I'll post a couple of items later in the week about the cava trip to Spain, but I wanted to hit some of the highlights today:
• The Wine Curmudgeon appreciates any country where people drink wine at lunch, and those three-hour lunches aren't bad, either. Though I will never, ever get used to dinner at 9 p.m.
• Spain, like much of the rest of the European Union, has enacted tough, American-style no-smoking laws. Which means Spaniards are standing outside buildings smoking -- a sight I never, ever thought I would see.
More, after the jump:
• Barcelona struck me as Chicago-like, while Madrid is more like New York. So you can guess which city I like more. And TapaC24, near the Placa Catalunya, was everything I wish more U.S. restaurants were: cheap and fun, with top-notch food and quality wine at very reasonable prices -- as little as 10 euros (about $15). Particularly impressive were the fried, sliced artichokes; the bikini sandwich, similar to a croque monsieur; and eggs poached in olive oil and served over french fries and foie gras.
• We did not have any bad wine. Literally The cava was uniformly excellent, and the red and white still wines, mostly from less known regions, were also well done. As noted, I'll discuss the wines later this week. Until then, know that cava delivers value and quality, and if it doesn't taste like Champagne, that's OK. It's not supposed to.
• My thanks to Mary Gorman, DWS, who teaches at the International Wine Center. Mary shot the picture that accompanies this post, and you'll see more of her work later this week. And yes, that's me after my assemblage was chosen best of the group.