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Archive for the ‘Barcelona’ Category

Dining at Lasarte

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Before the most recent trip to Barcelona, I spent a lot of time researching various restaurants to dine at for a good friend’s birthday. In a city known for its food, narrowing down the choices was not an easy task. Obviously, the first place to look was anywhere with the name Adrià, either Ferran of elBulli fame or his brother, Albert, who runs the much-raved about Tickets, along with Enigma.

Making reservations turned out to be somewhat vague, with no clear confirmation a table would be available once in Barcelona. In the end, decided it was important we had a confirmed table to make sure it was an amazing birthday celebration. Running through various travel guides and, especially, the Michelin guide, found out about Lasarte, a three-Michelin star establishment located just off the Passeig de Gràcia.

The reservation process was straightforward and when inquiring about their menu, with regard to dietary restrictions, their response time was remarkable (they are very accommodating when it comes to dietary restrictions). The reservation process alone was just about enough to confirm the birthday would be celebrated at Lasarte.

The day arrived and we took a walk down the Passeig de Gràcia, even stopping for tapas on the way.

Upon entering the establishment, it was amazingly clean and modern. We were seated right away and noticed a few of the other tables with elegantly-presented dishes and just as elegantly-dressed patrons. It was already exhilarating walking into such an establishment, it got even more exciting once the menus arrived.

The evening began with an array of ornate appetizers, each served in a unique way, with a variety of textures to start the evening. The first course began with an oyster dish served with an iced watercress slush, parsnip, and sea mist. For molecular gastronomy fans, seeing anything with foam arrive to the table automatically get the senses going.

Probably the most beautiful of the 11 courses was the red curry dish. Described as scarlet shrimp royal with red curry, raw artichokes, celery, and apple, the dish offered a variety of colors and textures. It’s the typical go-to photo when telling people about the dinner.

Scarlet shrimp royal with red curry, raw artichokes, celery, and apple.

If I were to name the most memorable dish, there is no doubt it was the charcoal grilled pigeon with citrus, capers, black olive, and smoked sauce with galangal. The idea of eating pigeon was a rather foreign concept, which made it the most striking option when first perusing the evening’s menu. There was a red meat quality to the flavor and texture and, overall, it tasted good – it was mostly about getting over the idea of a pigeon being on the plate.

Charcoal grilled pigeon with citrus, capers, black olive, and smoked sauce with galangal.

Dessert was amazing – and gorgeous. Almond and salt praline, apricot, and rum ice cream. It’s cliché to say “it was too beautiful to eat,” but this, in fact, was; and it was all worth it once getting that first bite.

Almond and salt praline, apricot, and rum ice cream.

There’s a reason places like Lasarte are acclaimed. The aesthetic really makes a difference in the overall experience. A quiet and relaxed room with perfect lighting made the dinner all the more appealing. Very attentive staff – who even walk you to the bathroom – add an appreciation for the care the restaurant puts into service.

Then, there’s the food. 11 courses, each with its own unique taste and beauty, it truly presents the soul of the restaurant itself.

All of it comprises the “dining experience,” and this was one of the most memorable ones.

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Barcelona Marathon

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The annual marathon around the Catalan capital started in 1978. The marathon route starts at the foot of Montjuïc, at the Plaça d’Espanya, it snakes around the city and comes back for the finish.

Both current winners are from Kenya; the women’s winner Emily Samoei is the current course record holder for women runners, finishing in 2:26:53.

Over 10,000 participants took part in the event that year.

Written by Paulo Loreto

June 28, 2012 at 6:34 AM

Protest in Barcelona

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Following news out of neighboring València of police brutality against student protests, individuals gathered in solidarity with the people of València. Students were protesting the federal government’s planned education cuts as part of the all-encompassing austerity plan in an effort to rescue Spain from economic calamity.

Crowds gathered before the Generalitat de Catalunya and soon began to march.

In València, 25 were arrested; but the real meat of the issue came out with several videos getting posted to the internet showing police beating and dragging protesters.

Protesters performed a short sit in on the Via Laietana.

Written by Paulo Loreto

March 11, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Café Bombón

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Popularized in València, Spain, a coffee treat with such rich texture and sweet taste, the Café Bombón has grown to international popularity. Found in different varieties across Europe and Asia, this style of coffee holds particular acclaim in Malaysia and Thailand.

The drink is traditionally prepared with espresso and condensed milk, in Asia, regular ground coffee is used instead of espresso.

Written by Paulo Loreto

March 9, 2012 at 9:03 AM

The Cascada

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Located in Barcelona’s Parc de la Ciutadella, the Cascada was first inaugurated in 1881, but without sculptures. A six year period, between 1882 and 1888, saw the fountain take its current form.

The structure was erected by Josep Fontsére.

Antoni Gaudi is said to have had some input in the structure's construction.

Written by Paulo Loreto

March 6, 2012 at 5:24 AM

The San Miguel Corporation

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In 1889, Filipino businessman Enrique de Ycaza was given a royal grant from Spain to brew beer in the Philippines.

Throughout the early 20th Century (and during the World War II era), the San Miguel Corporation, thanks to efforts by Andrés Soriano y Roxas, grew and diversified.

Upon Soriano’s death, the San Miguel Corporation was in the dairy, newspaper, radio station, and soft drink industries. They also held distributorships in the United States, Kenya, and Spain. The American distributorship brewed Lone Star Beer and Colt 45.

This eccentric beer tap can be found at the Sunset Lounge bar on the rooftop of the H10 Montcada in Barcelona, Spain.

Written by Paulo Loreto

November 28, 2011 at 8:21 AM

Bicing

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Barcelona’s Bicing system is a public transport system in which the public can travel through the city in a more sustainable method. The bikes are accessible through a membership system where one subscribes online and receives a card that will allow them access to one of the numerous bicycle stands around the city.

Bicing is accessible to about 70% of the city.

Written by Paulo Loreto

October 8, 2011 at 10:52 AM