Our next stop was more upscale. Paco Meralgo. You native Spanish speakers might catch on to the pun a lot faster than me but the twist on the name didn’t hit me until a few days later. All that time I wondered who Paco was.
Neen had got there a little early and L and I met up with her a little late so for a while, she became the curious fixture outside Paco Meralgo, drawing quizzical glances from the staff who were prepping for service. Being that it is Spain, a lot of places don’t open until 8 or later so we killed some time in a coffee shop across the street and walked into Paco Meralgo a respectable 5 minutes after it opened. Yes we were hungry.
After we ordered, they set down a plate of pan con tomate, an offering common in Barcelona as we didn’t encounter it anywhere else in Spain. It’s basically grilled or toasted bread, reddened by dragging an open tomato to and fro, topped with olive oil and salt. And then the feasting began.
Fish and seafood croquetas
Empanadas de atun, they called it ‘house dumplings’ on the english menu. Stuffed with tuna, tomato, green peppers, and other unidentifiable items.
Lomo de vic. I don’t know if vic is a style of curing or if Vic is the dude that made the sausage. Looks like salami but it didn’t have the slight tartness that salami has.
Gambas al ajillo. These were delicious. I was glad they left the head on so we could appreciate the full shrimpy flavor. We had been thinking of ordering gambas a la paloma, a giant shrimp of legendary taste. Men waxed poetic about them and women swooned over them, or so it seemed from the reviews I had read about the shrimp, but the price wasn’t right yet.
Grille cockles, plump and juicy.
Grilled vegetables for some fiber. Just trying to be healthy.
At this point, we were almost full but wasn’t sure if we could eat more. And then, we saw a couple of curious dishes pass before us and decided to order them.
Deep fried squash blossoms stuffed with mozzarella like cheese. Unlike a lot of fried stuff, these didn’t coat my tongue in a slick of oil.
This oozy mass is called la bomba. A potato croquette stuffed with some meat and covered in a cream sauce of some kind and a deliciously spicy romesco sauce.
The inner workings of la bomba
For dessert we had a catalan style french toast. It was laden with cinnamon and soaked in a sweet milk base before being battered and fried, resulting in something more custardy than french toast.
A fresh house made cheese called quellada on the menu but I saw it as cuajada in Madrid. I can only describe like a firm silky tofu on top of which I drizzled some honey. Quite refreshing and a light end to a heavy meal.