I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but in Barcelona, we went to a Gwyneth Paltrow-recommended tapas bar, Inopia. The shame is not in Inopia, which has also been graced by the likes of Sonic Youth. The shame is in occasionally reading Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle newsletter, GOOP. Plenty of bloggers have humorously attacked its often contradictory advice, which is delivered in a faux-accessible tone from a position of privilege which, by definition, defies accessibility.
Since GP wrote about it, Inopia has begun to take reservations, though the reservations seem only to guarantee a place in line, and not a seat at a specific time. Inopia serves a set number of patrons each night and maintains two lists (one for reservations, one for walkups), and once the quota number is met, everyone else is turned away. Except locals, who come and go at will: tourists are just tolerated. We walked up without reservations and so we had plenty of time to observe these operations with a few other patient couples.
The food, though, was as good as advertised. The potatas bravas were tasty (though not the best I ate on the trip), and I also had a kickass mini burger, which was served super-rare. But my favorite was the pineapple, which was served with lime and some kind of killer sauce that involved molasses (I think).
Truly though, we ate good tapas all over the place. One night, we went to Project 24 and sat at the bar, right in the thick of the action – surrounded by a guy polishing wine glasses, a kitchen staff turning out food, and a half-dozen servers flying back and forth with orders. The highlight for me was an amazing ham and buffalo mozzarella bikini sandwich, and while S enjoyed his food, too, I think the ambiance elevates the cuisine even more.
The only crap tapas we had was at a place in l’Eixample, not far from Plaza Catalunya. It didn’t look bad, not at first, but then the food started coming…S nailed it when he called it the Denny’s of tapas. This place inspired in me an intense loathing of croquettes from which I may never fully recover. Which, when you think about it, isn’t necessarily a bad thing: fried foods rate pretty low on the healthy scale after all.
And if you MUST eat fried foods, why choke down a fourth-rate croquette when you can enjoy tempura avocado? Now that was some fine tapas, and a contributing factor to the extra five pounds I brought back with me.