Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The Gallery - A celebration

This week's prompt for Week 27 of the Gallery was "A celebration". It was in honour of the 40th birthday of Garry from The Blog Up North which was last Friday. His Gallery post is a summary of his celebrations.

Now, no-one is going to believe me when I say that I already thought of making my post about a 40th birthday. Not mine, however - I was 32 weeks pregnant and I am not even sure if or where any photos of that event might be. The most memorable things were a midwife appointment on the day, a pub lunch, a weekend away with dinner not 15 feet from Kenny Dalglish, and Carlisle flooded. No, anyway -  in April, my husband turned 40 and he wanted to go where we always go - Barcelona. We have an ongoing love affair with that city and return frequently so it's weaved through the fabric of our lives.

The trip had been planned for months and then the ash cloud debacle started. For a few days, it looked like we wouldn't be going, and I emailed or rang a few places to see if we could get anywhere closer to home that didn't involve flying. (Answer - No.). I needn't have worried as things were pretty much back to normal by the time we flew on the Friday and everything went without a hitch - apart from an hour long wait to check in and a dash to the plane.

We stayed in a beautiful place that was new to us called The Patio. We'd found it on Tripadvisor and it came highly rated. It's basically in a private courtyard behind an apartment block and is bounded by buildings on all sides so there is hardly any noise. It was hard to believe there was a city outside - the most obvious sign was hearing the Metro rumbling underneath not far away.

The lady that runs The Patio is English and she recommended various places for us to go. When she heard we wanted somewhere special to go for a birthday, she recommended Asador de Aranda for a celebration meal. She booked a table for us for Saturday lunch - as we had a prior engagement with FC Barcelona at the Nou Camp in the evening.

As the restaurant was out of the city centre a bit, we set off late morning to get the metro out to Avenue Tibidabo and then walked up the hill, trying to keep in the shade as it had got hot very quickly. As we walked, we noticed this lovely sign and it was decreed that a photo was called for. (The husband would like me to point out that this is not a label.)


We walked into the restaurant which is on several floors and were amazed. It was beautiful.


(It was empty, because we arrived as it opened and the Spanish tend to lunch late - the place was packed within half an hour.)


You can see a bit more here. We ordered the Menu Asador on the recommendation of the lady from The Patio which came with just about everything. The one thing we didn't take a picture of was the starters - it was a plate of morcilla, chorizo, minced meat, red peppers and chargrilled asparagus. The morcilla (spanish black pudding basically) was spectacular and we wished we'd had more of it.

Then the main event arrived.


Roast baby lamb cooked in a wood oven. It was the most delicious lamb I've ever tasted and it melted in your mouth. (Whoops, sorry, my boobs appear to have got into that picture!).

Then we were brought orujo and rosquillas.



Orujo is the liqueur which tasted of aniseed and the rosquillas are little doughnut shaped biscuits. We dunked them into the liqueur! Then, we had dessert - chocolate mousse, which was nice, but nothing like as special as the rest of the meal.


It was an amazing experience. I can't remember the exact price but I think it worked out under £30 per head which included wine, a glass of cava, water and a coffee afterwards as well as the food. If you ever get the chance to go to one of these places, do so but you might want to make sure you book as they get very busy.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, we had an evening appointment with FC Barcelona at the Nou Camp. They were playing Xeres and we'd bought tickets as soon as we could after arriving. A Barca match falling ON the day of your 40th birthday is not to be missed. We couldn't get cheap tickets and even these ones were a row apart, but when we got inside, we were able to swop so we sat together but we were in full sun for most of the game, and it was hot, despite it being early evening.


(You might have seen that hat before - it was bought that afternoon to keep the sun off. I apologise for it now. I think it's because it clashes with the tangerine orange of the shirt.)

Barca did their bit, and won 3-1 to round the celebrations off nicely. Apparently, the match was on Sky and the children, having stayed at home with Granny and Granddad, tried to spot us - in a crowd of 100,000. Unsurprisingly, they didn't see us but we rang them briefly from the ground. 

All in all, quite a memorable birthday. We've already booked our next trip to Barcelona - we're taking Monkey in March; both for his birthday and also for the Barcelona marathon, which the husband is training for. I can't wait, so I might start saving now for another fantastic meal.

20 comments:

  1. Ooh, you should, you should. It has plenty for children - and there is a beach.

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  2. Hey no problem, Nova. It was a great day. If I told you we went to see Joaquin Cortes the next night, would that make it more amazing?! Thanks for commenting.

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  3. Ooh, thank you. And yes, definitely worth going with an OH. (Tho he might want to visit the Nou Camp if he's into footy and you might not. ;) ). Spanish food is DIVINE, especially tapas.

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  4. Hello, thanks for commenting. There are a few of them around Barcelona according to the website but this one is unique in terms of location and its architecture. I need to find some of the others actually.

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  5. Kirsty, it wasn't my 40th - that was 5 years ago!! The food was fabulous. Never had anything like it before and we've been to Spain many times.

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  6. Ha ha, yes we do! OH told me long ago that that was what he wanted for his birthday. Didn't want a big party or anything, this suited him fine.

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  7. Ooh, Nic, you should. It is amazing. There is lots to see and do. Let me know if you go and I'll give you my top tips.

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  8. We are only taking one to Barcelona which is going to be enough and is going to be limiting enough as life in Spain runs much later than here in the UK. He's DESPERATE to go tho. He's even foregoing a party and a present for his 6th birthday to go. Must want it! Thanks for visiting and commenting.

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  9. Yes, decadent is the word. I dunno if the other ones are similar - there are others in Barcelona but mostly tucked out of the way.

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  10. It certainly was. I'm so glad we got there. We actually went to see Joaquin Cortes the next night too - we got given a flyer and went to see if we could get tickets and we could. That was pretty awesome too - it was his last night of a five day run.

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  11. Indeed, Julia. Have to go back to get my fix regularly. Especially the food. :D Thanks for commenting.

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  12. LOL, thanks. It certainly was incredible. Never had lamb like it, ever.

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  13. It was! The lady at The Patio did us proud. We'd never have known about it otherwise.

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  14. Thanks Trish. Sorry about the loading. Not had too many complaints - what you running - PC/Mac?

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  15. Thanks Karen. I wonder how many English speakers walked past and took the same photo (not too many actually, as most of them take the bus up to the funfair and this is near the bottom).

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  16. It seems fine now. Was on my PC which is normally very quick.

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  17. Looks amazing! I've always wanted to go to Barcelona but we've never quite go there!

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  18. Wow, thanks for sharing....what an amazing trip. :)

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  19. Oh that food sounds and looks amazing, I love Spanish food. I love Barcelona too, never actually been with my husband yet, will have to look into that!

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  20. Wow, I love Barcelona and Spanish food, the place looks amazing, will have to check it out next time when we are there ;)
    @Kahanka

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