July 20, 2004


On my way to find dinner, I wandered into the Mercat de Sant Josep just off La Rambla. It's an open-air market, but probably not quite what you're thinking: each vendor has a stall that can be locked up, and there is a big canopy over the whole thing. (·) (·) At each vendor, then, there is a big stack of whatever they sell, from individual fruits and vegetables to identifiable pieces of dead animals. The prices seemed fairly reasonable, too, which probably has something to do with cutting out a number of middlemen.

I ended up getting dinner at a restaurant/tapas place named "Egipte", where I got the fixed menu for €15 (plus tax, a fact which made me actually grit my teeth as I realised we had exported that idiotic practice). The first course was this amazing mix of assorted shellfish into what would be a really good dip, served on a canonical shell (that is, shaped exactly like the Shell gas station logo) and with a few pieces of lettuce strewn across the plate. It came with a fourth (of a litre) of beer. Which, by the way, no longer is distasteful to me like it used to be; not sure when that happened, really.

The main course was turkey with plums (and potatoes and some sort of bean, but the title of it was "turkey with plums"). What I was not expecting was a leg of turkey on the bone, which I had to extract. (I also had to extract the plums from their pits, which was marginally easier.) It was a little tricky not to send things flying off my plate, but I managed.

I was presented with a dessert menu, and they all sounded plausible, but I figured I would try the "crèma catalana" as being local. It was exactly like that French dessert whose name I have been trying to remember for the last hour, a custard with a hard, caramelised layer on top, except served in a broad tart dish to give the custard a much larger surface area to torch. The French name is still not coming to me, and this is driving me nuts. Augghhh.

On the way into the hostel, I saw the garbage truck they use to serve the Barri Gòtic with its six-foot-wide streets: it's about the size of my mom's minivan. Smaller, actually. (·)

Posted by blahedo at 8:52pm on 20 Jul 2004
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