06 September 2008

"The true sign of a traditional Catalan meal is that you will smell like garlic and onions for a week after eating it"

That is pretty true, by the way. Wanting to experience something authentic, a couple of us went to this restaurant that Luke recommended to me, Can Margarit, which was actually pretty close to the other residencia that students are staying in. It was absolutely incredible- just as Luke promised.

This restaurant is located down a narrow, twisty, cobblestone street and was the only thing open for several blocks in any direction. We walked in and it was like being transported to a different century. There were wooden wine barrels on either side of the entrance area, as well as hand painted porcelain and farming tools hung up on the walls. We were clearly the only Americans there; everyone else was speaking Spanish or Catalan. The man who helped us out was incredibly friendly, and I think he may have also been a cook. While waiting for a table we were given glasses and encouraged to sample the wine in the front barrels, free of charge. When Luke told me about this I thought it was great, and it was even better when I was really there! As some of our group didn't really speak any language other than English he gave us both English and Spanish menus. I was very pleased with myself in that I only spoke to him in Spanish, and he directed all questions for the table through me.

The food there was incredible. Going on Luke's recommendation, as well as the house specialty (rabbit), we ordered a lot of different things, including some salads, cheese, and olives. The olives here, by the way, are incredible, and I have never liked olives before. We also ordered some snails, which tasted sort of like marinated vegetables, and three main courses of rabbit for the five of us. The best part is, we all had been, currently were, or are at least semi-vegetarians, and yet we still ordered the rabbit because it was clearly the prized dish of the restaurant. (The locals all ordered it too). When it came out each rabbit came in a dish filled with cooked onions and roasted garlic cloves, and they really cook the whole rabbit- the skull was cooked along with everything else, teeth still in tact. As gross as it was, we had fun with it, and the rabbit tasted delicious! The wine, which I think they make themselves, was also incredible and we had a wonderful 2 and a half hour meal.

Afterward we wandered around the streets and found a local bar and went in for a drink, then headed home. It was the first night that I really felt like I was IN Barcelona, and I loved it! I also smelled like garlic when I woke up.

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