park güell

if ever i want to laugh until i'm about to pee,
i think back to that time when maria, hannah, and i
visited park güell, in barcelona.
perhaps, on this gloomysome new york day,
i will pack a bit of this silliness in my bag and be off to work.

did: barcelona

1. sagrada família. not just another church. the price of admission tells you so.
2. what is best about barcelona: roxan! 
3. inside the sagrada família, which is what your geometry teacher wanted you to see. it is really very cool. one of the most cool churches.
4. hannah @ the parc güell
5. so much gaudí it is like cindy loo hoo world. 
6. a pet!
not pictured: la boqueria, a discotheque or two, the black onesies that maria and i purchased 

barcelona is a fantasyland. not just because it is on the water and roxan lives there and food comes out on itsy bitsy plates, but also because the buildings are as if they were pulled right out of that little village- yes, whoville, in how the grinch stole christmas the movie. there are wee little winding streets and buildings that look melty {those are the gaudí ones} and in the streets you may come across a coffee shop with good yogurt or one of those pedicure places with the skin-eating fish. additionally, i don't know that i've ever met nicer people... for in our rush to the airport, a taxi driver who did not take credit card got out of his taxi and waved down more taxis until he found one that did take card. and that was just one instance. yes, i could get used to this. and also, i had a lisp in elementary school, so the pronunciation of certain barcelona words need not be an issue. 

there were too many things to do, in the way of tourism, to accomplish in our short time there. which means one and only one thing: time to go back!


touristy things that i did that i would recommend. in the order of most recommended to least recommended:
parc güell: it is super neat-o, and free. there is a little museum on the grounds that has a small entrance fee which is cool, but not life-changing.
la boqueria: there are butchered parts of animals that i had never seen before and scared me some. but the part with the sausages was  tasty.
the street with all the gaudí: i don't know if it has an official name.
sagrada família: i had beef with how expensive it was to get in. but there is an exhibit to the side which shows you that gaudí's structures aren't just circles but melty- there was actually real thought and geometry that went into constructing them. 
picasso museum: really great. but i would have appreciated it more if i had done more research about his work before hand. and also if i wasn't famished for a ham sandwich. 

et: barcelona

1. a spicy meatball thing at paco meralgo
2. hannah! eating a seafoodie
3. hannah and maria made me try a seafood. i don't remember what one it was but it made me cringe and want to vom.
4. the first of many tapas meals, at a place on las ramblas whose name escapes me
5. maria's new monocle
6. sandwich on a stick

omg tapas. our two loveliest meals in europe were in barcelona, and they were tapas. {is that correct? do you say they were tapas or they were in the style of tapas or they were tapas-y?}. the first was at paco meralgo. the object of chris' insanely adorable guest post months ago. it was perfect. unpretentious, friendly, sunny, pretty, yummy, so yummysagria-y. just the right thing for our little ladies lunch. the best were these fried onion things that had a special name and were a specialty of barcelona and came with a special sauce. and it was kind of one of those things where there is life before and life after, and so naturally i have no idea what they were called. lest i ever be able to have them again. stupid idiot. 

the second of the lovely meals was at la vinateria del call, in the gothic quarter. and it is inside of an old brothel! this is where we ate our last dinner in europe, so everything the waiter recommended it was like, yes, we'll take two. and the thing that floored me most was the blood sausage. it was good enough to make a lover out of one of those people who are like ew blood sausage there is blood in it gross. {i know because i sort of was one}. it was just so smokey and ricey and amazing. the tortilla extravasampler with zucchini and tato and pepper tortillas was also good, as were the croquettes, and cheeses, and wienees, and house made fig ice cream and so many other things. and being in there was like being in someone's dark and cozy basement where everyone in there is your favorite. it was so great.

aside from the tapas experience, it was mostly ibérico ham sammiches {ohhh that's where all my euros went}. because
the life is this: returning from the discotheque @ 5h30 and having jamón ibérico on white bread.


week 22.5: paco meralgo

update: pictures work!!!!!! yipeee!!!
if you haven't met chris,
i highly recommend it.
he taught me all i know about photo-bombing,
manta-ray fins,

he has an extensive background in ramen,
and he plays drums real good.

today i am honored to have him guest-blogging... 
all the way from 


Ohai! This is not Molly y - e - h pronounced "yay," 
this is instead Chris Thompson
guest-liveblogging some tapas in Barcelona, Spain. 

Let's get right down to it:

New York people tend to eat late, 
but I'm realizing we got nothing on Spain - from what I can tell, 
the evening meal starts between 10 and midnight and it's considered impossibly gauche to be seen in a restaurant before 9 pm. 
It seems like most places don't even open until 8, 
even though they all appear to be set up and ready to go all afternoon 
(almost like they are taunting one jet-lagged hungry traveler). 

I killed time as best I could, 
checked out La Ramblas (where many a sad-faced tourist can be found eating soggy paella at 6:15 PM), 
and walked through the massive La Boqueria market to ogle some pork products:

But then it was 8:15, 
and I realized I was just going to have to swallow my pride, 
waltz right in there and eat, or I was gonna fall over. 
After all, it was waaay past lunch time in NY. 
I'm so glad I did! 
They were super nice, and didn't mock me (or the other 2 people there) for 
rocking the blue-hair special
Sure enough, after about a half hour it was packed and crazy and I was happy I got a primo seat at the bar, 
in view of so much FRESHNESS:

My epiphany for the entire meal came within the first 3 minutes. Tomato bread, a common accompaniment to Catalan cuisine, is something so simple I couldn't believe I never experienced it before. I must have had 5 or 6 plates of this stuff by the end of the meal, and I'm now obsessed with learning the proper way to make it. 
Apparently the order of operations is key; 
rub the garlic on the bread, 
then on the tomato, 
then salt it, 
add olive oil, 
sprinkle on a mixture of crack and toasted pixie dust. 
omg you guys, look:

I regret not taking a picture of the awesome Gazpacho, served in a wine glass, but then there were SEA SNAILS 


Running theme here is 
"either you will give it a bath in olive oil, or we will do it for you." 
The anchovy bath included copious garlic, no complaints here.

Next there were fried things; eggplants, squid with ink-pouches still attached (but not for long), and PADRÓN PEPPERS:

They reminded me of Japanese fried shishito, 
a little hotter but with the same salty crunch and mysterious paper doily.
Finally, steak tartar "montaditos," in a bread tart 
(which is way more genius than it sounds):

I don't pretend to be a connoisseur of steak tartar, 
but I'll be surprised to ever have another one that lives up to this version. 
It was rich and flavorful but not overpowering and I completely forgot the bloodiness of it all. 

On my way out I caught a birds-eye of the masters at work:

I think I ordered 8 courses and three glasses of Rioja and it cost less than a steak in NY. I'm also thankful I was able to get through this meal with not a word of Spanish, but I think they gave me a pass for having that 
look on my face the whole time. 
I try to make up for my cultural ignorances with boatloads of appreciation, and it seems to have been a winning strategy so far. 

Paco Meralgo is at Muntaner 171, on the corner of Corsega, 
in Barcelona Spain. Don't even think of showing up before 8 PM.

-chris p thompson

thank you chris!!!
come back to new york now please so we can go to hagi please!!