One of my New Year's Resolutions this year is to travel throughout Europe and take advantage of all the cheap flights and sweet offseason deals. The grey and cold weather in Paris, has a way of wearing down one's motivation, so this weekend I escaped to Barcelona, Spain for sunshine and crazy nocturnal festivities ;-)
I rushed through my Friday night practical at Le Cordon Bleu to make my flight to Barcelona on time. Thankfully the mornay sauce for my cauliflower dish didn't break (bechamel sauce with egg yolks) and my bacon wrapped monkfish with braised artichokes the chef deemed as "tres bien". A relief considering the pace at which I cranked through everything. Muchas gracias to my cooking partner who made efforts to help get me out faster (thanks Jamie!).
I arrived at the airport three hours earlier than my flight and was able to easily switch to another flight. Iberia Air is cool like that. They are also cheap if you book at least two weeks ahead of time. Two hours later I touched down in Barcelona and caught a taxi to Hotel Pulitzer. The hotel I stayed at is owned by the Clarion group (think Comfort Inn) but their Barcelona hotel is super trendy (no, really, it is). There were all sorts of glamoratti, fashion photographers, and film makers staying at the hotel–no doubt they opted for the same great Expedia deal as me.
Saturday morning we went for cafe con leche, Spanish pastries, and sunshine at Cafe Zurich. Coffee in Spain is really good. The last time I was in Spain was 12 years ago and I remember thinking, "this is the best coffee in the world, I could drink cafe con leche all day long..." and I still feel that way. I also remember thinking, "I could live here for the rest of my life..." and I definately still feel that way too!
Some things never change. However, Cafe Zurich has. The original cafe was flattened around 8 years ago and replaced with a shiny chrome exterior underneath a shopping center, but the new one still offers the same attentive service and people watching opportunities. After a leisurely breakfast, we strolled down La Rambla to the harbor and took in some provacative street tango and crazy performance artist acts along the way.
Saturday night is a little bit of a blur. We went to so many bars and clubs that I couldn't keep track of them all. I did manage to keep pace with my Spanish buddies until 6:30 AM, but I slept through my flight the next day. Did I mention that Iberia is really cool about switching flights? Check out my rec's below for fun clubs and yummy restaurants. I love Barcelona. The people are friendly, they believe in customer service, the food is delicious and international, it's not overpriced, the nightlife is fun, and the city is clean and beautiful.
Next on my list is Portugal for a surfing vacation in Lagos and some porto tasting up north. Just two more weeks left until I graduate from my intermediate courses at Le Cordon Blue and take off for some serious relaxation! If anyone has restaurant/club suggestions for Lagos or Libon please pass it along.
Sugar Clubat the World Trade Center
Trendy, hip, view of water, lots of great house dj's
Otto Zutz Club
Scensters, multi-level with different music styles on each. Fun
Young, hip, right on the beach, back porch with big couches to sip cocktails and enjoy the beach view. It's a restaurant that becomes a club later in the evening. Definately worth a visit!
Little Italy Ristorante
Av. Marques de l/Argentera, 19
Trendy, industrial jazz design, seasonal fresh limited menu. Delicious. Try the beet nocchi with brown butter and sliced almonds if it's still on the menu
Catalan cuisine with good paella. A little touristy, but still worth a visit because it's been around for ever