Monday, July 07, 2008

Pinotxo - An Epicurean Pilgrimage

I spent five days in Barcelona. I visited some of Gaudi’s works, headed down to the port and spent hours wandered around the city under the warm sunshine because KD and I decided that we were ‘walkers’ that we weren’t going to hop on the tourist bus but walk everywhere. We walked everywhere. We might even developed stronger legs. The truth about our walking route is that although it was spontaneous, it was guided by mainly by the lust of shopping and the desire to eat, that being said, we did literally walk into a few sights and monuments.

Fresh seafood, cutting edge molecular cuisine along side fervent advocates of traditions the Catalans know how to seduce you into their glorious world of food. We had a lot of eating on the agenda. Different city same story, too much to eat too little time.

The food here in the city is incredibly delicious. Of all my meals I had, the one table that I would board a plane just to eat at again is the crowded L-shaped counter of Pinotxo in arguably one best markets in the world, La Boqueria. Here, there is no menu. Needless to say, what is fresh is the menu.

We lucked in grabbing two seats at the corner after a short wait of five minutes where our espresso were served and we contemplated what we should eat.

“What would you like?”

“What is good?” asked the naïve me.

“Everything is good!”

“Ok, I want some fresh seafood, so…between the bamboo clams, the clams and the gambas..”

“For me, the gambas are the best, but that’s for me...”

“I’ll have the gambas,” the deciding factor being when in Barcelona, eat like the Catalans.

The gambas were possibly one of the best things I have eaten all year. Pristinely fresh, succulent and sweet all they needed was a little coaxing on the hot plate, a splash of olive oil and a dash of sea salt. After you gently nudge its head off allow its natural prawn essence to spill onto the plate to marry with the olive oil for a sauce that should be soaked up by a baguette slices. The food was so pure and it spoke so sincerely, I feel in love with Pinotxo instantly.

“How were the gambas?”

“The best I’ve ever had…” and that’s the only way I currently feel inspired to cook prawns at the moment.

They also encouraged us to try their chickpeas, another of our charming cook’s favourite, and that like the gambas was deceptively delicious - the best I've ever had. We also ordered their baby squid cooked with white beans, garlic and balsamic that we witnessed them cooking from start to finish and continued to stare jealously at the gorgeous plates that others ordered. The wonderful people at Pinotxo took a liking to us. Maybe it was our appetite and sense of adventure that endeared us to them as they generously fed us odd bits to sample. When we called for the bill, we assured them that we would be back tomorrow but tomorrow was a Sunday and the market it closed on Sunday, so Monday it had to be but there is no seafood on Monday.

We still returned on Monday and we had a repeat of their chickpeas, and ate from what I would term their ‘land menu’ – tripe, veal cheek, salted cod and such. It was still all magically good although I am biased towards the ‘sea menu’.

“Come back tomorrow?” they asked with a smile.

“I would love to but I have to fly off in the morning. Too bad, I’ll come back when I’m back in Barcelona.” If I could, I would board a plane today to eat there again.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I visited barcelona on a foodie journey in april this yr too and went Pinotxo for breakfast. There, we met mr pinotxo..such a lovely and wonderful guy! did u go for seafood at cal pep and la paradeta? it's heavenly!

9:55 AM  
Blogger Arlene Delloro said...

How I loved Barcelona and Las Ramblas! Great blog.

7:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now this looks fantastic

4:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I visited Barcelona in March this year and walked EVERYwhere too! I do agree the food is totally yummy. The seafood is fresh and I sure did have a tapas overload. :)

10:03 PM  

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