teresa's blogDecember 8, 2009
Forget about butter and jam on your morning toast (and maybe all that pre-dinner double-dipping of bread in olive oil, too). The Catalans have a better idea: pa amb tomàquet, bread with tomato.
Add a smidge of garlic, olive oil, and salt, plus a slice of protein—sheep's milk cheese or dry cured ham—and you've got a complete breakfast. Pa amb tomàquet is like biscuits and gravy: a perfect pairing that got its start down on the farm, but has since made its way to big city tables. Here in the New World it is found on "tapas" menus and recipe pages described as a Catalan specialty but given a new name based on a translation, inexplicably, not into English but into Spanish: "Pan con Tomate."
The New Yorkers I've shown around Barcelona always seem to connect easily to the energy of the Catalan capital. They get its contrasts, I think, of seediness and elegance, of old and new, and its palpable creative and mercantile drive.
When they return to the Big Apple, they invariably find themselves jonesing for more. For a while, that big screenfull of lovesick images in Vicki Cristina Barcelona provided a fix. But now what?