Friday, October 30, 2009

Two Parts Rye's Barcelona Adventure Part 3: Food and Beer and What to See

You've been back a week.  This is taking forever!  I know.  I'm just getting writer's block with this travel stuff.

Why don't you use your normal format where you interview yourself?  Works for me.
And me!

What's the "gotta do" stuff:  La Rambla is the big tourist trap street.  If it was not for the Mercat St Josep (aka , La Boqueria) and the fact that it borders the Barri Gotic, which is way cooler spot for shopping than La Rambla itself, I would say skip it.  However, the market is awesome.

In Barcelona, all of the little piggies go to the market.

Go to Bar Clemen's in the back and get an anchovy sandwich and a beer for breakfast.

Anchovy ewww?  While it was salty and fishy, it's nothing like the gross pizza that your weird uncle likes to eat.

How's the spanish beer?  Estrella Damm is the most popular beer in Barcelona.  It's a really nice refreshing pilsner.  Grade: B.  Damm-Lemon is 40% lemonade. I loved it. Grade: B.  I tried several others and I found them all to be too malty and sweet.  Voll Damm Double Malta, Moritz, San Miguel, and Xibeca all get a C-.

Didn't Three Sheets do a Barcelona episode?  They sure did and you can see it here.  Thanks to the show I went to El Vaso del Oro which is a tapas bar that makes their own german style beers.  They have 3 types of beer and I wanted to try them all.  This is where the language barrier gets difficult.  The default beer that they are going to hand you is the pilsner.  Trying to communicate that I wanted to try all of their beers was a challenge.

El Vaso del Oro Pilsner: B
Stout: C tastes like a sweeter maltier guinness.
50/50: C+

The tapas was excellent.  We ate there twice.  I had a kabob that had sausage, roasted pepper, and grilled pork.  Pimientos del padron, which are roasted peppers.  They look like jalapeno, but they are quite mild and sweet.  Blood sausage.  It was pretty good, kind of an all-spice flavor.  Cold herbed, buttery potatoes that were great and maybe the best tapas dish that we had.  Which is odd to say because cold potatoes do not sound that exciting, they just tasted that good.  My only complaint is that all of the locals throw their dirty napkins on the floor.  It seems to be the common way to get rid of your trash at a tapas joint.

El Vaso Del Oro!  Where you can be served by Captain Stubing

What was your favorite Sangria? Sangria Cava, which is basically Cava (spanish sparking wine) and orange fanta.  Probably some liquor in there too.  Not bad.  Got it at the beach.

Didn't you tease something called Capi Pati in the intro?  Yep, I had that at another micro-brewery called La Cervesera Artesana.  This was by far my favorite meal.  It's calves head and tripe.

Did you find that out before or after you ate it?  Before.  It was the best beef noodle soup that I have had, except those weren't noodles.  This is also the one time where the fact that I speak french came in handy. It's odd, I had to go to Spain to remember all of the french that I had forgotten.  For the most part, it does you no good.  One of the younger bartenders spoke some french too and it was nice to be able to communicate for a change.  My only complaint about the bar is smoking is allowed and you will come home smelling like an ashtray.

How were the beers?  They had 4 on tap that day.  I tried 3, skipping the stout.

Iberian Pale Ale:  It's a nice pale ale.  Much more mild than the american style that I'm used to.  Grade: B
Bronze Ale:  It's ok.  Didn't blow me away, but not bad.  C+
Honey Ale:  One of the best tasting beers that I have ever had in my life.  It had a nice fruity flavor.  Grade: A.

Any other good places to eat?  La Cerveceria Catalana is another nice tapas bar in the Gracia area.  Rias de Galicia is an excellent, but very pricey seafood restaurant not too far from the fountains.

What are the must see sites:  I already talked about the fountains and La Boqueria.  La Sangrada Famlia is Gaudi's epic cathedral that is still a work in progress.  The gothic quarter is a great place to roam around.  Cool shops, great gelato and several cool cathedrals to check out.  Museu Nacional D'art de Catalunya is a good museum, especially on a rainy day.  Museu d'Historia de la Ciutat is cool because you can walk around some unearthed Roman ruins.  Always splurge for the audio devices when you do these tours.

Anything to avoid like the plague?  The olympic stadium.  There are about 500 stadiums in the US that are more impressive.  I have to say that I did not get to go to a FC Barcelona game and regret it.  Their stadium looks kick ass and it would be cool to soak in the rabid euro soccer-houligan atmosphere.  El Poble, otherwise known as the spanish village is a lame version of La Rambla that you actually have to pay to get into, plus the crappy souvenirs are more expensive.

Wrap it up.  I'd say that Barcelona is a 4 day city.

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