Can Marti in Barcelona - Mission for calçots
Ok. I must admit that the main reason for going back to Barcelona was for calçots. What is a calçot? Essentially a large spring onion/scallion. I don't know what I love more, eating them or telling people about eating them. When explaining to people that Matt and I were going to Barcelona for a long weekend to....... eat alot of onions..... I often received strange looks, laughs and maybe a little judgement. But I take great pride in this accomplishment.
Here are calçots in its natural state. Onion.
We originally planned to take a 6:50am train to Valls (where calçots originated) and go to a annual calçotada festival. But upon further debate, we decided to hit up a local restaurant in Barcelona, Can Marti.
Now I don't know about you, but I tend to enjoy a meal far more when I have worked for it. And hence began our hike up Tibidabo mountain. We took the subway to Penitents and just started walking up. It started off rather residential and I started wondering how sweet it would be to actually live up here.
Eventually, residential roads turned into a long winding path overlooking Barcelona. As it was a Sunday, it was filled with people exercising. Oh but not for us, we were on a mission.
Oh and there were many many many steps involved...
It took a full hour to walk from the subway station to the restaurant, mostly uphill. But nothing feels better than sitting down to a well deserved jug of wine after that climb. Despite what the website indicates, Can Marti is extremely local and not a single person spoke English, but they were all super friendly. This was a clear indication that we were at the right place. We were sat in the yard under our own heating lamp and the setting was so homey. There was no debating, we were there for the calçotada menu. And unlike most restaurants, you're allowed to share one menu between two people, because this is obviously too much food.
First, jug of red wine, plenty of toast, garlic lemon aioli and beautiful romesco sauce. Romesco sauce is an addiction. It's slightly spicy, slightly sweet, nutty, garlicky... mmmmhmmmmm
Meanwhile, the calçots are grilling...
And here they are...
Matt will now demonstrate. To eat, peel off the black bits, dip the white ends in plenty of romesco and lower into mouth. It's only the white part that's soft and succulent, the greens can be discarded.
We easily consumed the entire portion, high off of sweet and smokey onion fumes. But there is more! We got a side of white beans and fried potatoes.
And of course, meat is involved... grilled lamb and sausage!
For dessert we had a crema catalana, essentially spanish crème brulée. This was slightly more dense than regular crème brulée, and seemed more like flan or pudding. It had more lemon in it and hence was not as sweet... a really good way to finish off this heavy meal.
All of this for just EUR 30? It doesn't make sense. Was the food the most amazing? Probably not, aside from the calçots of course. But it's the experience that made this so memorable and keeps me longing to return to Spain.