To celebrate 10 years of
blogging, here's a look back at my first post, November 2006.
We just returned from Spain. Barcelona was wonderful and the food splendid. One of our best eating experience there was a three-course tasting menu at Espai Sucre—a dessert only, sweet haute cuisine restaurant in El Born. Espai Sucre means Sugar Space. I read about it in Maribel's Guide to Barcelona www.maribelsguides.com—a tremendous resource. Incidentally, Maribel posts regularly on the Fodor's site in the talk section.
After an early (8:00-super early for Spain) light meal of tapas, at Tapas de Taller, also a Maribel recommendation (great razor clams and foie; fried artichoke shavings), we walked from the Barri Gotic to El Born (lively and energetic after 9 p.m.) and the restaurant. A strange little place, they keep the door locked and peer out at you when you ring the bell. It's a bit off-putting, but after making very sure that you understand there is only dessert and you must choose between a three-course or five-course menu, you are invited inside to the very small space—about 8 tables. No menu is posted outside the restaurant, which one would think might help cull out the people not interested in dessert only. We didn't have a reservation but it was mid-week and October; at another time of year, because of the limited space, I'd recommend you reserve. I'd also recommend having a snack only at 5 or 6 and the dessert menu at 9:00, when they open.
The night we were there, 5 tables were occupied. We ordered a couple of glasses of wine—sherry for Richard and a Berenauslese for myself. Our server, a young woman, was very knowledgeable about the wine list and helpful with our choices. The chef, Jordi Butron, we read, teaches pastry classes in the restaurant by day. Far from the sweetness you might expect, the desserts were extremely thoughtful combinations of flavor, leaning to the not-so-sweet rather than the usual dessert flavors. The dessert plates were all beautiful, both the plate and contents; each a brilliant composition in looks and stunning taste combinations—there were foams, freeze dried ice cream, tomato ice cream, olive oil cake, eucalyptus to name only a few. We had a soup of lichee and one of cold tea laced with celery and apple flavors. The final presentation was on a metal serving piece shaped like a "Z" and upon which sat petit fours—about 10 pieces, all of which were both beautiful and delicious. The photo above is from Beavers Barcelona page and shows the brilliant combination of raspberry, hibiscus, rose, tomato and red wine flavors.
While our server was reasonably competent in English, some of the nuance, that is probably pointed out in Spanish, was missing from her descriptions and instructions. Regardless, we thought it was a most unusual and pleasant experience.
Across the street from the restaurant, someone or group of people live in an apartment above the building. We could see something like a lava lamp glowing in the windows and from time to time someone in his boxer shorts came out on the balcony, scratched his ass and smoked a cigarette, peering down into the restaurant. As the service in the place is very refined, it was an amusing juxtaposition of styles. We live in the country and can't even see our neighbors and for us, a peek at urban living and shoulder-to-shoulder layering of lifestyles is what makes city breaks interesting and stimulating for us. They are also what make us very glad after a while to come home to the quiet and privacy of the grove. As I write this a hawk just flew by the window to perch on the corner of the roof.