I tried for Saturday and Sunday, but it was last-minute (Thursday, before my flight) and I was doing it online through bcnrestaurants.com (instead of calling, which might have yielded better results).
Re: Paco Meralgo: there's so much that goes into a single dining experience beyond the food itself. Especially when you only get to go there once, it's hard to make any kind of definitive judgment of a place. But we had a great time! And I suppose Paco Meralgo isn't *unusual*: it's not serving anything radically different from what you can get at countless other upscale tapas place, though I guess I felt the dishes were prepared with a higher level of attention and care than perhaps at the other places we visited. Anyway, see for yourself!
Please do go! I didn't think Erica's review was unfavorable (we got many of the same dishes), just that it was a bit of a trek for her (it was not for us, as our hotel was three blocks away).
I forgot to mention the great octopus dish we had there- -grilled and served with browned onions- -really tender and very tasty. While we mostly focused on seafood there, the locals seemed to go mostly for the meat dishes- -the guys on our left got a delicious-looking rabbit stew with a wild mushroom sauce, and the guys on our right had a gorgeous steak tartare and some foie on toast.
Delurking to recap my recent trip to Barcelona by way of thanks for all the information I've gotten from the helpful posters here, particularly PBSF, Parigi, Aleta, and the two Ericas.
QUIMET I QUIMET
things improved markedly by the third day:
LA VINYA DEL SENYOR
we also stopped in later for a couple pintxos at SAGARDI- -all very tasty.
Overall, as I said- -we didn't NOT enjoy the meal. . .but it was far from revelatory, and we ate better (and enjoyed ourselves more) elsewhere. There was just something slightly forced and false about the experience. Tickets is very much a commercially-minded endeavor, from the merchandise displayed in the windows to the sponsors listed on the menus. The decor and restaurant concept are. . .there's no other way to put it. . .*tacky*: the waiters in faux ringmaster costumes, the maitre d' in a jacket emblazoned with "TICKETS" in light-up bulbs (!), the loud fixtures and furniture. And *obvious*. As our waiter said, in English, "Welcome to the show." Yes: modern gastronomy involves a certain wizardry, sleight of hand, spectacle. But instead of amplifying the awe-factor, all the frippery made it feel like we'd mistakenly entered a theme restaurant, the Hard Rock Café via Germanes Adria. The circus idea, it seems to me, has far less to do with the tapas served and far more to do with the hype and media frenzy surrounding anything Adria. Even at their best, circuses are half magic and half hokum: on leaving, it was hard not to wonder if we'd been had.
Fortunately, our last meal of the trip was at
EL CELLER DE CAN ROCA
The standout dishes of the day were the two-phase play on ensaladilla rusa (a liquid phase, with molten egg yolk, a tiny mirepoix, and a potato-based sphere; a dry phase with rice krispy-like potato puffs, minuscule citrus segments, and something else, all bound together with grilled rice paper) and the foie gras, liquified over an artichoke purée, with dehydrated orange, slices of whole artichoke, and black truffle. Incredibly decadent, totally essential, utterly delicious.
Service was friendly and unstuffy, and the space itself is quite beautiful.
* * *
We also tended to eat early by Spanish standards (8:30 or 9), and although this meant that it was easy to eat at popular places that might later get crowded, we had more fun when there were others dining (with whom we could chat and whose dishes we could scope out).
While it obviously helps to know Spanish, many menus are in Catalan, which isn't always as similar to Spanish as you might hope, so brush up on your Catalan food words before you go, if possible, or be prepared to ask a lot of questions. Luckily, almost everybody we encountered was fairly friendly and happy to explain or recommend things (and tolerate my unconfident Spanish).
Also, though I didn't list any above, some of the nicest treats we had were simple things we bought on the run- -little sandwiches with ham or cheese, pastries- -so don't kill yourself trying to plan your entire trip to the T.
Thanks again to all the chowhounders who helped me figure out where to eat; hope this recap helps someone else.
Don't know whether this reply helps at all (given that the original query is three years old!) but my family's favorite sushi spot is YAMAGUCHI RESTAURANT, a small family-owned place across the street from the Port Washington train station. These days, it's the only place at which my (Japanese-American) grandmother will deign to eat. High-quality fish for reasonable (given the product) prices.
PS: here's a good link on making paneer at home:
My post comes a bit late, but, as a fellow Indian food enthusiast, I'd be remiss if I didn't add that there are a host of *terrific* Indian food blogs out there. The blogs are a great way to learn about the huge variety of Indian food, too, with each blogger specializing in the food of his/her particular region. It doesn't get more authentic than this! Most include pictures, so you can see what each recipe's end product should look like. One caveat, though: as far as I can tell, the majority of the bloggers tend to be *South* Indian (from Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, etc.)- -thus, less available are recipes for the Northern Indian food common to most American restaurants (biriyani, etc.).
Some of my favorites:
ONE HOT STOVE
SALT AND PEPPER
This is how my mother prepares eggplant; she's third-generation Japanese-American, so I'm not sure how *traditional* the preparation is, but it's very simple and very tasty. She uses (homegrown) Japanese eggplant, which has a characteristic sweetness lacking in conventional/Italian eggplant. I'd advise against using Italian eggplant at all in this recipe, but if you must, try slicing the eggplant into 3/4 inch-thick rounds and salting them to allow the bitter juices run out- -as in other recipes here- - it won't be the same, though!
1.) Quarter eggplant (cut in half lengthwise, then cut each piece in half crosswise). The slices should be about 3/4-1" thick.
2.) Brush with canola oil and broil, cut side up, until slightly browned and softened (but not mushy).
3.) In individual saucers/dipping dishes, pour a small amount of soy sauce. Add finely grated fresh ginger (and shiso, if you have it) to taste.
To eat, dunk individual pieces of the broiled eggplant in the soy sauce/ginger mixture.