Those of you who know me as a real life human being know that I studied abroad in Spain junior year of college. I believe it was the fall of 2004 and oh my god that was so long ago and it feels like yesterday. (Call on me, anyone?)
This vacation was my first time back to Spain since then. While I was there, I had some really powerful visceral memories of things I did/did not miss from my time living there.
Things I did not miss:
- Weird old men that hit on you while you’re walking down the street
- The smell of sewage that randomly assaults your nostrils as you walk down a picturesque sidewalk
- Dog shit just all over the aforementioned picturesque sidewalk
Things I did so much miss:
- The sound of church bells ringing in the hour
- Cafe con leche
- The weird, nonsensical graffiti that is so well executed that you can’t even be mad at it, for example:
- The rapid fire Spanish you both can and can’t understand; and on the flip side, broken English for tourists
- The amazing sights, including but not limited to beaches, cathedrals, parks and monuments
- And duh. The food.
For me, this trip was about relaxing and eating. It was like How Stella Got Her Groove Back if Stella had been jilted by a Lean Cuisine and she chose to get her true revenge ON the Lean Cuisine by eating and drinking all of the carbs that there were in the world.*
*I think it’s pretty clear that I’ve never seen the movie. So this is a really bad metaphor based on what I THINK the movie is about. But somehow I don’t think I’m too far off.
Spanish food is generally simple, fresh and so, so good. And, y’all, they have the best ham in the world.
If you’re a lover of ham like I am, then you simply haven’t lived until you’ve had jamon iberico. Prosciutto? Garbage compared to jamon iberico. The meat is salty and the fat melts in your mouth. I miss it already. But be warned, it is also a little bit stringy and hard to eat in front of people you think are good looking. But I digress. Jamon iberico is delicious and it’s perfect on my new favorite Spanish delicacy: pan con tomate.
This was a new discovery for me. The Spanish have bread at every meal, but in Barcelona that bread is so much more than just bread. They take sliced crusty bread, toast or grill it, rub it with a bit of garlic, and then rub it with a ripe tomato.
THAT’S IT. It’s effing delicious.
I have more posts about Barcelona to come. A whole post about potatoes. (MMHMM. POTATOES.) And one a restaurant you simply must go find if you’re in en Barthelona.
Cause everyone deserves a chance to get their groove back , y’all.**
**Seriously, I’m not going to see the movie. But I will continue to make references like I have.
Pan Con Tomate adapted from Tapas: Sensational Small Plates from Spain by Joyce Goldstein
- Crusty Bread
- Olive oil
- Ripe Tomato, cut in half
Heat grill pan (or broiler) to medium-high heat.
Cut the bread ½ inch thick. Brush both sides with olive oil. Grill (or broil) until marked on both sides and somewhat crisp. Immediately rub one side with a garlic clove. Then rub the cut side of halved tomato on the still-hot garlic-rubbed bread. If desired, garnish with an anchovy or a slice of Serrano ham, since we cannot easily get the delicious jamon iberico here in America.