Flax and Kale

This place was so good, it deserves its own post.

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Now like most millennials I love brunch and as the current trend is to enjoy a delicious but healthy brunch with friends, who am I to go against the flow?

Priding its self in healthy, flexitarian food (yes, I know, I think they are just inventing diets now) Flax and Kale is one of Barcelona’s best restaurants.  Their motto: eat better, be happier, live longer.  Who wouldn’t want to try this?

 

 

 

The restaurant itself is beautiful and we were lucky enough to find a table on the terrace with a view over the square.  Sat at wrought iron tables with trellaces all around and a bottle of cava I can’t think of any better way to start the day.

The food was stunning: presented beautifully and absolutely delicious, what more could you ask for?

 

If anyone is looking for a spot of brunch in Barcelona then I cannot recommend this enough.

Top tips:

  1. Due to its high popularity it is normal to queue so I would advise you to go early unless you want to wait 30 minutes for a table
  2. Try the paleo bread.

BCN Again

Back in Barcelona. Well, sort of.

We flew from Leeds this time as it seemed easier but as I was partially responsible for booking the flights we obviously flew to Gerona instead.. oops.

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The flight itself was an eventful one and never one for the quiet life I ended up being responsible for a medical emergency mid-flight.  As a result, and on my say so, we diverted to Paris for an emergency landing.  Needless to say, I’m not sure I have EVER been under as much pressure.  So, when finally arriving in Barcelona itself (by bus), we were in dire need of a drink!

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We settled at a bar in the sunshine outside the Born Cultural Centre, near to our friends apartment.  There we enjoyed a couple of beers whilst recounting the journeys excitement and waited for our friend to finish work, ready to greet her with a pretty bouquet from the beautiful almond flowers.

Now, Barcelona is one of the worlds most notorious cities for pick-pocketing.  Having learnt my lesson previously when I had my entire suitcase stolen, passport included (even though it was right next to me!) this time Katie and I were taking no chances.  As a result, ribbon is now an essential item in our hand-luggage.

Spanish tip:  ‘mi maleta es robada’  will come in handy if this ever happens to you and you find yourself at the Barcelona Police Station!

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Barcelona is the most beautiful city and we were fortunate enough to have the first real sunshine of the year.

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My friend Millie, being a local, took us to some of her favourite places which was great, as we didn’t have to plan anything at all and dined like royalty all weekend.

The first night we ate at Costa Pacifico, an amazing Mexican restaurant in Born.  It’s a fun, lively place, in fact so much so that during our supper we got talking to some locals who joined us for the rest of the meal.  The fish tacos were to die for, although we perhaps over indulged on the Margaritas a little!

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I did try to get some pictures of our food, but by the time I got my phone out most of the meal was gone.  Something I learnt as school is when eating with my friends, there is no time to waste on things like photography or you miss out on dinner!

So you’ll have to take my word for it.  The food was delicious, especially if you, like us, are partial to cerviche.

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We spent the weekend catching up and whiled away our days walking the streets of Barcelona…

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enjoying the beach,

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shopping,

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and hopping between tapas bars enjoying wine and incredible local food.

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Not to mention the essential aperol spritz or two.

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Now for any foodies out there like us who enjoy tapas Carrer de Blai is the perfect place for you! It is an entire street filled with endless eateries offering cheap pixtinos to eat at leisure.  Just grab a seat, order some tapas and when you’re done, move on down about twenty metres and repeat the whole process again!

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Obviously how much you spend will depend on how much you eat. With these girls the last time we were let loose on pix in Notting Hill we managed to devour £50 worth of tapas each!! It was delicious and by the end of our meal they had started bringing the food directly to our table instead of just laying it straight on the bar, however thankfully we did not consume quiet that much this time!

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Finally, a must do is Palo Alto Market on a sunny day.  It is a street style market in Poblenou selling anything and everything hipster and runs the first weekend of every month.

From local arts and crafts, to food, drink and live music, it’s only 4 euros to enter and definitely money well spent!  Set amongst beautiful, old, tree lined walls it’s the perfect place to sip away the afternoon like a real Catalonian.

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To round up I’m going to give you my two favourite restaurants we ate at during our stay.  The first was Llamber opposite the Born cultural centre and luckily right by Millie’s apartment.

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The food was beautifully presented and wonderfully fresh.  Naturally, we had a little of everything, including more cerviche.  Although delicious as this was, we ended lunching here following the previous nights escapades at Jamboree in Placa Reial and one of our party might have felt a little too ropey to enjoy this to the full!

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The other place I highly recommend, for those of you that are tapas-ed out, is koku kitchenIt is a Japanese restaurant in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, specialising in Ramen and buns.

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We ate upstairs in the bun restaurant and feasted on steamed buns, served in bamboo.  They came with a variety of delicious fillings including grilled pork and duck.  Not to mention, no meal would ever be complete without some sides of edamame, tempura prawns and a selection of dumplings.

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As always, I think we managed to cram as much as humanly possible into our long weekend (including a little life saving!) and I can’t wait to be back again soon!

Cursa de Bombers: Firemans Run 2017

Since 1999 the Bombers de Barcelona (Firemen to you and me) have been running an annual 10km around the city and this year we joined them.

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Picking our kit up the day before from the Olympic stadium atop the beautiful Montjuic, we were treated to magnificent views of the city we would soon be running around. Having left it too late to register, I was luckily allowed to sign up that evening otherwise the three of us had been planning ways for me to jump the barriers and join mid-race. Thankfully we did not have to resort to this.

