Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Back From Barcelona

This is just to say that I haven’t gotten lost in the wonders of Barcelona (though that is extremely possible and thoroughly tempting) and I have, indeed, made my way back to my little tropical isle and into the arms of my small but much-loved-and-missed family unit. The heat and my family weren’t the only ones waiting to welcome me though. As anyone who takes a holiday from work knows, you return to a Goliath of tasks and an email inbox bursting at the seams (thank goodness I upgraded to terabytes!). So a proper post will have to wait a bit…I do hope you will all be patient!

Meanwhile, as I have done in the past, I hope to bribe your patience with holiday photos. This was a short trip but any amount of time in Barcelona, no matter the length, is magical.

Half of the trip was for work…and really, that’s all you have to know about my very normal day job.

After official business was dispensed, I visited with a beloved godmother and we chatted and caught up and laughed and ate.

She took me to one of the oldest restaurants in Barcelona that is still owned by the same family – tucked away off La Rambla; a place beyond cozy where we enjoyed a plate of glistening jamon iberico and pan con tomate and such a platter of grilled seafood so good it made my heart (and tummy) swell.

She also introduced me to her neighborhood xarcuteria (charcuterie) where I stocked up on all manners of jamon and chorizo. It’s the kind of place where one of the owners tends the counter and they always remember your name and offer you bits of free things for tasting or for taking home. Although this is not unusual in a city full of such gems.

I finally bought my Nespresso machine, and an aeroccino, and as much coffee pods as my already straining suitcase could carry. Suffice to say that C and I have been enjoying it much too much as we begin the wonderful journey of figuring out which of the “grand crus” are our favorites.

I pay a visit to my favorite church of all time, the Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudi’s staggering masterpiece. I have gone every single time I’ve been in Barcelona. What I love most about it, aside from its general awesomeness, is the very fact that it is unfinished. As such, it is different every time I visit. This quality which I know frustrates some people is what I find most exciting. The first time I had been it had practically no roof, aside from the towers you walked through the grand fa├žade to scaffolding and sunlight. Now it has a ceiling fashioned to look like a canopy of trees with well placed holes to let in the sunlight still. A magnificent work in progress, started by a master and carried on through the ages…much like man ourselves?

Of course I make time for the market, La Boqueria, another favorite. Although I cannot take any of the gorgeous fresh fruit and vegetables, I buy my share of dried peppers (pimientos choriceros in particular) and ground spice mixes to compensate. At this point my suitcase is about to have triplets. But I do manage to sneak in some ventresca de bonito del norte in extra virgin olive oil. And beluga lentils!

And I have fresh figs for breakfast and dessert. Yes oh yes.

The trip was short, but it was a full as my straining suitcase…which barely made it through check in.

And now I must return to that mountain of work that demands my attention. I hope this tides you over until I can get back to proper cooking and blogging. Meanwhile, if you have any specific questions about the places I visited or the goodies I bought feel free to email me!


Mom-Friday said...

Amazing shots! A feast to the eyes! :)
Wish I can go there in the future.
Looking forward to your Barcelona-inspired dishes ;)

Mieke said...

Your pictures are absolutely beautiful. The photo with the cheeses are making my mouth water, and the hamons hanging in the air.

I'll have to check back with you in a couple of years for tips for when I finally go.

Anonymous said...

are you sharing your goodies with me? Stary

annabanana said...

I am turning green! Gorgeous photos! I'm dreaming of a Barcelona trip now!

RitaDue said...

Such vibrant photos! What camera did you use? And what lens? Your pictures look like they came straight out of a coffee table book.

Mich said...

Love the pictures! The thought of figs for breakfast and dessert makes my mouth water. And I love sampling new coffees when I travel- something to bring home that doesn't clutter the house ;) Thanks for sharing!

Tangled Noodle said...

The bribery worked all too well. Now, I'm wishing I were in Barcelona. Looking forward to your next post - hopefully we'll see what you've done with those chorizo, jamon, pimientos and lentils!

Stephanie said...

I just got back from Spain, including Barcelona, and share your same sentiments and experiences. Instead of those luscious figs however, we opted for the amazing dates (which were like candy). Why I didn't bring back olive oil, I will never know. :( I hope to share some of my experiences on my blog soon too. Thanks for inspiring me to hurry up. :)

Lisa @ Tarte du Jour said...

The the colorful photos! Looks like a wonderful trip!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Mom Friday! It’s easy when you have such a great place to take photos :) It is really an amazing city!

Hi Mieke! Thank you! I feel so bad I couldn’t take home any cheese, I did manage some jamon though :)

Stary! What an honor :) Of course I will share with you!

Hi Annabanana! Hope you get to visit someday!

