Thursday, October 15, 2009

La Vienesa, Girona

September 3rd, 2009. 10 AM.

On our morning in Girona, we had a few more hours to walk around and feel medieval. The old areas are really nice - cleaner than those in Barcelona and targeting a more sedate tourist (no Irish bars, for example). Breakfast in Europe is a challenge to me, and usually comes down to bread and maybe a coffee...

As it did on this day, but fortunately from this very pretty shop. It must have been one of the nicest facades in the town, so don't get the idea that it's all this way.

There are a curious number of bakeries in Spain; more, it seems to me, than Paris. Based on what we ate, I don't get the sense that they have the same focus on quality or variety. I'd certainly like to do a more detailed study...

As mentioned a few days ago, Estrella's low-cal beer-like product is called FREE. Damm! It's still hard for me not to chuckle over this. Maybe by the time I'm 40 I'll be able to stop laughing at things like this.

Anyway, this was a pastry stop, followed by more walking, after we which we came upon the shop we really should have gone to in the first place.

Situated on a larger square in the old section, La Vienesa has a big, modern Italianate doorway that's out of keeping with the surroundings. Quite grand and luxurious feeling, when combined with the window displays it seemed like a place where I really wanted to eat and regretted already having had some pastry. I have a feeling the name is a Catalan version of 'Viennoiserie', or pastries, but I'm not going to check. What do they call Viennoiserie in Vienna? Heck, they don't even call Vienna Vienna in Vienna.

Look how nice! The window display is pastry presented like high-end chocolate. Looking at the poster for Xuixos, we realized we hadn't eaten anything of the genus 'fried dough' yet (e.g., churros), but this remained a small fail for the whole trip. Xuixos actually look more like elongated filled donuts, and as with all sugar-coated, cream-filled, deep fried products that I didn't eat, I'm sorry that I didn't eat some.

Also in the window was a small animatronic diorama relating the parable of Jesus with the wood and chocolate - see how the chocolate bits look like curls of wood falling from the bench, just like Jesus done it? This is cool in its own way but much less amusing than the shop down the street which had in its window a long line of figurines that looked for all the world like a miniature Klan rally, although with more purple, blue and black and robes than you ordinarily get (those being generally reserved for officers like the Klaliff and Klutz).

Inside there were all sorts of treats; I remain unsure what these jelly fruits were (and have failed at using the interwebz to locate info). They seem like candied fruit, but are too regular in shape and color. You'd think marzipan, but they're a bit clear...I'd like to be enlightened on this one. And I sorta regret not trying them, but we had had some breakfast and were already staring down a lunch reservation.

Remember I only write about places where I ate something, and here the excuse was a cool glass of orxata. I've just learned that this is different from Mexican horchata, which is made from rice - this one's actually made from tigernuts. har har. In any case, it's a lot like drinking sweetened soy milk or rice milk, but without the soy flavor (not that it's a bad flavor). I just hung out at the counter for a couple minutes, pretending I wasn't already full and scared to eat lunch.
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