The morning of the race, we watched everyone arrive and leisurely joined the start line which was luckily within minutes from where we were straying.  The atmosphere was fantastic; a sea of neon orange and dance music awaited as we took our places.  I was a little apprehensive as it had been a little while since I had done any exercise at all and I was relying on my basic level of fitness to carry me through.

We made good time in around 55 minutes in mid twenties heat but in retrospect I should have perhaps done a practice run as when I finished I was the same colour as my t-shirt and my muscles remained in agony for the following week.  Millie and Katie sweetly went at my pace… but I could tell they found it a lot easier than myself and could have gone much faster. Cheers guys!

We were absolutely amazed that as difficult as we found it in the heat, the local firemen not only completed it in full firemans gear, they beat us and had enough energy left for a fireman’s lift! Impressed is an understatement… I think I need to find myself a Spanish fireman.

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BAR-celona

What a weekend!  Barcelona is quickly becoming one of my favorite cities.  I am lucky enough that one of my best friends has recently moved to this incredible place and this weekend I went with two friends to visit her.

This was the perfect girls weekend, mainly floating between bars and restaurants… the ideal itinerary for a winter get away.

DAY 1

Due to last minute flights and expense we started early and drove to Manchester at 5am on the Friday, touching down to meet our friend flying from London late morning.

Arriving in Born, central Barcelona we met our friend Millie and made ourselves at home in her beautiful apartment before setting off for lunch.

SANTA CATERINA MARKET Lunching in a little street side restaurant outside the markets we enjoyed our first tapas and of course our first beer, Estrella (like a local).

After a walk around the markets we were en-route back to the apartment when happy hour happened…or should I say hours.

LA BONA SORT This place was so cute, copper barrells above the bar and plants lining the wall we were sat against.  A few mojitos and caipiroskas later we giggled our way back to the apartment.

As Millie arrived back from work, we greeted her merrily with a feast of manchego cheese, fresh bread, serrano ham and cava.  Unfortunately the cheese was rather plasticy and the ham (which we bought as scraps) was rather disgusting! At least the thought was there.

fullsizerender5That evening we settled down to a table outside Santa Maria dal Mar and enjoyed a feast of tapas as our overly flirtatious waiter poured our wine in a sensual manner.

EL PARADISO was our next stop that evening.  Popular with locals and fullsizerender6tourists alike this is a Spanish speak-easy with entry accessed through a fridge.  The other side is a den of extravagant cocktails, with a buzzing atmosphere and old school charm.

It gets busy so be prepared to queue.

DAY 2

PICNIC  What is a girly weekend without a delicious brunch? Picnic is rated as one of the best bunch venues in town, and luckily for us it was just around the corner.

We were tactfully positioned alongside the kitchen and everything looked so delicious.  Even the classic eggs Benedict was a fusion of English and Spanish with traditional English muffins and giant cous cous. My recommendation which you cannot go to picnic and not try is the quinoa hashbrown… absolutely delicious and unlike anything you would experience with an English breakfast.

Following on from brunch we headed to the touristy area near Gothic to explore the Cathedral and les Rambles on our way to la Boqueria.

LA BOQUERIA MERKET is one of my favorite places to visit in Barcelona.  With origins as early as 1200, similar to London’s Borough market, but which I consider far superior, la Boqueria is a must visit for any tourist.  The range of food on offer is unbeatable.  Stores displaying the most incredible produce from fresh fruit and veg, juices and smoothies, to meat and cheese stores, tapas eateries and fishmongers lined with oysters.

From the Mercat we made our way up past Plaza Catalunya, past Casa Batllo and to Sagrada Familia.  I visited Barcelona in summer but waited to go inside until now and it was certainly worth the wait.  If churches were built to display the Glory of God, I think this is as close as they come.  The scale of the build and the mesmerising light is breathtaking.  I defy anyone to not be impressed.

Naturally, following a little culture our next stop was another bar.

BOCA GRANDE Next to the Boca Grande restaurant, up some stairs is Boca Chica.  I love this bar.  A gem in the heart of Barcelona, it reminds me of Raffles Long Bar in Singapore (home of the Singapore Sling), but if anything, even more extravagant.

Be warned prices are dear to say the least, we nearly played card roulette for a laugh but thankfully decided against it.  The cheeseboard although delicious was hilariously small and only dampened our appetites a little before dinner.

CAN CISA was our final stop that evening, a little wine bar and restaurant in El Born specialising in organic wines.  The waiters were fantastic and keen to recommend wine pairings for food or anything to suit your table.fullsizerender10

We were seated at a long wooden table and enjoyed dish after dish of the most delicious tapas; whiling our night away the Spanish way, enjoying good food, good wine and good company.  Following a lovely sweet desert wine which could not have been more beautifully matched with the lemon tart (credit to the sommelier for an excellent choice) we made our way home through the bustling Catalan streets.

DAY 3

ORIGINAL’S BAKERY was our choice of breakfast on Sunday.  We picked up some delicious fresh croissants and headed to Ciutadella Parc for a picnic style breakfast.  Stopping en-route to pick up coffee and churros.

We settled down on a bench near the fountain, perfect for people (and dog) watching…… I think we’re all a little obsessed with dogs.  The bandstand opposite had some live music playing and the locals dancing along; the perfect lazy Sunday morning.

fullsizerender9Later in the day we sat at a table in Placa Reial for an afternoon beer before a tapas crawl home.  This involved stopping in multiple places on our way back for a tapas dish and drinks… what could be better?

Sadly Sunday evening came too quickly and we made our way to the airport and back home. Only just making it back on an empty petrol tank.