I didn’t rouse early for Day 2 of our Portland Food Adventure Barcelona tour. The plan was for us to break into two groups to have a tapas lunch at Quimet & Quimet at noon or at 1:15 pm.
Penny and I walked to Q&Q, which was in the El Poble Sec area, about a 40 minute walk from our hotel. This was the day of the La Merce Festival and many other eateries were closed. We wisely arrived at Quimet & Quimet to be first in when it opened.
Q&Q is a tiny tapas bar (as is typical for a tapas bar). It often makes top 10 lists for tapas bars in Barcelona. There are a small number of cafe tables to stand at to eat. They specialize in montadito, little open-faced sandwiches with amazing toppings, many of which use their own conservas – preserved or pickled items. My liver was going to have a lot of work to do to process all of this. They are a wine shop that specializes in vermut, different types of vermouth.
What makes this Portland Food Adventure international great is that our Chef Jose Chesa of Portland’s Ataula, a native of Barcelona, was able to order for us. That took away the intimidation factor and also ensured we got a variety of items. Left to myself, I certainly wouldn’t have ordered some of the more esoteric but delightful ones. Also, we shared plates so we could enjoy a small bite of each rather than having to just try one or two.
Here are the amazing montaditos we enjoyed:
I made my way back to the hotel and enjoyed some of the street muscians playing. Plus, the rooftop bar of the hotel had a lovely view out over the city and comfy seating.
Our dinner would also be tapas, and rather than split into two groups we were able to get seating for all of us in one go, although a few had to sit at a separate bar.
Lolita Taperia is in the upscale L’Eixample district. Owner Joan Martínez transformed a classic bar into a fun and trendy place. Several of the tapas and plates are plays on American fast food, such as hamburgers, chicken fingers and ribs.
Again, we were saved by Chef Jose Chesa ordering for us. If I had come here on my own, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the variety of dishes.
Chef Jose laments that he can’t get the same flour in the US to make the soda bread. I have to admit that while I like the bread, I want some garlic salt added to the tomato topping. Sacrilege, I know, but next time I go to Spain, I’m taking some with me.
This tuna escabeche was fantastic, and I also loved drinking up the broth from the mussels, which had a peppery punch to it that wasn’t typical for Spain.
Chef Jose always ordered “little fishies” for us. I will never be a fan, but I appreciate the love others have for them.
The eggplant with molasses was super.
Not your McDonald’s variety of chicken nuggets.
Chef Jose said you can’t get these in the US, the rabbits aren’t the right size.
The bun needed some work, it crumbled. But the steak sandwich was super.
I longingly hoped my dining companions would be too full and leave me an extra one of these.
Dinner lasted from 7 until 9:30 pm, so we were able to leave before the real Barcelona diners were ready for dinner. It was a nice walk back to the hotel. Many of our group then went out dancing, but I had a scary bout of almost fainting at Q&Q earlier in the day and I thought it wise to go to bed.