Saturday, June 30, 2007

Tapas and other small food

I just have to confess to you - I am a tapaholic. There are no support group for me to join to quit. Quit? Who would ever do that! Enjoy!! Being in Spain, I always grab at least two or three tapas a day. It is wonderful how many varieties there are, traditional or not, this is a part of the culinary world still evolving.

Calamares at El Rincon del Angel

At Eixample, where we stayed, there was a bar at every corner offering bite sized foods in all varieties.

Many of the local bars, like one just down our road, El Rincon del Angel, do not deviate from from the traditions. Here you get the hardcore Spanish stuff made from excellent ingredients.

The tortilla - Spanish potato omelet, the Patatas Bravas, fried potatoes with hot dipping sauce. Gambas con ajillo, shrimps in garlic.

At Rincon del Angel we had our first bite sized foods. We sat down at a table outside and ordered two portions. As we both wanted calamares - squid, we ordered two varieties.

I had Calamares a la Romana, deep fried squid - to be enjoyed by itself with only lemon squeezed over it. Terje chose his squid in garlic. Delicious. Both ways the cook had managed to prepare it to perfection, turning it succulent and tender, not hard and rubbery.

Santa Maria on Placa Reial

Another favourite is the Santa Maria on Placa Reial. One of the Spanish nights we sat down here by the large palm trees and enjoyed our tapas with one, two, or even more glasses of white wine.

Croquettas, made from thick bechamel sauce added cheese, ham, or chicken meat. Cooled down and moulded into a sausage shape, rolled in breadcrumbs and deep fried. And one tortilla - and some champignones, por favor!

We even ended up ordering a plate of smoked ham, thinly sliced, as if shaved with razor blades. The Spaniards know how to cure and smoke meats. Else where, you often find cured meats containing too much salt- In Spain and in Italy, as well, you find that it has a sweet aroma as well, and it tastes meat. Perfect with a glass of cold white wine.

Tapas at Sedna - a total rip-off

The only time we really felt tourist trapped was at Sedna, at Paseo Colon 5, down by the harbour. The tapas were OK, but the price - paying €40 for three tapas and two large glasses of beer left us rather embarrased.

But OK! This is also a part of being a tourist.

First we had bread with tomatoes and oil followed by croquetas, ofcourse. I will not leave any picture here as you have seen them before.

The third tapa was mozarella with pesto. The mozarella was delicious, served at room temperature, moist and creamy, and the pesto was definetely not out of a jar.

But would you have paid €40 for this? Not if you could have eaten pinxtos in abundance at Bilbao Berria for half the price.

Pinxtos at Bilbao Berria - yum!!!

I have reviewed Bilbao Berria before here and Enjoy Food & Travel and I still regard it as one of the best bargains in town. We were there several times and the bill ended up around €25 for two, and we indulged in pinxtos - and had more than one alcoholic unit each. This is one of my early plates.
- Red pepper filled with a creamy tuna salad.
- In the middle seafood salad wrapped in ham.
- In the background fish mousse. All of them impaled by a wooden stick into a crispy piece of bread.

Another plate.

Goats cheese with chestnut pure, pine nuts, honey on a sweet red onion marmelade (Right)

Eggs topped with mayonnaise, cheese, and black and red fish roe (Left)

Bacon with a hard boiled egg (Background)

I strongly recommend the Bilbao Berria, as it is an excellent culinary experience for those of you who love to tuck into bite sized foods. But where ever you go around in Barcelona you see traditional pinxtos or tapas lined up, so there are still so much to discover. So if you are a tapaholic - book you ticket and indulge, feast, and enjoy!!

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