Hi Rita! You flatter me! My camera is just a Nikon D40X and the lens is the kit lens :) I fear I spend too much money on food and never have enough for photography equipment!

Hi Mich! We don’t ever have fresh figs here so take advantage when I come across them elsewhere :) And coffee…that great anywhere!

Hi Tangled Noodle! Looking forward to enjoying them as well! I have to look for a nice recipe for beluga lentils…I have never cooked with them before!

Hi Stephanie! Happy to hear you feel the same way…I also berate myself for not bringing back more things! I should have shipped a box!

Thanks Lisa…it was :)

Diane said...

That is a huge CHEESE collection in the picture. Awesome!

Lori said...

Oh Joey, I'm traveling too, although nowhere near where you've been. Your shots are a visual explosion, very comparable to what I've been seeing here where I am. Glad you're back home safe. I've got a few days left to go.

Le Pirouette said...

Hello! Been quietly following your blog for awhile now. But these photos are gorgeous, I just had to tell you. They're all worthy to be placed in any conde nast magazine. Thanks for sharing. :-)

♥ joei said...

I love your blog. Im your newest follower ;)

Sounds like a fun trip (even if it was for business). Are those wheels of cheese at the latter part of your entry? Yum!

Definitely, Maybe

fabiola said...

I cannot wait for it to be fig season here in Washington, I eat them until I am sick. I love your photographs too!

Anne said...

I so love the pictures!

miri leigh said...

These are wonderful pics! Beautiful colors..thanks for sharing.

Midge said...

Oh, how I envy you! You've gone to La Boqueria which is the market of my wildest dreams and La Rambla which has figured in all my favorite Zafon novels! What a lovely trip you've had!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Diane! It was…I feel so bad for not smuggling any back home!

Hi Lori! Thank you…I am so flattered by your comment on my photos :) Looking forward to reading about where you have been!

Hi Le Pirouette! Thank you so much for your nice comment :) Glad you popped in to say “Hi”!

Hi Joei! Thank you!! You are sweet :) Yes, those are definitely wheels of cheese…I would have wanted to sample them all!

Hi Fabiola! You are lucky you have a fig season! We cannot ever get them fresh here…

Glad you enjoyed them Anne :)

Hi Miri! Thanks for visiting :)

Hi Midge! I LOVE Zafon!!! And I love that his stories are based in a city that also love :)

Sweet Tooth said...

Gorgeous pictures! Love those fresh figs!!!

Barcelena is definitely on my must see places! :)

Nespresso as a pasalubong is defintely an indulgence :D Sad to say that we don't have that locally

ChichaJo said...

Hi Sweet Tooth! It is definitely an amazing place to visit and I highly recommend it! :) The fresh figs were lovely and the Nespresso serves us well each day...I look forward to getting up!

Arlu said...

Congrats on the Nespresso machine! That certainly kicks up the coffee experience a couple of notches!

I'm totally smitten by Gaudi's Sagrada Familia. Nothing could ever prepare you for seeing it in person. Truly one of those ultimate goose-bump moments for me!

I'm also loving the decadence of fresh figs for breakfast AND dessert. Anthony would be so jealous! Hahaha!

Great post! :)

veron said...

Ah, to travel to such a beautiful place for work. looks like you've got a great job. and so glad you got to catch up with your godmother.

katiez said...

How wonderful! Barcelona is my second favorite city (after Paris). I love the photos, brought back so many great memories.

lizzy said...

Very nice! I would definitely include Spain to my "must visit" places. :-)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Arlu! The Sagrada Familia still gives me goose bumps each time I see it…Gaudi is a genius for one and all of the changes from the first time I saw it are just awe inspiring! We are enjoying the Nespresso machine a bit too much I think! I wish we had fresh figs here…

Hi Veron! It was just a short trip but I am very grateful for all the wonderful opportunities that get placed in my path :)

Hi Katiez! It really is such a gem of a city isn’t it? :)

Hi Lizzy! Yes, it is a fantastic country to visit! And if you like to eat…woohoo!

cailen ascher said...

wow! barcelona looks fabulous! we're going to seville, spain on our honeymoon in the fall. cannot wait for some good spanish wine and tapas : )


Foodtopii said...

Wow, you are living my dream! I've always wanted to visit Barcelona and Seville. I love the pictures of the market - such vibrant colors! I'm a huge sucker for fruits so I'm glad you took advantage of the fresh produce. This is definitely one of my favorite posts.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Cailen! Wow! I have never been to Seville! Have fun :)

Hi Foodtopii! Barcelona is truly an fantastic place to visit and yes the market was wonderful :)

randie said...

What amazing photos! Thanks for sharing. I want the "Barcelona" lollipop.