Wednesday, February 29, 2012

THE LAMP POSTS OF BARCELONA



Over the years my suppliers always asked me what they should bring to market that's sellable to our clients. I always helped them out with ideas of stone fountains and monuments that I saw around during my travels, which led to some very successful trade shows with products no other supplier had to offer.
Lately the cast iron division of one supplier approached me for some good ideas, as their sales fell flat, not just due to the economy, but their designs were played out and copied plenty of times in the competitive market they are in.

They loved my idea of new light fixtures, so during out trip to Barcelona I took some images of lamp posts that I believe should be introduced.
My absolute favorite is that one light standard on La Rambla, that doubles as a drinking fountain. Judging by the amount of people who took images of it, I could be on to something.  The factory loved the idea as well, so soon, coming to a trade show near you, a BARCELONA. That's the working title the manufacturer gave to the new project.


































Sunday, February 26, 2012

PADRON PEPPERS


Tapas 101. Along with Patatas Bravas, Padron peppers are one of the more popular Tapas, we first ate some of these great peppers in Vegas at this place: 


We enjoyed them a few times since, but never as frequent as during our trip to Spain last week. Plus we brought some back, as they are an easy to prepare appetizer. Not too hot, they are eaten as a whole, seeds included.
All it takes is a pan with a bit of very hot olive oil, roast the peppers for a couple of minutes all around, until they blister, sprinkle with sea salt and they are ready to serve.

Hopefully I can find a supplier here in France. Though close to the region where they are from, I have yet to see Padrons at any market.



FROM NORTHERN SPAIN ORIGINALLY

PLENTY FOR TWO

QUICK FRY IN VERY HOT OLIVE OIL

UNTIL THEY BLISTER ON ALL SIDES


SERVE WITH SEA SALT

NOT MUCH LEFT



Saturday, February 25, 2012

BACK IN FRANCE



...and all I wanted was some Pommes Frites. We stopped on the way back, bought some potatos and I made some first thing. Hot oil on a gas stove in small pots, a bit of a nail biter....glad to report the shack did not catch on fire.


Spain was great, Barcelona is a fantastic place to explore, both cultural and food wise. I got my fill of Tapas and sandwiches,while we had no problems feeding the Celiacs in the family. From a small corner store that carried gluten free baguettes, to most of the restaurants, everybody knew about Celiacos.  On our way back to the Charente Maritime, we cut right across Spain to the Atlantic coast. While the country side was nothing to write home about, I have to tell you, San Sebastian was so nice, we stayed another night. A bit prouder, reserved people than on the other side, we managed OK and had another great food experience.
Spain is light years ahead of other countries in Europe, if you are worried about being fed gluten free. 


Now back here, time to sort a few things out for the summer. Weather is lovely, 17 Celsius when we pulled in this afternoon. 


HOME MADE FRENCH FRIES. THE BEST

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

LA BOQUERIA MARKET



Sometimes my little camera is a real let down. Especially when it comes to color indoors. It does the trick for what I bought it mostly, but yesterday at the market in Barcelona, horrible pictures. So I decided to put up a few Blog posts about the same market from other Bloggers, who took much better images than me.

La Boqueria is a market in Barcelona, right off La Rambla, you cannot miss it. Because of the location and that it stays open until evening, I am not 100% convinced of it being a true market. Though I did see plenty locals, they mostly bought produce and meats, but more than half the stalls at my opinion cater to the hoards of tourists walking the city. The positive about that is, that the selection goes beyond your typical market fare, from chocolates from Leonidas to fresh fruit juices by the cup, all the way to  bulk spices so neatly displayed, it's clearly set up for tourists.

The most exciting part about Boqueria are the tiny little places that prepare food for you right on the spot. Excellent coffee, wine and of course Tapas galore. That made it a winner in my books.

Here are more images:









SANDWICH SHTICK?

