Monday, May 26, 2014

My Trip to Barcelona, Spain (Day 6): Cal Pep

The next day, we went walking around the city looking at sites. Along the way, we decided to stop for lunch. The streets of Barcelona can be quite confusing. There are so many small, dark streets that look like alleys. Most tourist maps don't even list these streets. Better to get a very local map otherwise have fun walking around looking for things and places. Lucky for us, we didn't have to look too long for Cal Pep, our next dining destination.
As tourists, we arrived pretty early for lunch and were the only patrons there. Don't be shy about the bar seats up front. There are tables in the back for larger groups. Lucky for us, our waiter spoke English and was quite the showman. We did tricks and tried to get the ladies drunk off cava. He certainly was entertaining. But more importantly, he recommended a variety of tapas to share from meat to fish to vegetarian. We agreed and let the chef give us whatever he pleased.

To start, we had grilled anchovies with red pepper over toast. Anchovies do not get enough love. They're delicious and not "fishy" at all. They certainly get a bad reputation from naysayers. These, in fact, were simply cooked with oil and lemon. Paired nicely with the sweetness of the pepper to the crunchiness of the toast. A good start to the meal.

Next, toasted bread with tomato, olive oil, and salt. Such an a simple dish (again) but so good. Crusty bread with a light char. Tomatoes grated against the crunchy bits of the bread then topped with good Spanish oil and salt.
Croquettas are always welcome on our table. Creamy potato, jamon, and cheese breaded and fried. A classic and a good one at that.
And how can we not have a plate of jamon to share? I doubt this was iberico de bellota but it was good none the less. Good pork flavor and striations of fat all around. Artery clogging goodness!
And the tortilla. Soft potatoes and creamy eggs remind us again that simple ingredients with good execution is the answer.
Unfortunately, the fried calamari wasn't as good as the other ingredients. These tasted like the frozen kind. The meat was chewy and the breading too uniform. Even the lemon could not save it.
Now back to the good stuff like tuna tartare. Fresh minced tuna mixed with oil and herbs. Baguette slices used as the vehicle to stuff out faces.
Fried pimientos were a welcome treat. Blistered skin, a slick of oil, and a generous sprinkle of sea salt. Delicious stuff.
The pot of mussels and clams cooked with pimenton picante wasn't a favorite for some people. However, I enjoyed them. Little clams flushed with tender meat. The mussels weren't as generous with their bounty.
But don't fret. The razor clams were excellent. Perfectly cooked resulting in tender meat, sweet and briny flavors with a fresh squeeze of lemon to bring it all together. I could have eaten more of these.
And a second round of clams for us. These tasted better than the last with plumper meats and a more simple broth. The clams were basically cooked in their juices with maybe a splash of wine and some diced red pepper to garnish.
Another very good round of food in Barcelona. We have been eaten well so far in this trip. And there's still so much more to come. I'll admit it now, I gained weight on this trip. Walking 6+ miles a day did not help alleviate all the eating. You've been warned of the deliciousness.

Cal Pep
Pla├ža de les Olles, 8
08003 Barcelona, Spain
+34 933 10 79 61
www.calpep.com

1 comment:

  1. I was just thinking about razor clams today... mmm

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