Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Oh boy. What have I gotten myself into? I told Janel that I might want to go to her hair salon while I am here (because she always looks fantastic!). She phoned them this morning and they are full for the week. She suggested another salon that she had been to previously and really liked. Hmmm “Do they speak English?” “Yes.” “Are you SURE?” “Yes.” Ok. I will give it a go.
It is with some (a lot) of trepidation that I step inside Pelequeria Carrera around noon. I am greeted warmly (in Spanish) and I tell the guy that I don’t speak much Spanish. He assures me (in Spanish) that will not be a problem. During our “conversation” regarding what to do with my hair we somehow manage NOT to speak English. I think I might have gotten my point across until he starts asking “que color?” What??? I didn’t bargain for color. He is pretty insistent so finally I give in and indicate through gestures that “I am in your hands!”
Never having my hair colored at a salon, I didn’t know what I was in for. It is a long process. First one of them comes to me with a pair of shears and lops off a large portion of hair. I gasp and he says “precortado” which fortunately I understood to mean “pre-cut.” then the coloring process continues with a technique that feels like strand by strand. I eventually get the idea that he is “highlighting” instead of an overall color. Fine by me.
After the color is set and washed out the real fun begins with another hair tech. This guy is obviously the main (mane?) dude and flits about snipping and combing. I am somehow quite relaxed during all this – what can I do about it now? Finally, the reveal. I LOVE IT!
After 2 hours I emerge from the salon feeling 10 years younger and 10 pounds lighter! This calls for a nice lunch to celebrate. Janel had mentioned a place when we first arrived in Barcelona that she said is great for a nice brunch or lunch. Done – I am on my way.
Cafe Emma is actually a French bistro and is really adorable. Even though it is a bit nippy, I ask for an outside table on their protected terrace. I am shown to the perfect table for one – tucked away into a little corner where I can people watch to my heart’s content. I order from the “menu del dia” and end up with Crema de champiñones con guisantes salteados y piñones (Cream of Mushroom soup with Sauteed Peas and Pine Nuts), Guiso de sepia a la “Boullabaise” con garbanzos (Stew with Cuttlefish and Garbanzos) and Eclair de Chocolate (self-explanatory!). And – a glass of Champagne (this is s French place after all).
Lunch was wonderful and I am stuffed. Time to walk home and take a little rest. It has been a busy day. The plan for tonight is to have a quiet dinner at Janel’s place. After a little nap Janel calls and invites me to go shopping for a few ingredients. Sure. It is raining, but that doesn’t stop us. We grab our umbrellas and take off.
When Janel goes “shopping” she doesn’t necessarily go to a Supermarket. This is one of the things I love about Spain. There are all kinds of very specific shops for whatever ingredients you need. It causes you to have to go to a few places (or maybe just the Mercado if you can find everything in the various stalls there), but you are getting the best of each category. First stop – the Portuguese Bakery for the “good bread.”
Then on to the spices, nuts, bulk grains etc (my favorite place):
A quick stop for veggies and a pomegranate is made. Then we make one last stop at the Bodega to choose a Cava and a bottle of red. Done. We head home in the rain and start the assembly.
Totnight we are feasting on a gorgeous salad with roasted lemon and pomegranate from Janel’s new Ottolenghi book, Plenty. Janel’s version may look even prettier than the cookbook photo. We are also having Lentils with Foie that Isam has prepared.
Isam’s lentil dish is outstanding. He tells me he purchased a combination of different “stocks” from the butcher (can we get Jamon stock at home???) The foie just servers to bring out the richness of the lentils. And of couse, you can never have too much foie.
We lingered and chatted over dinner. Janel and Isam tell me that this is how they spend most evenings. Not a bad way to go. After our dinner has settled a bit Isam brings out a beautifully wrapped package containing 3 perfect desserts to share.
What a great way to end the day. I leave the warmth of Janel’s house and make the 30 second walk to my own apartment where I stay up blogging, reading and thinking about what surprises may be in store tomorrow.