As you all know PeanutPimpMama has been on a European-Extravaganza recently. It came to a sad ending a week and a half ago when I landed in JFK with a heavy heart but a whole darn slew of new adventures and funny times to write about. This trip was extra special since it marked the 10 year anniversary of PPM’s first move overseas to study at IPAG in Nice, France. Oh the adventures that have unfolded since! IPAG reunion planning turned into an amazing trip choc full o’ birthday celebrations and revisiting old stomping grounds that are ever-so-layered with precious memories and more nostalgia than words can express. A decade later and I can still say that Nice has my heart. #ThatRivieraTho
(Pictured Above: Ralph at Casa di Ip – Home for a night)
With a good friend having just relocated to Barcelona, it seemed like an opportune time for a stopover and some quality beaching with the city’s newest resident. Funny that our host decided to return home to the U.S. upon our arrival to sort out visas etc. leaving us minus a tour-guide and plus a set of house keys. He wasn’t the only thing that went missing that first day… The mystery of the runaway suitcase began.
With stress levels on the rise (and no clothies for my friend), we spent the greater part of the afternoon arguing with Royal Air Maroc. (PPM Note: Do not fly Royal Air Maroc under any circumstances EVER.) Her lost case called for an impromptu shopping and styling session on Las Ramblas. This bittersweet success had to end with a celebratory meal. With two restaurants on my hit-list for our big day in Barca, El Nacional was our next stop.
The concept reminded me of a Spanish version of Eataly with multiple dining concepts existing under one roof. It seemed intriguing and worst case scenario, a great place for a cocktail and a light nosh. When you enter the restaurant you’re greeted by a rather large display of random plants stacked on shelving for your enjoyment. (Seriously random). Of course my initial thought was, “Pretty…Can I eat these?”
We took a lap around to avoid making hasty decisions. The Cocktail Bar was alluring but sans bartender which was probably for the better.
After a gander we settled on LA LLOTJA which prides itself on a concept where one purchases their fresh fish by weight then selects from five different preparation options including; baked, charcoal-grilled, steamed, fried or cooked on the griddle. That was way too much to think about for a late afternoon visit, so we decided to stick with smaller sea creatures in the end. In case anyone is against the aquatic life, you’re probably in the wrong corner of El Nacional but there are a couple meat items to keep you occupied.
Light seafood-bites are exactly what happened alongside a couple of nice glasses of Cava juuuuuuust to get the edge off. The foodies had: (6) Mediterranean Oysters at 3,50 €/each, Steamed mussels with fresh herbs for 12,00 €, and of course the Bread with virgin oil, salt and fresh herbs for 2,75 €. We needed that crusty-goodness to sop up all of the herbal-mussel delisch! (PPM Note: Larger and deeper than your average oyster, these magical shellfish had flavors of the sea progressing towards a slightly fruity and creamy finish. Amazing.) Lucky for us the Cava (Juvé y Camps, Macabeo, Parellada) was only 4,75 €. We had two rounds served back to back to put the fire out. I would love to see this place during more appropriate meal times since it must be jumping! With four restaurants and four bars to choose from you could stay here for a while.
Thankfully that Euro is at a favorable exchange rate…I’ll cheers to that!
For More Information: www.elnacionalbcn.com
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