This was my fourth time teaching a blogging workshop in Barcelona, and one of my favorite things about being in the city for a week is getting to stop for lunch. It’s about $10 for a menu del dia almost anywhere in the city, and for that you get a glass of wine (or sometimes they just bring out the bottle and let you have as much as you like) plus two courses and a dessert. The key is wait until about 2 PM because the best places don’t serve lunch until then. It’s an affordable way to eat out everyday.
This was my monkfish with a romesco cream sauce:
Usually I just rent a place on Airbnb to host anywhere between 6-12 bloggers but this time, I had a friend offer her home. I met her and her husband last spring when she attended one of my workshops and after the first day she said, “You know, I have a house here in the city, if you want, we could go there.” Oh the modesty. When we arrived, everyone’s jaws dropped. Their apartment is located on the second and third floor of what I can only describe as an estate, with a terraza that runs the length of the house and overlooks the city all the way out to the sea. That thin line of blue in the distance is the Mediterranean.
She’s also a writer, and I’m trying to convince her to write a book (or more accurately, find time to write the book she already has bouncing around in her head). My time with them has felt like it’s stripped straight out of a particular lovely travel memoir, where after a long day of talking about writing, photography and the business of being a creative, we take a long lunch, then amble back to their home to enjoy the views, just before someone suggests, “Should we open a bottle of wine?”
Okay, yes, let’s do that.
I wish I could teach all my workshops in such a place.
But beyond teaching, I’ve mostly spent my time eating my way through a city I never thought I’d leave.
Lomo over noodles:
Of course, jamón:
And after the week was done, I spent a lazy weekend at the house with my hosts, talking about politics, life, children, travel, and whatever books we had read last.
Literally my life is like a movie right now. This is my view from their table at lunch:
I just need a really bad break-up or some kind of emotional rollercoaster and I could turn this into the next Eat, Pray, Love. But with Mediterranean-style salads with marinated white fish in Spain, rather than bowls of pasta in Italy.
Is it weird to take pictures of everything your host cooks, including the simple bread bowl she puts out with every meal? (Even the light is prettier here.)
I did say, “I’m sure your guests don’t normally take so many pictures.”
“Actually, sometimes they do.”
Of course. Then she served grilled chicken kabobs with pesto salad and perfectly seasoned courgettes. And then he poured me a glass of wine. Some people just know how to do life. It was like a master class in good living. Trust me I was taking plenty of notes (and begging for her recipe for crème fraîche, demi-glace and pesto from the basil in her garden).
Is it possible to be homesick for a place before you even leave? Barcelona, te amo. To my friends in the big house, just north of Gracia, thank you, you’ve thoroughly charmed me, and I can’t wait to return the favor in Oaxaca.