Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Sightseeing and Sushi

A small section of view from the rooftop bar at the Hotel Majestic. Gaudi's Casa Batlló on the right.

I’m staying in this week. For the sake of my wallet and my health I’m eating home cooked food and will not consume any alcohol or junk and I will be going to bed every night at an extraordinarily reasonable hour.

How about that then.

I might also be kidding myself because my friend Robyn has agreed to show me some very cool and exciting things like a cupcake shop, the best place to drink tea and the best bakers here in Barcelona. But then, that all sounds like fairly wholesome stuff.

There is so much to do and experience here. However I’m coming to the conclusion that if I neglect to see every good restaurant, museum and cocktail bar then I have a very good excuse to keep returning in the future. If I try to do it all now, I could possibly do myself an injury. Three banana daiquiris, though delicious and a fun new experience, were more than likely the root of my Sunday morning unproductiveness

And before you start to wonder if my idea of culture is limited to food and drink, never fear. I visited Gaudi’s extraordinary Casa Batlló at the weekend. Antoni Gaudi, Spain’s most famous architect remodelled the building, owned by Joseph Batlló, between the years of 1904-06. It is known locally as the ‘Casa dels Ossos’, the House of Bones because of its skeletal quality.

Inside it is hard to find a straight line and even though the woman speaking to you through your hand-held 'speaking guide' tells you there are few, if any straight lines; if you’re like me then the challenge is on and you will be seeking straight lines in every nook and cranny. So if you get to go then at least you can relax and enjoy the tour because apart from things like furniture and stair treads, there really are no straight lines. I've done it for you. Phew. 

 It is truly stunning and a pleasure to visit and even George, my boyfriend enjoyed it a lot and he’s not great at sight-seeing.
This was the day after the sushi night. Our second visit to the ‘Matsuri’, Southeast Asia restaurant in the Barri Gotic region of Barcelona.

It really is the best sushi I have ever eaten. It’s the rice more than anything. If you’ve made a lot of sushi you will know that getting the rice perfect makes the biggest of differences to the final result. The sushi at Matsuri has a creamy, melt in the mouth effect and is neither heavy nor compact. The rice is on the light side of the ingredients and the filling shines through as a fresh and exciting little revelation. Like the mango in the spicy tuna sushi and the prawn tempura in the Tokyo. The California special is a must and if you’ve never eaten your own body weight in sushi before let me advise you that it is totally possible if you eat it here. Matt Barker, the owner and Captain of The Blue Peter, has admitted to eating there ‘practically’ every night so far. But then he’s allowed. He’s about to run in the New York Triathlon. I would seriously consider entering it too if it meant eating sushi every night. Hey, its healthy stuff!

The restaurant is very chic and pretty ‘zen’ so works well for crew and ‘guest/owner’ nights out alike.

After our visit to the Casa Batlló the next day (conveniently around lunch time…), we decided that since we were just down the road from the Hotel Majestic, we may as well pop-on-up to the tenth floor to visit ‘The Gourmet Bar’. It is a very elegant rooftop bar that has panoramic views over the city. Comfortable chairs too, Philippe Starke you know. 

So of course because we were up there it felt rude just to look at the view and leave giving nothing but our ‘oohs’ and ‘aaghs’; so we sat down to a few glasses of Cava and a little light lunch.

Then I think that day might have evolved into what was the banana Daiquiri night…

And here I am now, glad to be on the boat with a mug of tea and a cooling fan and no where to go for a while. Lovely. Well, we’ve still got a little time left here for a few more Barcelona adventures so one would be wise to pace oneself I reckon.

Thanks for reading! Hope you tried out the Pimms and Paella party idea?! Let me know.

I have a great little recipe for you next. Good, easy, cheap and very tasty little lunch idea.

Join me then. Cheers!

Skateboarding is where it's at in Barcelona