Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Spain, Morocco, London, Part 3: Scoring Some Coca

Part 1: I Eagerly Kiss Your Cheeks
Part 2: A Paella By Any Other Name...

After the paella rice, we strolled into the center of David's village, l’Estany, where the annual celebration of Catalan independence was underway. It seems, for some reason, to involve lots of drag queen karaoke performed in the civic auditorium by otherwise straight, uptight villagers (per my previous Barcelona report, when staid Catalans let their hair down it's like how in Star Trek Vulcans get totally emotional every seven years) and a profusion of the special holiday bread called "coca", eaten with a bit of llanganissa, one of the many local sausages.

Then it was back to Barcelona, where I discovered a sublime new artisanal beer bar called La Bona Pinta (The Good Pint). Tiny and intimate, the owners curate a hand-picked selection of only really good stuff. Bars boasting hundreds of beers are 95% crap (reality check: Stella Artois is like fancy-looking, smartly-marketed Schlitz). Give me a place like this, with a few dozen stellar bottles - some so rare and obscure that I couldn't stop giggling maniacally while perusing the shelves - plus three glorious tap beers. I heard about two other new beer bars (Ale & Hop and La Resitencia), but I felt way too loyal to La Bona Pinta to check them out.

I had my first-ever taste here of London's Kernal Brewery, totally unknown in America but starting to build a tremendous following in England. Also: beers from one of my all-time faves (also unknown in America), Buxton.

And, of course, some esoteric Catalan beers. I loved the Amber Pale Ale from Cerveses Almogàver and Lupulus from Montseny. Spain's not yet Italy (which is the new Belgium), but it's getting there. And, for now, the best brewing is being done in Catalonia.

I made another pilgrimage to Italian/Spanish guitarist/electrician/chef Andrea Grimaldi's mini-hacienda an hour north of Barcelona. This time, he whipped up pizzas in his handmade wood oven. Behold some of the best pizza I've ever eaten:

Squash Flowers

Tuna and Onion


For the Kids

Go to part 4


Dave said...

Those pizzas are beautiful. How was the tuna prepared?

Jim Leff said...

Not sure....I wasn't around for the prep.

Pau said...

La Bona Pinta. Great discovery! I'd like to add there's a pun implied in the name.
"Pinta" (pronounced peen-tah) translates indeed to "pint". But it has other meanings. One of them is included in the slang expression "tenir bona pinta" (literally "to have a good paint") which means "to look good " or "to have good appearance" in a first impression, like in "let's go to this place because it looks good (té bona pinta)." The reverse is also used: "mala pinta" (bad paint), like in "let's not get involved with this guy because he doesn't look good (té mala pinta)."

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