of Ninjo Viejo, Paco Mendez and by Jordi Gasó from Pakta in Food & Wine Magazine.  It is possible that all this adoration may have gone to the management’s head.  I say this because when I last visited for lunch with my sister (at 14:30), we were given the worst / smallest table, practically in the bathroom in the only dark corner in what is otherwise a lovely and bright space.

Tlaxcal, Mexican FoodGlancing at the row of empty tables, I politely asked – “Oh – do you think we could maybe sit in the main dining room?”
“No.”
“No?”
“No, those are tables of four. You are only two.”
“Okaay – but the tables of four are made up of single tables. So we could pull one of them apart and then we could sit there and you would still have 2 tables of 4? I mean what are the chances that you will have 3 parties of 4 customers walking in for lunch in the next 45 minutes.”
“No.”
“What about if we sit there and then if the 3 parties of 4 arrive we move?”
“No.”

Lunch menu Alrighty then. We were hungry. We had somewhere to be and the lunch menu was well priced at €11.  So we sat in the dark eating our lunch while the main dining room remained empty – like an architectural mock-up. Read more of this post

Niño Viejo, Mexican Food, Sant Antoni

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Niño Viejo

Albert Adria is coming close to having more restaurants than I have fingers on my hands.   Just a couple of weeks ago a new one opened.  A fancy taqueria called Niño Viejo (a collaboration with Paco Méndez).  It will soon be joined by an even fancier Mexican restaurant.

Not unusually, Niño Viejo is located within the small perimeter of all the other Adria restaurants in the unloved area of Sant Antoni.  In true Nancy Drew style, I plotted the addresses of all the restaurants on Google maps.  A geriatric with a zimmer frame would have no trouble at all scooting in between these restaurants.TacosWhich makes me wonder?  How much is the current expansion about restaurants and how much is it about property development?  You think I am over thinking things?  With the opening of Union Square cafe in 1985 – Danny Meyer helped regenerate an entire area.   The Adria brothers in partnership with the Iglesias brothers, restaurateurs themselves, are putting all their chips within one square mile.  Their restaurants are all booked (less so the Iglesias ones, the ones without the pictures on the BCN 5.0 website) but think what unimaginable riches they could attain with a nice property portfolio tacked on to those restaurants? Read more of this post

Bardeni, Meat Bar, Sagrada Família

BardeniIt’s coming to a year now since I moved to Barcelona.  It’s been a lonely year online.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made friends in the real world but I have missed the online camaraderie that I had in Berlin.

I did manage to find one blog with a URL that sounds a lot like mine – FoodBarcelona. The Fodor’s writer seemed to know all about Calςots and I was just discovering them so I asked if he wanted to meet for lunch. Six months passed, he forgot, I forgot, then one of us remembered and we met at his recommendation – Bardeni, a meat bar.

Sardines at BardeniAnd I had SO much fun!  First of all he picked a place I would probably not have chosen (I can be kind of girlie in my predilection for fish, vegetables and sustainable humane meat sources).  And then he ordered something I lacked the…insight, courage…I’m not sure what actually?  But while I asked for Sardines (€5), ox tail ravioli (€6) and patatas bravas (safe, safe, safe) he went for Nebraskan Angus steak tartar piquante (€8) (Ha Ha, Barcelona is in exactly the same category as Berlin when they say hot, they mean sweet paprika), the Charolais beef (€10) cooked blue and brawn and tripe (€6).

Brawn and tripe. I mean – I was just reading an extended article celebrating 20 years of Fergus Henderson and his championing of ‘nose to tail culinary revolution‘ and in Barcelona it’s not laudable at all, it’s lunch.  In a lot of places. Read more of this post

Teicawey, Mexican Fast Food, Gracia

TeicaweyIt’s getting so hot now. August in Barcelona – it’s not so much about the temperatures as it is about the humidity. It’s wet and sticky.  You think – “I couldn’t possibly eat in this heat.” What you actually mean is “I couldn’t possibly cook.”  And you don’t have to if you are in Gracia, where you have Teicawey with its fat aluminium wrapped burritos and its clusters of hot sauces boasting varying degrees of spiciness.  The cooler Read more of this post

Cuines Santa Caterina, Mostly Spanish with some Asian, Barri Gòtic

Cuines Santa CaterinaMy friend Giulia and her family were in town a couple of weeks back.  I whizzed them through some of the best streets in Barcelona, with a snack in mind for practically every street.  Regardless, when it was lunch time, we were all famished.  I quickly decided on our spot – a quick tour beneath the stunning undulating roof of Santa Caterina Market and then we would grab a table at Cuines Santa Caterina (From the Tragaluz group).IMG_5980 Read more of this post

Tarannà, Cafe & Bar, Sant Antoni

TarannaTarannà is the kind of place you find a lot in London, New York and even Berlin but in Barcelona, where traditional cafes are still endearing, it is more of a rare find.  They do seasonal food (yawn I know, how many times have you heard that but places here sometimes serve Asparagus in December) and although the context (and the principal language)  of the menu is very much Catalan, the approach is light and refreshing.  Taranna The pricing is easy on the wallet too – which (again) in Barcelona is a rare thing. I have a cor de bou tomato salad.  A simple affair, the tomato “heart of the bull” I think it is.  An onions, splayed open like a flower, some olives, nice canned tuna.  No dressing.  Simple stuff.  For around €8.  Quite girly actually.  In fact as I look around, I see that that particular afternoon is running at around a 95% female customer occupancy (good tip for you boys that are trying to find Ms. Right – do men actually do that or is it primarily a girl thing?  My now husband had an entire list – a la Don Tillman but without the excuse of Asperger’s). Read more of this post

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