"Cerveza in the morning-- good for you," he says as he deftly pulls the glass away from the bottom of the tap before too much Estrella spilled over, and plonks it down in front of me, next to my glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice and my plate of complimentary baguette slices.
Beer in the morning. I can get used to this.
Part of the reason why I like traveling is that it gets me out of my routines. I am forced into direct experience with the world in which I have planted myself in for the duration of travel. Barcelona is a world of surprises at every corner. A turn to the left-- after navigating stalls of waxy legs of jamon hanging from the stallfront and glistening fish on melting ice cubes-- finds me standing in front of the infamous Kiosko Universal, somewhere within the La Boqueria market, off the bustling La Rambla.
Throngs of people flock to Kiosko Universal every morning and seat themselves on bar stools that give them excellent views of the cooking in action. As it is in Spain, most people linger over their meals. Brunch at Kiosko Universal is no different. We are lucky to secure a corner at the bar counter just in front of displays of fresh prawns and razor clams that beckon to be savoured.
Seafood in the morning. I can get used to this as well.
We order stir-fried mussels. We order octopus seasoned with olive oil and plenty of paprika. We order grilled monkfish with aioli, served on a bed of chips. I have no idea what monkfish are but they are tender, moist, and full of texture that till this day, I would give anything to have that plate of grilled monkfish with aioli again.
But the star of the morning had to be the big, fat razor clams they call navajas. They are almost the size of my fork! Despite their giganormous size, they aren't too rubbery at all. In fact, they are plump, juicy, and packed with flavour.
We order seconds. And watch the world go by slowly.
Enjoy a bartop brunch @ Kiosko Universal, Mercat de la Boqueria, Puesto 691, Barcelona.