Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Barcelona, Spain: Day 4

I can't believe it's day four already.  It's kind of like when you really want Christmas to come and then all of a sudden you realize it's over.  Today consisted of a four mile walk to have lunch at a Barcelona beach place called Restaurant Kaiku. The restaurant was only open from 1pm-3:30pm so we had to plan our trip wisely.  We first stopped for coffee and breakfast at McDonald's to see what they had to offer.  I haven't had McDonald's in so long that I don't actually know if a bacon McMuffin, which is what I ordered, is offered in the United States or not.  We usually like to hit up Micky-D's once on our vacations to see what different kinds of food they serve.  I thought it was pretty good, though I think I like classic egg McMuffins better. 

Nick got the breakfast brunch.  There are eggs under the french fries. 

Sister got an iced coffee.

I got a bacon McMuffin, which is really similar to a US egg McMuffin, but instead of ham there is bacon. 

While moseying over to the restaurant, there was a man in a square making bubbles for money.  Try putting that one on your resume.  Current occupation: Bubble Maker. The bubbles were really pretty,  but after a while the kids started popping them before they would release from the strings so we left. 

Around the city there are various water spigots.  They aren't all as fancy as this one,  but we've seen quite a few of a similar style.  People will fill up their water bottles or wash their faces, but we haven't done that in fear of germs and water viruses.  Dysentery while traveling is not something that I particularly want to experience. 

There are a lot of shady alleys that have small shops and eateries in the touristy areas. 

In the department stores they have a few American beauty lines that are normally found in the drugstore.  I thought that the Essie nail polish display was quite impressive.  The whole tower was full of different colors.  At $19.28 USD,  it's no wonder the display was still full. 

We got a kick out of this chain candy store name. 
The Barcelona Cathedral
We didn't go inside the church, but outside was pretty spectacular at 11am.  

The Saint Martin's Church.  We went into this church because it was free.  I really enjoy stained glass and this church didn't disappoint.  We weren't supposed to take any pictures, but we did sneak a few without flash. 

The inside of the Saint Martin's church was so beautiful.  There was so much intricate detail in every inch of the building.  The walls are lined with deities and each window had picturesque colorful glass.  It would have been really nice to stay longer, but it was quite stuffy inside despite the size of the building.  There wasn't a cross draft and the air was very stale and hot. 

Parakeets are pretty common in the area. 
We've tried many different Spanish beers thus far and they all have a bitter quality to them.  Today we tried Keler at Kaiku.  
They first gave us a fried appetizer on the house.  We aren't sure what these are.  They have the crunchy texture of fried onions, but Mom is pretty sure that it's thinly sliced dough of some sort. 
Szechuan pepper clams.
This salad may not look like much, but this is shaved fois gras.  We knew that we ordered a salad with fois, but we thought that this was shredded tuna with fois mixed in.  This was actually a pile of fois on top of lettuce. 

We also got a duck ham salad.  I had never heard of or tried duck ham before, but it was really soft and flavorful.  Duck ham is basically duck cured in the same process that one would cure pork to make ham.  

Fried anchovies with Romesco sauce. 

Tomato bread. 

Holy moly, monkfish is good.  This was a monkfish avocado crema sandwich with a dried tomato sauce on top.  There was a delicious avocado crema in between two delicately sliced raw pieces of monkfish.  The crema had a tangy flavor that I'm convinced was tomatillo and there was a browned tomatillo wrapper as a garnish, which is a wink-wink, nudge-nudge from the chef that it's in there somewhere.    This may have been best thing that I've eaten this whole trip. 

These small prawns with pickled lemon grass and ginger atop an oyster leaf were also extremely tasty.  It really tasted like there was raw oyster somewhere in the dish, but the leaf is what tasted like an oyster.  I'm going to have to hunt these things down and put them in EVERYTHING.  They were so tasty.  
As part of the main dish, we got the Fideau.  This broken noodle dish is similar in style to paella.  I think I like this more than paella.  The noodles near the edges of the pan where nice and crispy.  I have yet have a paella that is really crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. 

We added the mussels onto our order after seeing a table next to us receive their order.  The mussels were extremely juicy and plump.  I really enjoyed the oceany flavor that was brought out with the subtle garlic and wine sauce. 
Barracuda caught this morning on top of quinua and yellow figs. 

Creamy monkfish rice cooking a paella style.  To me the rice was more like a risotto than a paella. 

This was the restaurant's signature black rice.  The rice is colored with squid ink.  
This is silly, but at first we thought that these were marshmallows.  They are actually wash cloths that puffed up when the waiter poured hot lemon water on top.  We are easily pleased.  Lots of "oohhhs" from our table. 

After lunch we spent most of the day on a Hopper bus seeing the city.  Admittedly, I fell asleep on the bottom level while everyone was on the top for about an hour until we got off to see the National Art Museum.  Hey, we were on the bus during the time that we've usually been taking afternoon naps.  The bus makes for some awesome site seeing, but it takes a long time to get from one place to another.  We didn't get off our stop to head back to the hotel until around 7:00pm.

Back on the Hopper bus.
Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (National Art Museum of Catalunya).  I've found that the increased volumes of beer has naturally lead to increased visits to the rest room.  Museums have become my new best friend because I pretend that I'm a patron of the museum looking for the wc.  It's worked thus far and most are clean and air conditioned.  We didn't go inside to look at the art, but the outside of the building was really pretty. 

View of Barcelona from the art museum up on the top of the hill.

From the museum, we took several escalators down to the ground level where we saw a picturesque stair case and more tree lined walkways. 

The art museum from the second tier of the site.
So touristy.
The art museum from the bottom level. 
Lots of water attractions in this area.
Nick and Sister have been doing jumping pictures whenever they travel for years.  This is a mid-jump picture because articles of clothing started flying around once we reached the top of our jumps.  For the sake of modesty and staying a Rated G, I'm not going to post the pinnacle pictures. 

We have too much fun with these jumping pics. 

To go into the art museum walkway there are two large pillars that lead in. 
For dinner we stopped at a place called Navarra on our walk back to the apartment.  The main feature of the restaurant was the stained glass ceiling.  Unfortunately, the food was mediocre, but I guess that's what happens when you go somewhere on the main tourist strip.  

Barrata salad.  We've gotten these before at home, but Nick knows that I love burrata.  Usually the cheese is pretty soft and gooey, but to me this version had more of a soft mozzarella texture.  The salad was also too heavily dressed for my liking and very oily.

Tomato bread. 

Grilled cuttlefish

Nick got an ox burger with bacon, apple and brie.  He and Den originally thought that they were going to get apple wood bacon, but they actually got apple slices and bacon on the burger.  It wasn't a bad combination, but the burger was pretty dry.

My steak looks a lot better than it tasted.  I asked for medium rare, but it came out raw.  Not rare, but raw.  Normally I don't send back food, but over the last couple of years I've noticed that under cooked meat makes my stomach a little queasy even if it is organic grass-fed yadda yadda.  I asked for the steak to be cooked a little longer.  It came back nicely browned, but was still a little too under for me.  We packed it up and will microwave it back in our apartment.   The fries that came with the steak were also under cooked and greasy. 
Ye Ma and Jerng Jerng got a seafood dish for two.  They should have listed it as a seafood dish for four.  A whole seafood store is in their dish it's so big. 

Monkfish stew
Black rice

It's the end of another successful day.  Tomorrow we have another long one ahead of us.  We got tickets for Gaudi's famous Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) church in the center of Barcelona.  I'm really looking forward to seeing the stained glass and architecture.  Until then: I bid you a good night and happy eating.

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