Neighborhood Watch : Barceloneta, BCN, Spain

On our recent trip to Barcelona, I found myself traversing the miniature streets of a lesser-traveled corner of the city's streets, per my best Catalán friend's advice.  Sun-drenched, hot, and buzzing with daily movement, the streets of the Barceloneta were a world away from Las Ramblas and El Gotic. And, happily for me, stuffed with food secrets.

Baluard bakery is arguably Barcelona's best bakery. Anna Bellsolà, the owner, is a baker basically since birth—and at her spot in Barcelona you can find up to 40 different types of bread, with doughs that ferment nearly an entire day before being shaped into loaves and fired in a wood-burning stone oven. In other words, real bread.

Turns out that several of the nearby bars appear to take advantage of the proximity. We ducked into one that looked pleasingly nondescript; dark wooden shutters and door, swung open haphazardly. No sign, just the street number posted above the door. Clattering of dishes and the pleasant drone of conversation, punctuated with an occasional shout, drifted out to the street. So, of course, we went in.

This spot was a real tasca—full of older locals, a mouthwatering menu written in chalk, emphasis on the super great prices. The kitchen open to the bar and the tables, of which there were about twelve.

A jar of white was promptly brought out.  Why is wine in a jar so wonderful? Is it the faux-rusticity? The feeling of plentitude? I don't know. But I know it is magic.

We started with the amanida, a salad of tomato, red onion, and olives, drenched in a healthy dose of olive oil and vinegar, with some of that Baluard bread on the side, spread with allioli. Enjoyed some beans as well as the bomba, a fried potato creation topped with some quite spicy sauce and more allioli.

And then, for me, the crowning acheivement of perhaps my entire trip was this little cephalopod.

So tender, so perfectly right for that moment in the seaside Barcelona neighborhood.

baluard bakery : Carrer del Baluart, 38 - 40 | +34 932 211 208 |

the tasca that shall not be named: Calle Baluard, 56