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barcelona, the color red and patatas bravas

April 18, 2008

al dente pasta

Gaudi-The Symbol of Barcelona.

When we think of Barcelona, the first idea that comes to mind is Gaudi. But we also tend to develop our own, more personalized memories of a time or place depending on who we were with, what meals we shared and what discoveries we made. So what does Barcelona mean to me?

The Color Red-Everywhere!

The Oven (one of my top 10 cafe/bars/restaurants) and its “Chill Out” area

Yes. It’s true. All over Spain, many bars, restaurants and cafes have these areas they refer to as “The Chill Out” which is simply an area with comfy, relaxing couches. At The Oven, one of the coolest places in Barcelona, the “Chill Out” is outdoors. As you can imagine, when I first heard the words “Chill Out” used in this way, it sounded so much more appealing and elicited an entirely different feeling than when my teenage daughter asks me to “chill out”. I look forward to the day, and it really may happen, when we have “Chill Out” areas in bars, cafes and restaurants all over the U.S.

Inside The Oven

Performance and Dance Space Inside The Oven

My first meal in Barcelona was with Thalia at our hotel, The Hotel Art. This hotel is truly the most perfect combination of beauty and comfort without pretense. Thalia immediately ordered Patatas Bravas, which I would eventually notice is a staple on every tapas menu. But every restaurant pairs up the potatoes with their own unique sauce to go along with the crispy potatoes. This gave me the idea that I would try them with one of my own tomato sauces upon return. I’m happy to report that after a few experiments, I got the potatoes just right. And, using Monique’s Outrageous Olive and Caper Sauce (if you like green olives) or Monique’s Rustic Roasted Garlic Sauce, I was able to have the dish ready in minutes.

Potatoes Bravas with Monique’s Outrageous Olive and Caper Sauce

monique\'s pasta sauce, monique\'s outrageous olive & caper sauce, monique\'s rustic roasted garlic sauce, al dente pasta

Recipe for Potatoes Bravas


4 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled baking potato (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 fresh pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced

A jar of Monique’s Sumptuous Sauce


1. To prepare potatoes, place potato in a medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until crisp-tender; drain well.2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter and 2 teaspoons oil to pan, swirling to coat bottom of pan; heat 30 seconds or until foam subsides. Add potato to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until browned, stirring (only) twice. Stir in salt, pepper, and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Remove potato mixture from pan; keep warm.

2. Warm your choice of Monique’s Sumptuous Sauce to serve with potatoes. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired.


6 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup potato mixture)

Boil potatoes until just tender.

monique\'s outrageous olive & caper sauce, al dente pasta company,

Non-stick skillet produced a crispier potato than my cast iron skillet

Now I’m off to Portugal. Will keep track of everything and report back in a couple of weeks.

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