Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Figueres: Chocolate, ham, but not together

September 2nd, 2009. 1 PM.

On the way between Cadaques (base for El Bulli dinner) and Girona (dinner at Can Roca, #5 on the World's Best Restaurants list), we stopped by the medium-sized town of Figueres. This was mainly to visit the Dali museum, which we found disappointingly mobbed. As a result of the 1-hour-looking line to get in, we gave it a miss and just enjoyed walking around the town a bit. This is just some random pictures from Figueres, including our casual lunch on a bench on Las Ramblas in the middle of town.

Estrella seems to be the biggest brewer, at least around Barcelona where it's based, and their flagship beer is indeed Damm. I didn't stop chuckling over this all week. They make a low-calorie version called Damm Free.

Ohhh, I see - you were expecting architecture shots? No. Here'a chocolate shop that we wandered by and stopped in to. I have to say, I love the Catalan use of X's - Xocolata!

Inside was cool as a fridge, which is a good thing because it WAS a fridge. All the chocolates were just sitting out on the counter in neat rows like this. I question the dustiness as well as the ability to keep the temperature constant, but I love the aesthetic of it!

More gratuitous landscape shots.

Unstoppable. The sad thing is, based on what we bought here, it was just OK.

Big jars of macarons are always a welcome sight - so festive! Again, I don't think these will be quite the same as Pierre Herme, but the casual attitude toward them is very liberating for someone who lives in Tokyo, the un-liberation capital of the free world.

It was really time to eat, and I was really trying to steer things into a light lunch so that we'd be pleasantly set for a great dinner at The Fifth Best Restaurant In The World that night. Thus I suggested ham, cheese and bread on the street. This isn't an original idea; we had already walked past a terribly impressive ham seller caled Can Marti, and it seemed to be calling my name. I could swear that I saw Can Marti elsewhere (like Barcelona), but on the web site it looks like a single store. I feel good about that.

These chunks of pork...just sitting in the cooler...whispering "Jon...Jon...". Of course they were also saying "Andre..." if you were listening in the right way. There's so much meat here that the whole picture looks red and marbled.

The helpful butchers had helpfull set out some suggested options at all price points. Not one to beat around the bush on these things, I jumped on the two most expensive options for ham and ordered up a healthy serving of each.

I like to call this picture The Hamming Gardens Of Babylon. Actually I don't, I just made it up. But it's very much in keeping with the Dali theme of Figueres, as well as the ham theme.

This was the top of their line. Thick sliced, strong flavored...a little dry. Disappointing, honestly.

Second from the top, this was older and dryer and also had more marbling in a darkly fatty way. Maybe it's the style; if so, I don't like that style as much as the sweet, creamy, lovingly delicious ham I'm going to be blogging about when I finally reach the point of Friday's lunch (it's still Tuesday lunch in this blog's world).

Across from Las Ramblas was this cute coffee shop, Royal. I just took some pictures.

And here, the inside. Crookedness is caused by my desire not to stop in front of the place and take a picture of the patrons. I may be American, but I'm not that rude. Thus I took it on the fly, and it's kinda crooked. Ahh, for the time to fix all these pictures.

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