TRIPE & HEADS. A GOOD NAME FOR A HIPSTER RESTAURANT IN CALGARY

COLORS IN FEBRUARY

OCTOPUS, BIG ONES

SAMPLES? YOU ARE MY NEW BEST FRIEND

GREAT BUILDING

SO MUCH HAM, SUCH A LITTLE STOMACH

THE BEST TAPA. ROASTED PADRON PEPPERS

MY CAMERA IS NOT GOOD

AVAILABLE FROM 29.00/KG ALL THE WAY TO 300.00/KG

MUST TRY ONE



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

GLUTEN FREE BARCELONA


From a recent visitor to my Blog an update April 3, 2013:

The sister restaurant recently closed so only the one near Metro Encants is open and wonderful it was too. You may want to update your blog. Also there is a Mercadona supermarket around the corner from the Metro and we were told it is the only chain so far to sell gluten free so we had lunch and then went shopping. Much cheaper than the small shops in central Barcelona for all sorts of groceries. Had gluten free frozen pizza, bread, rolls, baguettes, pasta, breadcrumbs and flour. Items are not in one place but with like gluten items. We are renting a flat through AirBnB in Raval with a roof terrace which is working out well. 



Isabella is off school this week, we took that chance for a getaway. First we chose Paris, but then we said, why not Barcelona. About the same distance as Calgary to Grande Prairie, we got to this city in 7 hours and entered a different culture altogether, in Grande Prairie we'd be looking for Earl's? Europe is very compact, in mere hours everything changes. Easy to get around by car or public transport, perfect for different experiences.

A Facebook acquaintance who lives in Barcelona, gave us some great tips, as well as this website. It seems that Spain, similar to Italy is very well aware of Celiacs.  


About everywhere we went so far, people were aware of our inquiry. Not every place had GF choices, but a majority did. Sometimes it is as obvious as fish and meat, however the effort counts. One Tapas bar we went to, had a great selection of gluten free food. 

Il Piccolo Focone, an Italian place came recommended by Eli Mora as well, so yesterday we checked it out for a late lunch. I can't believe many places do not open for lunch until 1pm...never mind dinner at 8pm?? I know somebody who likes his bed time around eight.......

In a residential neighborhood near the Damm brewery, bit of a schlepp to find, especially if you are new to the city. Once there, it was much easier to get back, we took the wrong Metro. Line 2 to Encants and about a 3 minute walk. Apparently they have a location closer to the University, but the servers refusal to speak English made it impossible to get any information.

The food was very very good, my seafood Pasta was outstanding. Isabella had the best gluten free  Pizza since she ran out of her mother's crusts a while ago.
So, if you are so inclined to explore off beat neighborhoods in foreign countries, this place is for you.

But even near the epicenter of Barcelona, La Rambla, you will not be disappointed. Boquerias, the market to visit, has plenty of tiny tapas bars where the cook is just too happy to oblige to your restrictions. More on that in a different post.




ITALIANS WORLDWIDE KNOW GLUTEN FREE

EVEN SMALL TAPAS BARS LIKE THIS ONE, WILL KNOW ABOUT GF

ALMOST THE WHOLE MENU IS AVAILABLE TO YOU

TUNA 

TRUFFLED PASTA, GLUTEN FREE

I ORDERED GF AS WELL....

SO FAR THE BEST GF PIZZA SINCE WE RAN OUT OF GFP CRUSTS

Sunday, February 19, 2012

THE CANDY WAR OF VILANOVA I LA GETRU



Or Batalla de Caramellos in Spanish. Maybe a difficult event to capture in images, especially with a simple camera as mine. So much movement, sounds and action, most of my images turned out a bit fuzzy. So maybe take a a look at this video to see what we saw today.  Located about a 30 minute drive south of Barcelona, this town is well known for it's Carnaval. It is said that even during the harsh years of the Franco regime, this spectacle went on year after year.



The whole town is taken over by compareses,  groups of flag bearers, musicians, dancers and the all important candy throwers. Businesses board up their windows, bars and Cafes hand out refreshments to all the participants and balconies are dressed up and full of spectators. The whole event culmination happens around 1pm, when all the groups descent on a square and the mayor announces La placa es vostra! (the square is yours!)   and the final candy battle erupts. All 8 tons of it.  


Isabella tagged along, she summed it up as interesting, but too loud. A sheltered upbringing dulls the senses I say. To me it was a unique event, imagine New Orleans without the girls showing off their wares for plastic beads......