Our first official day of the Portland Food Adventures International Barcelona tour was Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. We first met up as a full group at the garden bar of our hotel, H1 Urquinaona Plaza and had a drink and introductions.
(Previous: Arrival and pre-day in Barcelona)
Most of us had met at previous pre-PFA functions, which included a recruitment tapas afternoon at Jose’s restaurant, Ataula and another pre-tour dinner at Lardo. We had printed notebooks provided which listed our destinations and times each day, including a map and metro stops. We could walk to the restaurant as a group or take the metro or cab.
Our destination for the first night was Suculent Casa de Menjars, in the El Raval district of the old city. We strolled down Las Ramblas and over to Suculent. They needed a little extra time to prepare the upstairs room for our group and we cooled our heels at tables in the plaza nearby. Chef Jose grabbed a notepad and took our drink orders and had them filled by a nearby bar. We had a merry time waiting for our table.
Once inside, we went on a jaunt through and up and around to a private room up under the rafters. This was a fun way to have the space to ourselves for dinner. The wine flowed freely, both cava and red wine.
The courses started coming and seemingly never stopped. In general we each got a tapa-sized portion of each, just a couple of bites.
Suculent serves contemporary Catalan tavern-style food. It is elevated by chef, Carlos Abellan, who worked at El Bulli for 15 years. His Comerç 24 in the El Born area of the old city has a Michelin star. The focus was, as typical, on the freshest ingredients. A few modernist touches went into the preparation.
Cod fish on cracker with sweet olive tapenade
Oxtail and mushroom croquette – this was one of my favorite bites.
Red shrimp with avocado
Tomato – tongue- tuna -almonds
Smoked sardines, ajo blanco, trout roe
This octopus and garbanzos combo reminded me of a dish we had for breakfast at BarCentral.
By now, we were quite ready for the desserts.
Dinner started around 7:30 pm and lasted until 11 pm. We needed the 35 minute walk back to the hotel wear off some of the food and wine. Taxis were readily available for those who wanted to ride back.