Because of the overly packed day with La Merce events yesterday, we took it easy today and only made a couple of short trips to the playground and the grocery store. Since schools started a few weeks ago, the playground was deserted when we arrived. Around 5:30, all the kids showed up. It's so cute how much time some of the local children spend here, zooming around on their scooters and little balance motorcycles :)
Since we had a light day, I have decided to write about a few delicious places in the Gothic Quarter we have been to lately that I have left out of previous blog posts.
Best Vegetarian Food: Vegetalia
We were told by a few people who live(d) in Barcelona to make sure we go to the Vegetarian Mecca, the George Orwell square, and eat at Vegetalia. The food here is really delicious. I also loved the staff and the atmosphere.
I was really craving food from the Cinnamon Snail, a vegan food truck in New York City. This was delicious and really hit the spot. The kids also enjoyed their miso soup and four cheese pizza.
Best Ice Cream: Vioko
This was a coincidental find by my sister and brother-in-law while they were here. They went and raved about it and told us to make sure we pay it a visit. Later, when I searched for it I found it on a "Secrets of Barcelona" page.
Apparently, at first they only had one store in the Barceloneta neighborhood, but now there is a second store right across from Santa Maria del Mar in the Gothic Quarter.
Not only do they have a very slick and modern design inside the shop, displaying their delicious treats behind cases like jewelry, they also have a delicious variety of ice cream. But it doesn't end there, they also have colorful and delicious macarons as well as fruit and chocolate filled balls. We tried the strawberry, tres leches, and the cointreau balls. Yum!
Best Churros: Granja Dulcinea
During our walking tour of Barcelona's Gothic Quarter, our guide made a point to mention as we were passing Granja Dulcinea that they have the best churros in Barcelona. After our own visit, I'd have to agree, at least based on our somewhat limited experience! The churros were delicious and not greasy at all. That cup of chocolate you see in the picture is actually drinking chocolate, which we primarily used to dip our churros and melindros in.
Apparently, in the 1500s Hernan Cortes brought a few chocolate beans to Spain from South America. The King at that time was quickly seduced by this thick, syrupy, and frothy drink. He set about increasing the cacao production in New Spain to create a more lucrative commerce. At that time people were drinking 3-4 cups of chocolate a day. By the 17th century, chocolate was enormously appreciated amongst the Spanish aristocracy and clergy.
Ever since then, drinking chocolate has remained popular and can be found in many restaurants and cafes.
Yum Yum Yum for all the deliciousness in the Gothic Quarter!