• Posted by Califia Suntree on October 28th, 2006, 5:03 PM

    aside from the black-footed pig–which, it seems, most catalunyans can discuss in passionate detail–there is nothing that stirs up a gourmand around these parts like mushroom season. a musty rainbow of mushrooms pops up in baskets in markets this time of year, and folks get really. really. excited. there is even a weekly, prime-time television program called “caçadors de bolets” (the mushroom hunters), which is the most charming thing i’ve ever witnessed. i can’t understand a word, but the excitement of these caçadors needs no translation. (the show ends with adorable interviews of elderly catalunyans reminiscing about the great fun they had traipsing through these forests, digging up those prize bolets…) anyway, the most-prized variety is a large-to-absurdly-large bolet called a rovellon. the enormous ones are sold in slices (worms removed, merce); by the looks of it, the intact mushroom was bigger than my head.

    they are dusted all over with what looks like cheetoh-dust and lovely green blossoms of mold. and they taste like fungus ambrosia: meaty, rich, distinct. after sauteeing some up for a bolet tortilla…i got it.

    my host frascesc gave me a lesson in spanish-omelette making. this one serves 4 as a tapa or light meal with salad. Read on… »

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  • Posted by Califia Suntree on October 19th, 2006, 5:01 PM

    from the balcony, i hear:
    plink, scrape, plink (unseen silverware against unseen plates).
    falsetto clinks of bottle against glass.
    low, familiar murmuring (probably the clipped syllables of catalan).
    crispy crackle of teeth into toast (“pa,” probably “amb tomaquet”).

    this, as well as the smell of hot oil and onions, pours from most windows, most afternoons.
    concludes with the more aggressive scrape, scrape, scrape of plates by unseen matriarchs.
    the contented snores, i can’t hear.

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  • Posted by Califia Suntree on October 15th, 2006, 4:59 PM

    so my apartment here in barcelona is in a neighborhood called gracia. it’s kind of like gentrified brooklyn. in fact, it’s a lot like that: hipsters, families, good food, old people with shopping carts, all kind of chilling together, more or less comfortably. but increasingly expensively. anyway, there’s an incredible market, a ton of restaurants. but what’s really great is the gelateria in the placa del revolucio. it is the zenith of gelato as far as i’m concerned–there can be none better. (i intend to do more research on that front, however.) aside from the pastel dreaminess of the interior, the flavors are the essence of themselves: pear is pear, in a deep and perfect way. the fig, perhaps their most inspired creation, looks like raspberry jam and tastes like the concentration of a week of late summer fig nirvana. i just slurped down a cup of gianduia (hazelnut with a hint of cocoa) paired with their intense, nearly black, chocolate. i have before me the task of tasting all of their flavors before they close for the season, on november 1, to head back to italy to teach their acolytes the true path of gelato. before me lays: nougat, melon, liquorice (i admit it–i’m a little afraid), and something that i think is mint, but i can’t be certain. no matter–it will be cold and delicious, and the women who make it will proudly shovel it out, knowing that what they have created is good. 

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  • Posted by Califia Suntree on September 28th, 2006, 4:55 PM

    first off, and a little late, i couldn’t agree more with bruni’s review of freeman’s. particularly liked the line comparing the hostess to cujo. ha. and i never agree with him about much … anyway, my dear reader, spooning will be posting from beautiful barcelona from now until december…i’ll be sure and pepper my postings with words like ‘sabroso’ and ‘rico.’ adios!

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