You can't visit Barcelona without running into some of Gaudi's prolific works somewhere. The most famous being the still epic Sangria Familia church, but having skipped that (epic church = epic ques) and kinda feeling like we should see something more of Barcelona than it's restaurants .. well that and after yet another fine Boqueria breakfast we had hours to fill before we could admire another eatery. We headed up into the hills that border the city to the fantasy garden Park Guell. Originally built by Gaudi as a playground for the rich we wandered round the winding paths all morning, listing to buskers and taking in the views back over Barcelona, it was amazing! To think that he had envisioned all of this in his head is astounding, I guess that's where the genius part comes into it.
After all this walking and artistic appreciation we were soon feeling the need for a little snack or two. Tapac 24 was close (well nothings really close to the garden so it was a cab ride) and we had only had a wee breakfast there before, so a sample of there lunch menu seemed to be in order.
We arrived grabbed a table and looked for the menu, hmmmm seems to be the same as the breakfast menu we had the other day .. we look around, a quick question, ahhh lunch menus come out at 12 - seems we had arrived a tad early, oh well we'll just grab a few things off the breakfast menu to tide us over. I'm just going to interrupt myself at this point to say y'know what I like about Spain? It was becoming apparent to me that you could eat whatever you like at whatever time you like and no one would say boo. You can put Rabo de toro (braised oxtail) on the breakfast menu and someone (us) will order it and it's all good. Amazingly good actually, fall off the bone in sticky finger lickin braising stock, and served in a tre cute little cast iron pan, icing on the cake people.
Our other tider overers were a can of sardines - Spain's canned seafood is not even playing the same game as the stuff you usually see lining supermarket shelves the product is often hand picked and canned only at the prime of it's season. Once you taste the difference you can understand how some Spanish canned seafood can cost hundreds of euros.
Eggs with potatoes and foie - a plate of hand-cut fries, sauteed foie gras and a fried egg smashed over the top, be still my congealing heart. It's a dish that arrives and you know how horrifically bad for you eating something like this will be yet your fork moves with surprising speed to scoop up mouthful after mouthful of pure deliciousness.
We had now lingered our way in to the lunching time zone. Menus were swapped and special boards were being bought out, so was a jug of some sangria like concoction on the table next to us. We'll have one of those please. One of those turned out to be a jug of agua de Valencia, Spanish sparkling wine (cava) with orange juice vodka and gin. Delicious & super easy to drink, maybe even a little too easy.
With the lunch menu in our hands we quickly browsed and in no time at all we had two of the most delectable anchovy fillets I had ever had the pleasure to meet sitting in front of us as well as a plate of grated tomato with sherry vinegar, sea salt and olive oil and some generous chunks of crusty bread for mopping it all up. A long time ago I used to think anchovies were horrible salty fishy things that had no reason for existing. Foolish me. To some extent a lot are that way, but to eat one of the anchovies at Tapac is to treat yourself to a just the right amount salty, just the right amount fishy, whole lot of umami experience.
The McFoie is something we had read about so of course one of those had to be ordered. Start with a small burger bun, fill with beef and foie gras patty, grill in a flat sandwich press till toasty, serve with truffle aoli. Need I say more?
At this point having just ordered another jug of agua de Valencia and feeling like we could still have a smackeral more we eyed up the specials board, proudly written in Catalan. Having even less of a grasp of Catalan than Spanish we randomly picked a few things.
We knew what chimichurri was so whatever's with that we'll have. Grilled beef it turned out to be. Smokey and doused with a herbacious chilli salsa. Heaven.
A plate of crumbed fried thingys were rabbit ribs. Moreish morsels of rabbit meat with a rich aoli for dipping. Once you popped you just couldn't stop.
Calcots are a traditional springtime treat. Grown from an onion bulb, the shoots have soil piled around them as they grow similar to white asparagus. the result is a leek like mild onion that is then charred grilled and usually served with romesco sauce. There is no tidy way to eat them just scoop a little romesco and slurp it down, you may even get a few appreciative glance for embracing the tradition wholeheartedly.
We both knew we were done but we couldn't leave with out one more Tapac specialty. Chocolate with olive oil and salt is not just a Tapac specialty but a Catalan one. In this case the chocolate is quenelles of rich ganache drizzled with olive oil speckled with great Spanish flake salt and topped with a wafer of toasted bread. Chocolaty, salty, crunchy, just delicious.
Sated we made our way out onto the street surprised to find we had lost quite a few hours and that it was now time for siesta. Oh well when in Rome, or Spain in this case.
8am - midinght