With a gluten intolerance, an endless supply of organic vegetables from the garden, and a host mother who is a great cook, there is not much reason to go out. We are enjoying the Mediterranean diet. It is nearly a perfect fit for gluten-free eating. In two months, I have eaten more fish (and more chicken) than the sum of times I have eaten it in the rest of my entire life. I cannot complain, of course, because it is always fresh and prepared with care. On top of that, I thoroughly enjoy the variety of nuts and dried fruit, and oh, the cheeses! The yogurt is delicious and even the butter is creamier! Of course, quality olive oil goes on anything and everything too.
Aside from the fact that fresh baguettes accompany every meal, there is very little reliance on grains. We usually have a plate of vegetables, a plate of meat, and end with fruits and nuts. Cheese finds its way to the table on occasion, as does chocolate, making for a well-rounded diet.
Needless to say, in an effort to culture ourselves we force ourselves to explore beautiful Barcelona and experience this incredible city–like we have to have force ourselves. Almost two weeks ago, we went out to a restaurant, D’Aqui. It is a restaurant based on the idea of friends cooking for friends. So the story goes, they were always having friends over and everyone loved the food that they turned it into their day job. For that reason, it is only open from 9 – 5. The menu changes daily but always includes gluten-free options and vegetarian options. I chose it because it is close to my work and g-free. But, we absolutely loved it! If I could have a restaurant, it would be like D’Aqui.
The service staff was incredibly helpful, sweet and patient as we asked for clarification on almost every dish (everything is listed on a chalkboard in Catalan). They also knew what would be safe for me to eat. We ended up getting the same thing because it sounded so good. For our first plate, we had a mixed greens salad with honey, walnuts, and goat cheese (not as strong as in the States). For our second plate, we had a quinoa salad with roasted vegetables and hummus. Our dessert was a yogurt with mint and a fruit sauce. The meal comes with a drink and a coffee for €13. I honestly don’t know how they make money.
The second best part (behind the delicious food, local ingredients, friendly people, comfortable environment and affordable price, which all tie for first) is that they are in no hurry at all. Someone with places to go and things to do may call this slow service, but in this case, I think it is beautiful. I love food and inhale it at times. This caused me to focus on the person across from me and not the food before me. Although it isn’t always practical, a slow-paced lunch can be so refreshing, and in the oasis that is D’Aqui, it is!
Today we went back for lunch. Our food was once again downright delicious. It’s a place filled with locals on their two-hour lunch break from work. We’re clearly not locals, but it’s fun to be among them.