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a few notes from barcelona and please pass the rolaids

April 9, 2016

today for lunch, we went to a restaurant called tickets, owned by ferran adria the guy famous for once owning il bulli.  it is one of the hardest reservations we’ve ever scored.  and while our dejeuner was delicious, it has to be one of the weirdest restaurant experiences i’ve ever had.

the place was done up like a movie theater on acid with all the front end staff dressed in usher uniforms.  the windows were filled with sponsored displays that reminded me of pre-game decor made by high school cheerleaders.  if there is such thing as a design muscle, it really made mine ache.

i am not a huge fan of molecular gastronomy.  i appreciate the artistry and effort, but in the end i’d always rather have a soulful bowl of something, anything, cooked over a hot stove.  yes, it is cool they can make some olive oil and olive juice look like a real olive, but i’ve seen too many magicians pull that coin out of a kid’s ear to be impressed.   that said our pan con tomate was the best i’ve ever had.  ditto the iberico ham.   and the octopus was absolutely delicious.

the restaurant is a bit like a tourist conveyor belt.  literally the moment we ate the last bite of our entree, someone appeared behind our counter seats and told us to grab our drinks, we were headed off to the dessert room.  umm, ok.

we walked through a velvet curtain into a willy wonka lover’s wet dream.  the ceiling was covered in gigantic strawberries and cherries and the lone waiter was rushing about spraying sweet smells from an aerosol can.   one wall was covered with televisions which to my great surprise were playing one of my favorite flicks, the party.

we were encouraged to order three desserts for two.  the cheesecake was really a mouse covered in white chocolate.  delicious, but completely campy all dressed up like a wax covered round of cheese complete with custom labeling.  the other two were dull enough i don’t really remember what i ate.  i do however, remember our spoons were held by magnets to a little tree on the table.

a quick trip to the loo provided the most head scratching moment of the day.  yes, yellow subway tile and matching yellow wood trim is a bit gauche, but ok, not everyone has the same taste as me.  but when i looked up, i realized the ceiling was mirrored i suddenly found myself searching for the faux fur topped heart shaped bed.

please note, it seems you are supposed to put your cash into the candy box in which they bring the bill; when we didn’t the waiter took the money from us, stuffed it in and scurried off to get our change.   we left out a side door blocked by a blue velvet rope and emerged into the sunlight still puzzled.   our meal was tasty.  and at 100 euro for cava, sparkling water, vermouth, a gut busting number of creative tapas and three desserts, pretty cheap.

i just didn’t get it at all.