Monday, October 12, 2015

Brunchin' Barcelona: Fabulous Eats at Federal Cafe & Onna Cafe

I've said it often enough - there are three things I miss about Canada - people, brunch and banks (and other paperwork related endeavours). Well, it turns out there is decent brunch in Barcelona, although a bit pricey and hard to find.  Remember when I went to Brunch & Cake near the University? I just had the cake, but the brunch did look delicious - just a bit out of my budget that day!

Onna Cafe, Gracia, Barcelona
This long weekend I was lucky enough to hang out with two great friends I met in Spanish class last year -- Anna and I had brunch at Federal Cafe on Saturday. It's a cute cafe named after a town in Australia, and serves delectable brunch. I had poached eggs on thin toasts with spinach and halloumi cheese and Anna had a burger with potato mash---yum!  I could not for the life of me figure out how to ask for my eggs to be poached HARD in Spanish!!! They thought I meant hard-boiled eggs and they don't serve those. Vocabulary help, anyone?! I don't like runny eggs!

After more than two months of both being too busy to hang out, Anna and I met up and chatted over brunch and lattees  (very un-Spanish, I must say). Sometimes you have to take a few moments to embrace the expat culture of a city you live in, and indulge in a little bit of your own country's culture, too!

This morning,  Olivia and I had a lovely cup of coffee at Onna Cafe in Gracia (they roast their own beans!!!). I had mine with almond milk and she had hers with oat milk. It's a cute, uncrowded little cafe with wooden stools and tables and fresh, aqua coloured booths. Their brunch selection is basically a sandwich or banana bread, but the coffee is DIVINE  (and it's only 3.50 for the coffee and sandwich deal!) I will definitely be back here!

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Barcelona's Jazz & Food Festival: Stereotypically Spanish Disorganization or Where NOT to go in Barcelona

Jazz & Food Poblenou 2015In general I love Barcelona and my life here, but I do have to have an honest, not-so-happy-go-lucky post once in a while. Marina, her sister Elisa and their friends and I decided to check out the Jazz & Food Festival in Poblenou on Saturday night. It's a 12 hour festival finishing at midnight, and we arrived around 8:30 pm to a disorganized disaster. (They claim that this is the last and "best" day of the Voll-Damm week long festival).

1) There was NO JAZZ.  Spain, I understand that you tend to stick to the unfortunate stereotype that the country is disorganized and inefficient, but seriously?!  They were playing "gypsy music" --Marina and I are not sure if this is at all the politically correct term, but that's what was displayed on the giant projector screens. Basically it was eclectic, sometimes off-tune and genre-less. 

2) There was NO FOOD.  That's right, they ran out of food. Remember, Spanish people eat at 10pm, so expecting food at 8:30 is not unreasonable. Not only did they run out, they continued to sell "tokens" and did not put any sort of sign up that they were sold-out. Marina and I were lucky enough to find out because we tried to ask for vegetarian food. The other people were queueing for a long time.  Even if we had gotten food, it was about three times the price it normally should have been.

Except for the Ramen stand, where you had to pay 5 euros for a bowl of ramen, but queue until you could get a seat. There was enough seating for SEVEN people. Yup.

3) There was NOWHERE TO QUEUE.  This is very Spanish anyway (think: the metro), but really - you had no idea which line was for what. 

4) There were NO RETURNS ON TOKENS.  That's right, we're out of food, but you can't return the tokens (minimum 10 euro spend to even BUY a token).  We ended up in a queue of tens of people complaining that they want to return the tokens they had bought minutes before. The lady at the desk answered in Catalan and basically said the only way to get your money back would be to either spend it all on drinks, or write a letter to the organizers and ask for the money. Ha. Like that would even work in Spain. Luckily, we sold our remaining tokens to drunk people in the drinks queue.

Yes, a bit of grumpy post. I had an incredibly long and stressful week (data collection, yay) and was really looking forward to a Saturday night out.  I guess I'll have to check out some real jazz spots in Barcelona ---stay tuned!