It was raining .It was cold. My good friend Ramón and I we had a tough week. A really tough week. One of those weeks when you feel the world conspires to make you feel like shit. We felt defeated for a million different reasons too complicated and boring to explain here. We knew the only way to fight our gloom was to eat something really really really YUMMY, so we head to Bohémic ( c/ Manso 42, Barcelona)
If this place was in New York or Paris, the waiting list for a table will be endless . We booked a table easily. We sit in one of the 9 tables. We asked for almost all the things in the menu. Big small amazing things. S C R U M P T I O U S. 3 highlights: the “patatas bravas” ( the best in Barcelona, I swear!), the martini cup with the poached egg and a cream made by I-don’t-know-exactly-what, the exquisite cannelloni…. Two hours after, we felt the world conspiration against us was over.
And it stop raining.
Song: “As tears go by” Antony and the Johnsons and Franco Battiato
Since the day ( nearly three years ago) they open “La Pepita” ( C/Córsega 343, Barcelona) I’m here very often (so often I think they begining to consider me part of the furniture) .
Sofia in the restaurant and her husband Sergio in the kitchen (with part of both families working with them, ask for Sophia’s mom, she’s lovely) are a young , warm and bright couple full of very good ideas . One of them is “la anchoa especial”. A DELICIOUS combination of anchovy and dulce de leche. I always try to eat just one and I never succeded. This anchovy makes me real happy. It’s like eating the best of two worlds : salt and sugar . They have other wonderful things , traditional tapas with a new twist, gigantic “croquetas de jamón”, fried eggs with artichokes and iberic ham, tuna tataki, eggplant fritters with goat cheese sauce and apple, calamari with kimchi sauce, foie with green tea and the house specialty : ”La Pepita” a grilled sandwich with very thin slices of bread , you can order in 10 different ways .
Life is easy in La Pepita.
Song: “Mireia”. Variety Lab (featuring David Bartholome)
There’s a million things I can say about this place. But it’s better if you take a look to this little film I did about it.
Spanish tortillas have nothing to do with mexican tortillas, so if you go to “Las tortillas de Gabino“( C/ Rafael Calvo 20, MADRID) expecting guacamole, this is not the place.
Instead , you’ll find a cozy and fun restaurant with great things to share .
Start with a special “ensaladilla rusa con cigalas” (potato salad with mayonnaise and crawfish), follow with the boletus croquetas, the crunchy hot foie bombon, and take a look at the tortilla (omelette) menu , what changes every season. The tortillas are made with the freshest and tastiest organics eggs and with truly original ingredientes. Today I tried “la tortilla de patatas y pulpo” (Octopus and potatoes omelette). Believe me, even if the combination didn’t sound appealing at first, it was DELICIOUS beyond words.
The brie flan was simply the best flan I ever tried. This is an excellent place to share ….and then, ask for more and more things..
Song: “Be gentle with me” Boy likely least to.
Let’s imagine you are in Barcelona and you want to seduce someone you really really really fancy and you are on a budget. GINGER (Palma de Sant Just 1) is the answer to your prayers.
The moment you step in this bar , you’ll see what I mean. Wood low tables . Intimate lighting. Bill Evans or Chet Baker or Charles Mingus playing. It always makes me think of an Speakeasy in the Titanic, if such a thing existed.
Very good cocktails. Good wine selection. And an extremely good tapas menu who changes every season with two classic staples : the apple tart with foie and the ginger icecream.
Believe me if she or he (or ?) Is not seduced, this she, he (or ? ) has a problem. And it’s not meant for you.
Song: “Strange fruit” Billie Holliday.
Margarita Blue ( C/ Josep Anselm Clavé) is my favourite bar in Barcelona. The colours, the lights, the peculiar atmosphere full of expectation. A perfect marriage of Oaxaca and the gothic neighborhood. It’s a comfy place where you can sip margaritas, eat a dish of fried green tomatoes or quesadillas, talk about Hanna Arendt and Lena Durham and see a great concert of a group called The Fig Eaters, who look like they scape from “Some like it hot”. You can drink, you can flirt, you can dance and after several Margarita Blue, you will fly. Ask for the ibérico ham from Guijuelo: it’s one of the best in town. The green fried tomatoes are a must too.
Teresa Reyes, the queen of this tiny tropical kingdom is the perfect host. Ask for her and say you read about the place in “the best and the beast”. The nachos are on me.
Song: “Rata de dos patas” Paquita la del Barrio
Paco Perez , the guy with 4 michelin stars, just open this comfort food place in Barcelona (Passeig de Gràcia 116) and yes, they have eggs. Scrambled. Fried.Poached. Benedict. With ham. With French fries. With sea urchin. With truffle. Really really REALLY good eggs.
But they have other things too: try the fried eggplant with honey, the nice steak tartare, the perfect “tacos de merluza” or the chickpeas with tiny calamari.
If this place is too casual for you, go to another Paco Perez restaurant in Barcelona : THE MIRROR. Literally the best rice (try the sucarrat, mmmmmm) and the best ham croquetas of Barcelona. I’m not joking.
Or if you want to splurge, take the car and drive to Llançà to the MIRAMAR (three Michelin stars if that means something to you) restaurant, an amazing experience in front of the Mediterranean. The menu is a beautiful adventure never overwhelming. You’ll have a dessert called “Tarta nevada by Tarantino”. Once you tried it, nothing is the same .
Song: “A Sunday kind of love” Etta James
I love anchovies because they made me happy. And in my quest for the perfect anchovy , there’s a place in Gràcia, my neighborhood, you can find me very often: L’Anxoveta ( little anchovy in catalan).
The anchovies are really good (firm, the perfect balance of salt and oil) and the “ensaladilla rusa” and the “croquetas” are incredibly good. They also serve a dish I worship: artichokes with “morcilla” and mashed potatoes . They have a great menu for 10 euros with dishes like “patata enmascarada con huevo frito” (pictured), black rice, pumpkin soup, tuna tataki, meatballs and home made cheese cake. The place is never crowded, the couple who owns the place are charming and it’s a very good place to start your Gràcia tour.
Song: “Have you ever been in love“? The Divine Conedy
In a city, Paris, with millions of amazing places, there is a little alley I worship: Le marché des enfants rouges ( Rue de Bretagne 40, 3″ arrondisement). A tiny market with stalls of moroccan tagine, japanese donburi, vegetables, cakes, oysters, wines, olives , salads , charcuterie, and baguettes. It’s the oldest market in the city and its name comes from the uniform’s color of the orphans who used to live here. The place looks like a set for a Marcel Carné movie and I always fantasize of seeing Arletty dressed with a trench coming from its melancholic atmosphere with a baguette and a bouquet of flowers . Or Julie Delpy.
Inside the market, there’s a photo shop owned by Fabien Breuvart with an incredible selection of beautiful vintage pictures. Great place to fall in love again with Paris.
Song: “Il ne faut pas briser un rêve” Jean Sablon