Degustation is like the quiet cousin in the corner of the family picture who doesn’t say much but you know she’s extremely smart and successful. The restaurant is still going strong since its beginnings about 2+ years ago and there is no sign of it slowing down, even with only 16 seats.
We opted for the $50, 5 course tasting menu. Being a typical Asian and as with tasting menus, I was somewhat concerned that I might not be completely satisfied at the end of the meal. After the fifth course I of course had some room left for more food but I can say that the portions were pretty well thought out.
As the NYMag review mentioned, the food doesn’t taste forced or pretentious. One thing I noticed was the plates that were used looked like the ones you could get at Ikea or Walmart. The emphasis was solely on the freshness of the ingredients and the blend of their flavors. My favorite was the torija. Crispy and slightly burnt on one side and paired with a slice of grapefruit to add tang to the sweetness of the pudding. I’ve been told that this is a new version of how they used to make this dessert. Previously it was served with grapefruit foam and frozen grapefruit (see here).
Although I wished the portions were bigger, I was pretty impressed with the food. If I had been an over-achiever (and had a fatter wallet) I would’ve definitely done the 10-course instead.
Degustation Wine & Tasting Bar
239 E 5th St,
New York 10003
(Btwn Bowery & 2nd Ave)
To say that the city of Barcelona is all about food and drink is a careless understatement. Unlike cities like Paris or London where affordable and good food is a rare gem, Barcelona sets out to fill your tummy without emptying your wallet. I was skeptical of that theory when I walked into Paco Meralgo. Recommended by my foodie friend, Sarah, I expected the food to be awesome but I was also prepared to pay a pretty penny for it.
The decor of the restaurant is simple, clean and yet tasteful. They have an upstairs dining area for larger parties – equipped with a long wooden table and short wooden chairs that look like they were plucked out of the Seven Dwarfs’ home. The wait staff is extremely friendly and patient – things do get busy and rowdy after 8pm, which is when the Spanish start getting hungry, like New Yorkers.
It’s a definitely must visit if you should go to Barcelona. The bill for about 7 of us (and mind you we ordered a lot of food + wine) came out to about €280.
C/ Muntaner, 171
08021 Barcelona, Spain
934 309 027
I was extremely excited to go back to Mercat La Boqueria after my first visit to Barcelona about 5 years ago. I was backpacking through Europe with 4 other friends and we were on a poor-college-kid budget so we frequented La Boqueria a lot for groceries. This time, I went back specifically to try out a tapas bar that was recommended by Sarah.
El Quim is basically a 10×10 bar smack in the middle of the market completely packed with diners on every side of the counter. There’s a frenzy of cooking activity in the kitchen and they can amazingly still fit 4 chefs inside.
We took our places behind a couple who were obviously enjoying their lunch, albeit very slowly. After waiting for about 30 minutes, we managed to secure 2 spots for 5 people. We made a makeshift table out of 2 other stools and dove right in to ordering the food. Notable dishes: Deep fried artichokes, salted cod (bacalao), the leg of lamb (with its meat falling off the bone) and spiced shrimp. I cannot begin to describe how amazing the food was so I’ll let the pictures tell you.
El Quim de La Boqueria
La Rambla 91
93 301 98 10
Opens at noon, closed on Sundays