December 2, 2011

Barcelona. November, 2010

Comimos de todo. One of the Pimsleur Spanish lessons that I studied before heading back to Spain included this essential phrase for “We ate a little of everything.” Or, as was sometimes the case with us, “We ate everything, period.” Take, for example, our first lunch in Barcelona on a recent visit. We were hungry, tired from a transatlantic flight and a plane change in Madrid. We started walking and wound up, as luck would have it, at El Xampanyet in the El Born section of the city, just across the street from the Picasso Museum. Small and welcoming, this tapas bar, we found out, prides itself on the quality of its fish. Especially its marinated anchovies and sardines of all kinds, some of which are seen here. Accompanied by a plate of artichoke hearts, some potato croquetas, some ham, some was just what we wanted. And so easy, especially when the welcoming and super-friendly waitress made helpful Spanish, in English, in French. Impressed, I said to her in Spanish, “You speak so many languages.” To which she modestly replied, “Yo hablo nada.”

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