Yesterday’s post got me all nostalgic about that trip around Spain. I know, it was five years ago now so I should probably move on, but it was just a really fun adventure. I have been thinking about some food that we ate at La Boqueria market off Las Ramblas in Barcelona. At the time, I declared it ‘the-best-meal-ever-eaten’. Conveniently, I have some photos of it!
It looks like grilled capsicum, asparagus and pimientos de Padrón (or something similar) with olive oil. So simple; so good. Next up, we ate little barbecued calamari with olive oil and parsley. Words can’t express the greatness!!
I am a bit of an obsessive travel diary keeper, so I dug out the old books just to see whether I had written about it. Sure enough, here is the memory in its unedited form (slightly embarrassing to publish this, but sort of amusing):
…And then, we had an awesome meal at the market: squid, roasted vegetables, creme caramel, café. S. and I were so hypo – it was just ridiculously tasty. Afterwards, S. said that she felt as though she had just kissed a boy that she had liked for a really long time!
And then, it was time to say adios to Barcelona – on to Madrid…
I went back with another friend a few weeks later when we wound up in Barcelona again:
…I always love returning to a place that I have been. It’s so good to get to a city and already know all the ‘systems’.
We had lunch at our favourite little place in the market – a last day treat. The squid there is just very tasty. I kept the receipt just for fun. It anyone ever asks: to get there, just head straight down the central aisle of the market off La Rambla. Keep walking past the fruit and sweets and dead fish until you can go no further. It is right there on your left. Luckily, when I went back there, this time with U., it lived up to its reputation. I can’t wait to cook simple squid on the BBQ over summer back in Australia…
The receipt stuck next to this entry says that the place was called ‘Bar Central’, and whatever we ate and drank, we spent €31.50 (which would have been a massive splash out for us in those days). The store still seems to be there on the La Boqueria website. It’s number 494. I’m sure you’ve probably had quite enough of my travel diaries now (stop reading if you wish!), but I thought these two entries were probably also worth sharing – despite their slight cringeyness. The first is about San Sebastian:
…It was somehow mid afternoon at this point. U. & I had some time to fill in before we left for Barcelona at 11ish. So we tried another of Nikki’s [the hostel owner] suggestions – the secret cider bar on the hill.
U. and I sat there all afternoon sipping home-brewed cider in the afternoon sun. You have to pour it from high above the glass to carbonate it. There are 360° views of the town and the concha bay from up there. We chatted and sent L. & S. a few tipsy texts. Life is good.
In another excerpt, I totally let loose about the good times:
…I just have to take a break from the chronicles and say that I am completely happy right now. Life is perfect. I’m lying here on the beach in Lagos [Portugal] – cliff faces, grottoes, friends, music, great nights out, good people, good food…I never want these times to end. I love travelling so much – I don’t have homesickness or down moments like I thought I would. I am completely and utterly having the best times of my life. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to be satisfied living at home permanently again.
Please excuse the melodrama – I was barely out of my teens! Oh well. Even if we can’t transport Spain and Portugal to Australia, we can still (try to) recreate the culinary experiences! Appreciate the good times, people!
Having said that, I think the real lesson here is that food and drink are social experiences. The taste is less important than the company that we share it with. Sure, those vegies, calamari and apple cider may have been delectable, but it was through sharing them with my good friends – fabulous people – that they cemented their place in my culinary history memory.
Stay tuned. I plan to cook those calamari and vegies again one day for my friends…hopefully soon!