The first thing I have to say is the internet is so slow. I don't know if I'll be able to post pictures, but I'm going to try.
We had our first tour on our first evening. It was a 4 hour walking tapas tour. Our guide met us in the lobby of our hotel. She walked us around and gave us a brief history of Barcelona.
After our tour, Veronica took us to a traditional tapas place that has been in business in the same location with the same equipment since the 1920's. The old "ice box" was amazing and huge! She told us the history of tapas. The word tapas means "to cover." It started when people would come for a drink. The establishment would provide a small plate of something---complimentary---to put something on the stomach---or cover the stomach.
I understand that now. But I haven't really been all that receptive to "small plates" in Nashville. What it means to me is little food for big price. Somewhere I missed the part where you are supposed to order many small plates and then share them. It adds up pretty fast.
We let Veronica do all of the ordering for us. I forgot to take pictures at the first place, but this is what we had:
1. Russian salad (tuna salad, peas, carrots and potatoes mixed together with mayonnaise)--excellent.
2. Tomato bread (I thought this was just so so)---this is something served at all the tapas places because it is so popular. I didn't really get it.
3. Anchovies---good, but I'm used to them ON something (salad or pizza)---didn't love them by themselves.
4. Croquettes---some sort of meat. Didn't know what it was, but it was good.
5. Ham---this looked terrible, but was really delicious.
6. Special cheese---that is so hard to get only the restaurants have it. Very good.
One thing about tapas is that you are meant to use your fingers and dip your fork/spoon into the same dish. Now I don't have a problem with that when it comes to family or close friends, but we had just met Veronica. Sorry, a little too friendly for me.
The next place we went to was a contemporary tapas restaurant. I would refer to it as a gourmet place. Most of the dishes contained a lot of unusual combinations of ingredients mixed together.
Another thing she told us is that it is considered rude to leave anything on the plate. Considering we had already eaten at one place, we were pretty full. Everybody did their part---and Butch had to pick up my share of the liver dishes. This was tough on him. We're worried that this may have been his entire food allotment for the week! We joke about it all the time. If he has a big meal, he doesn't want to eat for 3 days.
Today we had a fabulous tour that included Gaudi's Sagrada Familia---an amazing church that has been under construction for 130 years. More on that later. When the tour was over, we had the driver "Drop us for tapas!"
After our experience last night, we decided to try tapas on our own. We had our driver drop us for tapas! This is what we ordered today:
So the verdict on tapas is---it's a fun way to eat and get a chance to try many different things. You have to be adventurous and open to unique food combinations---even if they don't sound good. Here in Barcelona, it's fairly inexpensive. Our lunch which included 3 beers and a diet Coke was about $10 per person. I would have ordered one more thing, but what we had was enough.
The only bad thing---they don't have dessert tapas. Seems to me that someone should invent it. Who wouldn't love a little dab of this dessert and that?
Mindy says she doesn't like tapas because if she likes something she wants the whole thing for herself. I get that too. But when you've never been to a place, if you only picked one, you might get a "bummer." This way, you get to try so many. I just don't understand how restaurants can really keep up with so many things---there had to be a hundred different things on the menus. I guess they know what they are doing.
Okay, the posts are probably going to be few and far between. It has taken me two and a half hours to write this one and upload the photos. Incredibly slow internet!! Luckily I needed to rest my feet and prepare for the 4 hour walking tour tomorrow!