Last night we had about the best tapas dinner ever. In was in a little restaurant on the Plaça del Pi which is one of three plazas that are right outside our front door, centered around the 15th century church, Església de Santa Maria de Pi. This restaurant is called Taller de Tapas and it’s one of six stores here in the Barri Gòtic. We wanted to sit outside but there were no tables so we went inside and chose a couple of seats at the bar. I’m actually starting to like bar eating, or perhaps I’m remembering that l like bar eating since I’m reminded now that my dad used to take me to a neighborhood joint in Rochester called Lyman’s for a bar hamburger and a lot of time spent on an old coin operated bowling machine. Dad would sit there and jaw with the locals, I’d bowl pins with a heavy metal puck, dusting the lane between throws with genuine sawdust. I suspect that today’s modern bowling apps lack the sweet cedar smell I got every time I played.
As I said, dinner was spectacular. A pair of decent wines (which for some reason here have much more flavor than what we had in Paris,) Patatas Braves- big steak-fry slices of grilled potatoes smothered in mayonnaise and sweet pepper sauce- Bunyols de Bacallà, two large chunks of breaded and deep fried salt cod, and the crowning dish, Llom de toninya amb planxa, three pieces of half-rare tuna grilled and served with bits of avocado and basil. Just wonderful, and we told the manager we’d be back.
Earlier, we’d purchased tickets for a flamenca guitar concert in the chapel of the church. So we got in line around 9:10 for the 9:30 show, being lucky enough to get a spot where we could sit on a 15thcentury window sill, offered up by some talented stone mason from so long ago. We entered on time and grabbed a couple of seats in the third row. The artist, Pedro Javier Gonzalez, came out, and after a brief introduction gave us a wonderful show. Eleven pieces, some classics, some modern, some self-composed. Very moving, particularly in lieu of the setting. We bought a couple of his CDs on the way out and he graciously signed them for us. I asked if he was aware of Hector Pimentel, New Mexico’s premier guitar maker, but he was not. He told us his guitar had been crafted by a Californian.
So there is was, our first full day in this wonderful city, MLW’s birthday, a walk through the centuries, and the day ended with some excellent food and marvelous music.