Sunday, May 25, 2008
Hold the Meat
I've been a little bit meat obsessed lately. You know, with the fridge full of Spanish sausage and what not.
The problem is not so much the meat, but that I have no one to share it with. Many of my Barcelona friends are committed vegetarians. By committed vegetarians I mean not even a juicy piece of bacon filling the kitchen with its sizzle would make them stray. During my brief dalliance with vegetarianism, I had a roving eye, if you know what I mean.
All in all, it's a real shame. The committed part, I mean. Barcelona is a meat eater's city at heart. All those sweaty hams hanging over bar counters, the taboo foie gras, the pretty game birds, the muscular lamb legs, not to mention the row upon row of bulging sausage casings. A crying shame.
But it hasn't been a total loss. I'm not about to start pimping meat so I've been forced to do some vegetarian research. There are some fantastic veggie spots in Barcelona. They stand up to their meat slinging cousins in quality and generally beat them by a long shot in price. All of the spots listed below are inexpensive.
My favourite, La Bascula (c/ Flassaders 30, Born, 93 319 9866), was formerly a chocolate factory. It's a lofty, rustic-chic space (pictured above) with an excellent assortment of everything from pasta to sandwiches to curries to very delectable juices, shakes and sweets.
Mosquito (c/ Carders 46, Born, 93 268 7569, www.mosquitotapas.com), which isn't strictly vegetarian, is an Asian fusion gem that offers more than enough vegetarian tapas items to make it well worth the trip. Thai coconut milk crepes, plump potato filled samosas and a vegetarian version of Singapore noodles make an excellent mini-feast. They also usually have a fantastic little glass of tiramisu for dessert. [P.S. See update in Losses post.]
Sesamo (c/ Sant Antoni Abat 52, Raval, 93 441 6411), a little further from the centre, but still very accessibly poised on the outskirts of the Raval, is another terrific spot with an excellent prix fixe lunch. Their quiches are particularly tasty, but really so is everything on the menu. Please don't go away without a slice of cake for dessert.
L'Illa de Gracia (Gracia), by contrast, makes me remember why I left the meat-free life with its bland mixtures of rices, grains and seaweed. I keep thinking I haven't given it enough of a chance, but really, it's time to let it go.
I have yet to try the Indian Govinda in the Gotico and Juicy Jones in the Raval, both of which come recommended by the committeds.
You also might as well know about www.sincarne.net, Barcelona's one stop information site for vegetarians. The site includes listings and reviews of both shops and restaurants.
Now, let me go eat some meat.