The following is an archived post
After Italy, it was onto Barcelona. Just a short walk from the ship terminal is La Rambla, a very large boulevard with many shops and food stands, dotted with street performers. As we made our way up La Rambla, we came upon the entrance to a food market—the most massive marketplace I have ever seen. As we entered, we saw stall after stall of food vendors. There are seafood, meat and produce stalls. Some stalls specialize in shellfish, others only in line-caught fish, while others specialize in pork products, fowl, wine, bread, or desserts. It went on and on. We even passed a few stalls that sold dried bugs!
In between these stalls, were stalls with prepared food, such as tapas or pizza. There were food venues with full menus, or that were wine bars or fresh fruit bars. My companions and I were very content to graze throughout our afternoon in the market, tasting tapas and fresh bread, local cheese and seafood cocktails. It was a phenomenal way to sample the food culture.
Onto London before our return home. England has historically been known for less than sophisticated cuisine, shall we say. I most note, however, that this has really changed, particularly in London. There are tons of fabulous restaurants, diverse cuisine and talented chefs making names for themselves there. Since we had limited time in London before our return home, however, I wanted some more traditional fare. I had to decide; fish and chips (fried fish and fries) or bangers and mash (sausage and mashed potatoes)? I chose the bangers and mash. Done correctly, this “pub grub” is an unforgettable meal, especially on cold damp evenings. Despite the 80-degree weather, a heat wave by English standards, we made our way to Covent Gardens, the home of the Royal Opera House and years ago, the home of London’s largest fruit and vegetable marketplace. We found ourselves sitting in the Lamb and Flag Pub, the oldest pub in Covent Gardens (est. 1623) and placed our orders. Made from mashed potatoes, onion gravy and Cumberland Sausage (pork sausage made with a peppery finish from Cambria, England) and served piping hot, bangers and mash will “stick to your ribs” well into the morning. I think this hearty dish enabled me to brave the airport the following morning for the flight home.