We got up the next morning and headed out early for a shopping visit to the Boqueria. While there, we stopped for breakfast at Bar Pinotxo. The garbanzos with squid was a tasty display of the classic Catalan mar y montaña theme and the tortilla with pa amb tomaquet was simply classic. The real star of the show and an item that appeared to be flying from the bar was a wonderful pastry called the “Xuxo”, a sweet custard cream filled crisp-shelled pastry that was simply marvelous.
From Bar Pinotxo we started our shopping expedition around the market finding wonderful seasonal wild mushrooms from Catalunya including gorgeous morels and other local varieties at Petras. I then went to buy some pasta from the nearby pasta shop owned by my friends from eGullet, Pedro and Silly Disciple to discover that the shop was closed while undergoing renovations and is no longer owned by them. Instead it was now owned by an earnest looking young couple who were intent on putting their own stamp on the shop. We continued on to buy asparagus, salad greens, tomatoes and some beautiful Spanish strawberries, citrus and dried fruits. Passing by Bar Quim de la Boqueria, I ran into Carles Abellan, the Adria-influenced chef of Comerc24 and Tapas24, who was taking his breakfast at Bar Quim.
Once we dropped our groceries off at the apartment we hopped on the Metro to take Michael to see Gaudi’s fantastic Parc Guell. With a view overlooking nearly the entire city, this park is unlike any other in the world. It showcases Gaudi’s amazing imagination and creativity. The tile work and naturalistic shapes are rightfully legendary, but it is its sense of whimsy that makes it special. Along with a number of hawkers of cheap jewelry, there were a number of more appealing side shows including a master bubble maker and a perfectly placed “Invisible Man.”
The rest of the day was dominated by an amazing lunch at Cinc Sentits. Jordi Artal is an extremely talented chef. Half Catalan and half Canadian, Artal employs a signature amuse of a shot of maple syrup with sea salt, cava sabayon and a touch of heavy cream. It is a wonderful representation of his dual background and a tasty way to start a fantastic, world-class meal in a very beautiful setting. My only disappointment was that his lovely sister , Amelia, who runs the front of the house, had a commitment that kept her from being able to be there. Nevertheless, the service and wine pairings were also superb and worthy of Artal’s exceptional cooking.
With enough food to last us the day, we took in a show at the beautiful Palau Musica Catalana in the Barrio Gotico. An unusual mix of opera and flamenco called Opera Flamenco proved entertaining. Just being in that special theater was worth the trip to it in and of itself. After the show, we went back to our apartment. The next day was going to be a big one.