Tapas at Papitu

by Michael Tucker
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papituWe took a break from olive picking to hop across the pond to Barcelona to attend the Catalan International Environmental Film Festival. We were invited through our friend, Will Parinnello, who was being honored for his films about this year’s Goldman Environmental Prize honorees.

All of which means that we spent three days — and nights — with some of the greenest people on the planet. It was nice to learn that environmental heroes can eat and drink with the best of them. When you think about it, munching on tapas and slugging down innumerable glasses of Cava is really just another form of re-cycling.

On an earlier trip to Barcelona, Jill and I had lunched at a counter in the Boqueria, the extraordinary market in the center of town. When we mentioned to some locals that we wanted to repeat this experience, they pointed us instead to a little piazza just outside the entrance to the market. There, they told us, is a tapas restaurant that the Barcelonians prefer. It’s called Papitu and it was wonderful, indeed. 

Tapas likes to pretend it’s not a meal. “Oh, I’m just a little something to tide you over until dinner,” it says, as you knock down a huge plate of fried calamari. It’s totally a meal. At 4:00 in the afternoon, we dug in at Papitu, starting with pan tomate — toasted bread, rubbed with garlic and tomato — which they sprinkled with some fennel seeds — a nice touch.

Then came a lentil salad for the vegan amongst us, and a big plate of jamon iberico for the omnivores. It’s the tastiest, meltiest-in-your-mouth ham in the world and I folded a long, fatty slice of it onto my toasted tomato bread and scarfed it down.

rougetomateshrimptapas

Then came more plates — huge slices of fried eggplant, a big portion of calamari, gambas (giant grilled shrimp) and I can’t remember what else because we were drinking a lot of Cava, the lovely Spanish champagne. Ah, just a little tide-me-over until dinner.

Papitu: Passage de la Virreina, 1 | Raval, 08001 Barcelona, Spain

 

Michael Tucker is an actor and author whose recent novel is "After Annie."  He writes about his love of food on his blog Notes from a Culinary Wasteland.

 

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