Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Barcelona Eats


Viblioteca
Small neighborhood tapas restaurant.
Carrer Vallfogona 12, Gracia


Flax and Kale
Inspired by health food trends in California, well know local vegetarian chef got it right.
Carrer dels Tallers, 74B, The Born


La Cova Fumada
Old school family run seafood joint near the sea
Carrer Balaurd, 56, Barceloneta


Caelum
Bakery in an old convent. Abundant confections and jars of honey and jams.
Carrer de la Palla, 8, Gothic Quarter


The Juice House
Another healthy find, this one more intimate and remote
Carrer del Parlament, 12, Pöble Sec


Casa Lolea
Best sangria and frittata, delicious!
Carrer de Sant Pere Més Alt, 49

La Pubilla
Prix fixe lunch menu was a steal. Sophisticated modern take on local classics.
Plaça de la Llibertat, 23, Gracia



Monday, July 10, 2017

Mad Genius

I saved my last full day in Barcelona
for a deeper dive into all things Gaudi.
My first stop was Casa Batllo,
a fantastical apartment building like something
out of Dr. Seuss' imagination.
Built in 1904 it's an architectural feat of rounded walls and passageways.
 An impressive central stairwell spiraling into the heavens demonstrated
modern functional progress.
My favorite features were the kaleidoscope facade of broken tiles and whimsical outdoor spaces.
Even though my architectural preference is for simpler, cleaner design, 
I appreciated the skill and audacity it took to erect such a radically unique edifice.
Queueing for the La Sagrada Familia, I already preferred the scale and intimacy of the residential structure over the spectacular spectacle of the church.
I pondered what it was like to inhabit one of neighboring apartments, and to witness the slow progress of the masterpiece and the daily swarm of tourists to the site. 
Upon entering the cathedral
the cascading light from stain glass windows was unexpected and powerful, 
but the sheer size and constant hum of the drill made me want to escape into natural sunlight.
Crowds, construction and chaos, an unappealing trifecta, sucked all reverence
from the hallowed space.
I soon left and found much more tranquility on the streets of Barcelona,
before meeting Swan and Jenny for one last cava.


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Outstanding in the City

One day is more outstanding than the next!
Major contributing factor is the ease in which Swan and I travel together.
We both have a penchant for museums, exploring on foot,
and balancing tapas with healthy vegan meals.
Keeping track of our quotidian adventures makes me aware of how ground we're covering.
Our pace seems leisurely, but then again we're over achievers.
Today started on at hilltop overlooking the city at the spectacular Joan Miro Foundation,
followed by a walk through lush gardens to the Palau Nacional.
Majestic fountains, sculptures and columns seized the landscape
projecting a world class influence I hadn't yet experienced in the city.
The next stop was my favorite, Mies van der Rohe's World's Fair Pavillion.
In a city known for it's surreal, may I dare say, gaudy architecture
this structure is a minimalist haven constructed of the most sensual polished marble.
Several surprising facts:
The interior was vacant except for two chairs, seats for the king and queen.
They became world famous, replicated and still in vogue today.
The original building was dismantled in 1930 and its parts used in other structures.
In the 80s an exact replica was painstakingly recreated and built on the actual site.
After siesta, more tapas and a goblet of refreshing sangria at Casa Lolea
before taking in the seductive movements of classic flamenco dancers
at Palau de la Musica Catalana.





Saturday, July 8, 2017

La Cova Fumada

Old world charm permeates the streets of Barceloneta,
a seaside neighborhood defined by its working class roots and proximity to the port. 
La Cova Fumada is a backstreet restaurant, established in the 1940s,
serving old school tapas.
The owners' grandmother rules the small kitchen of the tiny establishment.
I kept expecting to see Anthony Bourdain at the next table blotting olive oil and garlic with crusty tomato smeared bread.
This is a place of legacy.
Jenny's husband, Pau, has been coming here since he was a baby.  
By far, this has been my favorite meal in Barcelona





Friday, July 7, 2017

Day Two

Easing into Barcelona with long strolls through various neighborhoods to get a feel for the culture.
Avoiding tourists is no easy task,
but have found the ratio of locals to foreigners is greater in the tapered streets of Garcia
where my friend Jenny and her baby Saona reside.
MACBA left me uninspired. 
Meier's cold stark structure had it's appeal but the majority of art was inaccessible.
My brain is also oversaturated with images after Arles.
The find of the day was Flax and Kale, an amazing vegan restaurant 
from venerable Barcelona chef, Teresa Carles, who researched California food trends
before opening this gem several years ago.







Thursday, July 6, 2017

Barcelona

Barcelona. Day One.
As I waded through a new time zone and culture, the rhythms of every day life in LA are long gone.
Enjoyed exploring the neighborhoods around The Picasso Museum,
and reconnecting with an old friend for dinner.