B I T E S O F B A R C E L O N A
SK Friends and private, Los Angeles-based boutique culinary company Hank and Bean recently took a culinary tour of Barcelona. Jealous? We were too—so they graciously shared their travel journal with us, and it'd be selfish (mmm, shellfish...) of us not to share it with you. It gets even better: stay tuned, because within the next few days we'll be posting a Hank and Bean for SK recipe!
Hank and Bean is a bespoke private chef, event catering and meal delivery service by chef partners Henry Fischer and Anna Rose Hopkins. They believe in a holistic and synergistic approach to food, and prioritize quality over trend. Their non-GMO, antibiotic and hormone-free, mostly sustainable and local ingredients are sourced from local farmers, reputable fishmongers, and farmer’s markets. The pair is inspired by the urban landscape and the culinary diaspora of Los Angeles, and strive to provide clients with both nutrition and an artful sense of home. Sound good? We think so too—so let's get on with the Barcelona travel journal!
In the words of Hank and Bean: Against the stirring political backdrop of Catalonia’s fight for independence and Spain’s insistence on keeping the autonomous community under its wing, Henry and Anna discovered the boisterous city in its winding, lively streets, in its overflowing bars and taperias, and in its bustling markets and museums and ports. Here is a short list of our favorite points of intrigue:
T O M A R K E T
La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
This one’s no a secret, but you should be no less interested in discovering it for yourself! You’ll find La Boqueria, established in 1217, near the Liceu Opera Barcelona. There we mingled with a 50/50 split of tourists and locals who were enjoying a mix of seasonal specialties from meats (Jamon Iberico served in cone after cone for your take away pleasure) to sea products (do try the fat, briny Galician oysters for 1€ a pop, which are pictured below, or pick up some tinned boquerones for use back home), to produce (we were there for Kaki Persimmon). Go early in order to see the full spectrum of offerings, as many vendors will shutter by or shortly following the lunch hour, and if you’re lucky enough to find them, grab a seat at Mr. Juanito Bayen’s fourteen-seat counter, Pinotxo, and try small plates of whatever is good and still available that day.
T H E D I S H
Seasonal dishes to discover for Autumn and Winter: Navajas and Galician Shore Clams from Cal Pep
Plaça de les Olles, 8, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Literally translated to “blade” or “razor” and pronounced “na-Bah-haas”, these long, chewy clams are completely divine. Sweet and salty and satisfying, razor clams are best enjoyed straight off la plancha and washed down with a verdant white wine. We had these at one of our top Tapas Bars, Cal Pep. You will definitely have to wait for a seat, but it will definitely be worth your time.
While at Cal Pepe this time of year, also try the small, Galician shore clams. They're ultra meaty for their size, with a seagrass flavor that is at once, well, briny, sweet, and grassy. These can be enjoyed with the same bottle of white, alongside some pan con tomate of course.
Seasonal dishes to discover for Winter and Spring: Grilled Calçots
Try them wherever you can find them. These sweet, large spring onions are grilled or charred, then peeled. They actually look a lot like razor clams, but they're totally soft and earthy-sweet and will practically melt in your mouth. Often served with marcona almond romesco and tinto, locals can’t wait for them, so get excited, too.
S E A S I D E S T R O L L
Walk the Barcelona Harbor as long and slowly as you like. Enough Said. Pictured below is the W Hotel on the coast.
T A P A S T I M E
Rambla de Catalunya, 18, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
+34 933 18 19 97
Opened in 1997 and named for the former name for the City of Barcelona, this spot is always full and features more than a dozen house made beer on tap. We tried as much of the menu as we could, and stumbled upon this rich preparation for Bacaloa. Poached in white wine, olive oil and honey, the fish is served with a sweet and umami compote of preserved tomato. It sounds simple, but it’s a massive flavor bomb, and one to two bites might do you!
A R C H I T E C T U R E
Font de les Oques (Fountain of Geese) in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia
Placita de la Seu, s/n, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
If you loved The Young Pope or The Great Beauty by Paolo Sorrentino, you will love to visit the thirteen white geese forever inhabiting some of Barcelona’s most prized real estate, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and St Eulia, or, for short, the Barcelona Cathedral. Gargoyles lurk, and pointy ridges overlap to induce vertiginous gasps inside this model of Gothic architecture. Travel deeper inside to the heart of the Gothic Cloiser where the thirteen geese dwell as a reminder of the thirteen tortures suffered by Saint Eulàlia when she was martyred.
La Sagrada Familia
Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain
This opened in 1882, but construction continues on this Gaudi masterwork. This is his cathedral in progress, long after his passing. The lines are long and the tour is short, but if you want to understand Gaudi, his use of scale, and his inspirations, this cathedral is a must-see.