05.11.2011 by Andrea
Prior to arriving in Barcelona I had mentally hatched a new snacking section in my eating repertoire. Partially inspired by the creativity of the Taco Bell commercial and more significantly my ravenous appetite after hitting the dance floor with my friends and going into a state of caloric depletion. Introducing: late night munchies. There is no better place to start the tour of late night eateries than Barcelona because I’m sure my post dinner finds surpassed my daytime grazing.
I had originally planned to conclude my trip in Barcelona and hadn’t really considered anywhere in Spain beyond that. My friend E had already visited Barcelona so he suggested Madrid, I countered with Portugal and somehow ended up booking dirt cheap flights to Barcelona and Madrid.
After taking an evening flight over from Rome, and encountering a very easy bus ride to the center of the city I arrived at the hostel feeling hungry. I certainly wasn’t being fussy but also knew that if I was going to keep up with E and his friends [one lives in Barcelona and one was visiting from Germany] then I was going to need some fuel. A late night cappuccino was a good start. I played it safe and ordered a croissant at the cafe we went too. Instant regret when I saw what E ordered. A coconut pastry, that he even noted was probably over 12 hours old, was so good I had to refrain from inhaling it and remind myself that I hadn’t ordered it. Thank goodness a return was on our agenda for the next night so that I could sample more than a couple bites.
We toured the Barcelona nightlife scene and then when we were ambling back to our hostel I began the hunt for my late night snack. I wasn’t so much looking at the street vendors as viable options. E was game for whomever approached him and had already had two or three purchases in his belly before we hit the jackpot of the night. We spied a man carrying a box wrapped in a plastic grocery bag that contained several foil wrapped creations. A quick head nod from the owner was enough indication that whatever this mystery item was we should sample it. I was hesitant and waited as E unwrapped this steaming wrap. One word was uttered from the man selling them: “kebab.” E just gave a nod of approval and I was in. Great call. Two blocks later as I was getting closer to my bed I was also regretting that Kebab Man was two blocks away in the opposite direction and I hadn’t bought two. Waiting just increases desire and I certainly made sure to get one the following evening after getting caught in a bone chilling monsoon like rainstorm.
The next day it was slightly overcast so we headed to a coffee shop to forecast the stops for the day. Fresh OJ and a pancetta and queso breakfast sandwich warmed me up and got me ready to swing by Gaudi’s unfinished church and then out to the FC Barcelona stadium. Camp NOU was amazing. A great tour of a club entrenched in football history. I can’t wait to see a match live there. Luckily my olfactory senses were on high alert and after smelling freshly popped popcorn we realized that there was a FC Barcelona handball qualifying match going on in the basketball arena. We grabbed some Indian food and then hopped over to the game. The crowd was so raucous that I can only imagine that with a few hundred people making that much noise what 98,000 roaring sounds like next door.
All in all a great introduction to Spain. Next stop: Madrid. We hit the culinary hotspot there.
See you at the next bite. cheers.