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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Our Barcelona Staycation

Well, we're all in the process of getting vaccinated and hoping to get back to travel by the end of the year, but that doesn't mean we're quitting our staycations. In fact, I had a thought that we might continue to do these (just fewer) even after we get back to normal. Our most recent Destination Date Night took us to Barcelona and a meal full of tapas.

Our most recent Destination Date Night took us to Barcelona and a meal full of tapas, visited a museum, and saw a castle.

Usually I like to find something familiar and something that might be a little unique. While it's not always possible, I was able to do Barcelona a tad different than our other destination dates. 

Did you know Spain is full of castles? There are a few near Barcelona. This one came up as one of them, but I'm fairly sure it's just similar to Castellet, the Castle of the Three Dragons, and even the abandoned Salvanna Tower. Either way, I liked the vibe and hillside, and you can't beat a castle, especially if you don't really have to leave the city to visit.

When I think of Spain, I think of stucco, creative art, lavender, pottery. I found these super cute and interesting succulent pots with faces that gave me the feeling of most of those and added some lavender "hair" to really push it. This was easy, and I can reuse this lavender for plenty of other things, including the Deathly Hallows wreath on my door that I change out each season (and have already put this on). I added a turquoise tablecloth to match our backdrop and we were good to go.

If you Google anything Barcelona, you get this intersection, so clearly this is a must-see when visiting. Since we can't actually visit right now, we can still feel like we're there, and we did! 

Here's an unobstructed castle view for you, along with a portion of our "art gallery". 

Tapas may mean "small plates", but I put them together on one large platter, because I thought it was fun and a great way to present all of our different options. I found a new-to-us Spanish restaurant across town that had a pretty large tapas and paella menu. I asked Eric if he was up for paella, but since we'd just done New Orleans with a bunch of rice, he opted for the tapas route, which I will never say no to, because I love variety. I also stopped at the store earlier in the week and picked up olives (I've never not seen them on a Spanish table), some Spanish goat cheese, and quince jam from Spain. I highly recommend all of it.

As for what I ordered from the restaurant, I got a little bit of everything. Let's go clockwise: Grilled Catalan bread, Patatas Bravas (fried potatoes with Bravas sauce made with smoked paprika), Pimientos Shishito (charred shishito peppers with citrus salt), Albondigas (pork & beef meatballs in red pepper tomato sauce), Croquetas de Pernil Iberico (ham croquettes), and Tortilla de Patatas (pretty much an omelet with onions and potatoes inside). 

Here's that Tortilla after we sliced into it. I thought it was really delicious and would also make a wonderful breakfast. I always remind myself that not everything is going to taste the same as if we were actually in Spain, because 1-you can't always get the exact same ingredients, and 2-it's made for Americans, so most dishes aren't 100% authentic. Either way, I thought most of these things were awesome and I would totally go back and order them again, though there is more on the menu I'm interested in trying, so you might see a Madrid post in the future. 

While we ate, we took a walking tour of the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona and watched some flamenco dancing in the square, both of which would be things we would normally do on vacation.

I decided if they were going to allow mixed rink take-out, I was going to indulge. I ordered this drink called the Senior-Ito, claiming to be a perfect winter drink. I don't know about that, and I'm not sure it tasted like any of the ingredients that went into it (vodka, Earl grey, allspice), but I super enjoyed it. It wasn't overly sweet or tart. It was just a chill beverage to drink, and it came in the cutest plastic bag flask for commuting.

After eating, during dessert, I took Eric to a museum of Picassos. There were only 8 paintings (which were postcards that I  put on cardstock inside photo booth frames that will be reused later). I tried to choose a good variety of paintings from his career to make it interesting. I used my laptop stand to showcase them, since that's what I had. If you see the little square at the bottom, that's a binder clip to keep it from sliding off. He thought this was creative, so I felt like I did my job. 

Let's talk about how dessert didn't go as planned. I could have picked up cheesecake, since that seems to be a thing in Spain, but I decided that was too easy. The restaurant didn't have desserts that were to-go. Every grocery store here has churros, until I wanted to get some, then nobody had churros. I decided to make a custard brulee, because we both hate flan, and it went really well, until I put it under the broiler to caramelize the sugar. One minute it was raw, the next it was black, so I made one a last ditch effort by splitting a Mexican concha pastry in half, filling it with whipped cream, and then spooning some of the custard (that was now decidedly not set) over it. While not authentic in any way, and a whole different country, it was still pretty good and not the worst thing to look at. 

Are you looking to have your own Barcelona staycation? This was simple to throw together and you can dress it up or down, depending on how you want to do it.

There you go. Make a variety of foods and pop a bottle of Spanish wine, or order from your local Spanish restaurant for take-out or delivery, learn a few Spanish words, and take a virtual tour of the city or church, or do an in-depth art critique in your at-home museum. There's so many ways to make each staycation unique and fun, even if you've been doing them twice a month for the last 8+ months. 

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I may be compensated should you choose to make any purchases through them. This allows me to keep this blog running for you. Thanks in advance!

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