Sunday, August 3, 2014
Janel and Dario have planned a surprise for today – we are going to be meeting Dario’s parents for lunch! Rich and I are excited to meet them, but we have a little twinge of nervousness. They don’t speak English and our Spanish is barely enough to get by. We hope that with J & D along as translators for each side, that we can understand each other. Should prove to be an interesting day to say the least.
Breakfast at the Gran Sol Hotel is ok, but nothing to expound on (especially after the awesome dinner we had last night). We pack up and say adios to Sant Pol de Mar.
For our meeting point Janel has chosen a place that is about halfway between each of our locations. Darios’ parents will be coming from Jerica – the small village in which they have a summer home. We will be meeting at the delta of the Ebro river about an hour and a half south of Barcelona. The Ebro Delta has a National Park and is the largest wetland area of Catalunia. Janel has previously visited a restaurant there and thought it would make for a nice gathering place.
As we near the delta of the river the landscape changes drastically. There are fields of rice as far as you can see. The land is flat and flatter. Looks pretty cool. With a bit of challenging navigation we finally reach our destination – the Ebro Delta National Park and home of Restaurant L’Estany Casa de Fusta. We have arrived before Dario’s parents so we take some time to visit the overlook.
When Dario’s parents arrive they admit that they had some trouble finding this spot that is “in the middle of nowhere.” We all are introduced and gifts are exchanged. They brought for us some of the precious olive oil from Jerica and we love it. They also presented us with a beautiful wooden fruit bowl. We brought them some Blanton’s Bourbon from Kentucky and also a box of See’s Chocolates.
After all the introductions are made, we make our way inside for lunch. Janel and Dario choose to each sit in the middle of their respective parents so that they can translate. It is not long, however before the conversation becomes animated and lively. Dario’s parents are delightful and we get along splendidly.
The specialty around here is rice, of course and we order plenty. Lunch starts with some lovely salads and grilled vegetables and moves on to an awesome Duck and Rice dish (super “duck-y”) and then a platter of assorted fishes. A lovely bottle of Cava (the kind that Janel brought to Evansville) rounds out our meal.
Stories are shared, food is passed and everyone enjoyed the afternoon together. Sometimes a language barrier is not a barrier at all.
Look at the tiny new reading glasses that Dario Sr (Dario’s father) gave to me:
After lunch a little stroll back to the lookout point was in order.
The drive back to Barcelona seems long and some of us nap along the way. We return the car and now Rich and I will check into our new place: Ca La Maria – a beautiful B&B located in the Eixample area close to Janel’s apartment. Maria has already been so kind as to let us store my large bag there so we did not have to lug it all around on our little trip. Now we actually get to see our new place and it is gorgeous. (More pics of this place tomorrow)
We only make a brief stop here before meeting for dinner at La Xula (where Janel and I went last week). It is not our usual MO to go to a place twice, but La Xula is perfect for tonight.
Another dish we had was Cap i Pota which I think is made of beef snout (If you ask Dario, he might tell you it is beef “snot.” I hope he is wrong.) It is amazing! We munch through everything and solve several of the world’s problems over dinner – maybe some of our own problems as well.
The meal is finished with a very typical little treat of dark chocolate on crisp toast sprinkled with a touch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Try it.