More than eight hours traveled for a forty minute journey. Jostled, shoved, line jumped and coughed on by the entire rainbow of humanity, I was quite done with the whole bloody planet.
But I was also hungry.
Famished, in fact, with an evening in a city known for food.
A long day of stale nuts, shitty coffee and ineffectual edibles meant low blood sugar and a black mood, but a soak and sleep weren’t on the menu. A late reservation at a favorite tapas bar, terminology that dishes a disservice to this spot, found us at a tall table tucked in a corner sweetly knocking knees instead of tiredly trading snark.
The sommelier was dispatched with a clear mandate: affordable Rioja with age and old-world funk, more horse’s ass than cherry wood. The server offered to just simply feed us, inquiring about preferences and sparing my oft-embarrassment of being told that, indeed and once again, in my excitement and hunger, I’d ordered too much.
A slow parade of food revived spent spirits: cockles cooked in a wood oven with sherry and onion and mopping up bread; wild mushrooms from the mountainous north dressed in nothing more than oil and chopped parsley and woodsmoke, the fungis’ natural liquor releasing and combining, a Marilyn Monroe wearing only Chanel No. 5; John Dory roasted whole in butter and wine on a bed of mandolined potato, surrounded by spring peas and asparagus and turnips, the fish’s flesh dusted with Mediterranean herb; Iberian pork cooked tender with garlic and smoked pepper and buried under a pile of wilted greens, their vivid color making me feel almost virtuous in their consumption.
We ate out of sizzling cast iron and copper, dragging bread crusts and fingers through the last dregs of flavor, the ‘95 Artadi blossoming like a dusky rose, Mrs. Robinson in a glass.
Nourished body and nurtured soul allows a fortified return to the land of the living.
But not yet.
Gawd, not yet.
There’s still herbal liqueur to be had, heady and sweet, made by monks in Spain’s arid south; tisane of mint snipped from overgrown pots; and the first of summer’s strawberries perched on porcelain flan, jiggling like a flamenco dancer’s headdress.
#spain #barcelona #tapas (at Bar Mut)