Barcelona beckons


I would have been glad to just sit at a sidewalk cafe somewhere, people watch and feel the sun on my face. We escaped Paris for a few days to take in some sun and Barcelona did not disappoint. Did the tourist thing yesterday, the Barcelona Bus Turistic, Part 1.
Has early drinks at a lounge bar called Zahara near the Marina where we got a recommendation for Kharma, which was fantastic.
Loving the feel of the sun, and enjoying friendly Spanish hospitality- Mission: Savour Catalan Cuisine before we leave.

Zahara Lounge Bar, Barcelona

Friday night was our night of discovery. After our day out doing the tourist thing on the Bus Turistic, we had sundowners at Zahara– a lounge bar on the waterfront- not the glossy side, more the worn, weathered and less touristy. Had well-made mojitos, wine and listened to lounge music. I’ve said before that cocktails, sun and lounge music are the perfect chill out combination for me. Ola Barcelona!

Wishing you happy holidays!

Merry Xmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah…whatever it is that brings you together with your loved ones this time of the year. Do celebrate it well and hope it’s a great one!

For us it will be a crispy one. Gave up a sunny, braai-filled, golf-playing South African summer this year for a chilly, vin chaud-fuelled, chestnut-roasting European winter. I do love the lighting and gaiety that comes with it all though.

Joyeux Noël!

Books: THE THING AROUND YOUR NECK by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Title: The Thing Around Your Neck
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Published: 2009
Genre: Fiction

I read this book in two days…I do enjoy short stories at times, it makes the progress faster and there is always the next story to look forward to if you are not particularly engrossed by one story. I first read Purple Hibiscus three years ago and fell in love with Adichie’s writing. The Thing Around Your Neck is a collection of stories previously published in various publications. It tells of immigrant Nigerians, professionals, students, wives carving their way in the land of opportunity, America.

Feeling culinary

Yesterday I made  gravlax, a salad with a balsamic vinaigrette, magret de canard with honey and balsamic vinegar and dark chocolate fondant with chestnut cream for lunch. It was fantastic.
Yes, with a bit (ok, a whole lot) of help of course.
Spent the morning in a cooking class with some wonderful people, working through a simple yet ultimately delicious menu. Thanks Valerie for organising!
Learnt the value of using fresh ingredients with minimum spices for great taste.

Gastronomy in Bastille, Paris

A month ago, before the chill started creeping in we tried Le Bastille, right opposite Place de la Bastille in the 4th. A pleasant surprise all round as it was the first restaurant we sat down at. The fact that it’s right in front of the vibrant, popular and touristy square, I had half expected it to be over-priced and mediocre.

The one where I’m a tourist

The nonchalance of the French is the image I have been going for for the last three months. I’m not entirely sure why, I just know that I did not want to look like a tourist. The accent when I speak still comes across as obviously foreign so my best bet was not looking like one- mind you with the camera I’m always lugging around, not sure I was succeeding at all.

Books: THE TIGER’S WIFE by Téa Obreht

Title: The Tiger’s Wife
Author: Téa Obreht
Published: 2011
Genre: Fiction

In the Tiger’s Wife, Téa Obreht retells the story of a tiger that escapes from a zoo during the Balkans war. Told through the protagonist, Natalia the story is both allegorical and entertaining enough. The sudden and strange circumstances surrounding the news of her grandfather’s death, a medical doctor like herself, leave Natalia following the path her grandfather may have taken in the latter days of his life as a way to try and uncover answers to the mystery around his death.