Bohemian Agent Blog

Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, manifesting your own happy, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
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April 2017

Home cooked Spanish Tortilla de Patatas!

Tiny Adventures in Spain:  A dinner invite in Spanish wine country turns into a lesson in making Tortilla de Patatas!

I was now ending my first month in Spain and hey, wait a minute!  Was it the weekend again?  It was indeed, and guess what I had planned?  Another evening of stuffing my face with a fantastic home cooked meal at my beautiful friend Marianna's house.  I had been yapping up a storm about how impressed I was with the Pincho de Tortilla (to any Spaniard that would listen), which landed me this personal invitation to a home cooked version.  The restaurant version was similar to a pan-fried potato frittata, but in tapa form, and stabbed with a toothpick.  I enjoyed this tapa for the first time at a restaurant called Cafe Marisa in my small Catalan wine village a couple of weeks earlier.     

As soon as I realized that I could order this dish all around town in a sandwich version (Bocadillo de Tortilla), it became my "go to" along with the Bocadillo de Jamon (Cured Ham Sandwich) as I still struggled to interpret all the Spanish and Catalan written food menus in my Spanish village on a daily basis.  

There would be no struggle today, however, because I received a golden front row ticket.  Not only for the enjoyment of eating this lovely dish called Tortilla de Patatas but for also watching, front, and center, how Spaniards prepare this tasty potato and egg filled beauty at home.  Woohoo!  I was fascinated and counting down the moments until dinner time on this very day. 

As the clock struck dinner, I showed up around 8 pm and just like in the U.S. it's always nice to come with a bottle of wine or cava.  However, in this case, Marianna had a hankering for her favorite sweet treat that was found at a small family bakery on my way to her house that evening.  This desert brought me, and my new friend, jubilant post-dinner delight that night.  

Nothing, however, would plaster the grin on my face more than watching Virgili, our chef for the evening, working his magic with fresh, simple ingredients that we don't seem to cherish as much as we should back at home in the U.S.A.  Vegetable oil, eggs, potato, onions, salt, and pepper never came together in such harmony before!  

Step 1:  Start by sauteing sliced potatoes in vegetable oil until golden brown.  

Step 2: Add in the onions next for three additional minutes.  

Step 3:  Add in salt.  Please note, you will be hard-pressed to find a Spanish kitchen not stocked with a big container of quick access salt for cooking all meals. 

Step 4:  Beat three eggs with milk and add in to the mix.  Cook for ten minutes.

Step 5:  Continue to scrape the sides of the pan and gently pat the top with spatula while cooking to keep it from sticking to the sides of the pan and loosing it's shape. 

Step 6:  Here's the fun part, using a plate flip the Tortilla over onto the other side and cook for another ten minutes until finished. 

Viola!  Home-cooked Spanish Tortilla de Patatas!

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is the beginning of my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I post every Monday and Wednesday.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

xo,
Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent

 

Graffiti-lined picnic area in wine country

Graffiti Wall

Tiny Adventures in Spain:  Today a little variation in my daily walk lead me to a scenic Graffiti-lined picnic area in wine country.  A million dollar experience for the price of about two euros. 

Feeling lightyears ahead of that cold, I had been battling; I decided it was time to do some more exploring in my new Spanish neighborhood.  It's not like I hadn't been upwardly mobile and busy teaching my English classes all week.  I was extremely fortunate that the worst of it struck over the weekend (in the midst of my encounter with the Barcelona businessman).  

Graffiti Wall Spain

My teaching schedule was pretty darn random but made up of approximately 18 teaching hours a week (add approximately one unpaid hour of lesson planning for every teaching hour, making close to a full-time work schedule).  My hours were not standard office hours by any stretch of the imagination.  It would be very typical that the Cava (Spanish Champagne) company lessons would fall during the regular three-hour Spanish lunch break.  Classes at the Cultural Center could be any time of the day depending on the day/age/lifestyle of the student.  Most of them would fall in the late afternoon or evening leaving my work day to start at about 12:30 pm Monday - Thursday and ending as late as 10:30 pm (with gaping breaks in between).  

Graffiti Wall Spain

This schedule allowed me time to lesson plan or (more excitingly) lengthen the walks I would usually take between the Cava (Spanish Champagne) companies and the Cultural Center where I taught English as a second language to people of all ages.  

Graffiti Wall Spain

On this day, my adventure wouldn't take me too far from home!  I decided to go beyond the brick wall that was in front of my building and finally explore the beautiful graffiti lined trail that leads to the perfect spot for a picnic, and that's just what I did.  I enjoyed my lunch while gazing at one of the wine companies where I had just finished teaching, and I felt like one lucky duck on this charming weekday in Spain.  I'm compelled to give you more details to get you on this artistically positioned picnic bench with me.  Gazing meant peering over at a building that could have easily doubled as a small Spanish Castle off in the near distance (where I just left the executives of the wine company from their English lessons).  This impressive Spanish building sat positioned above beautiful wine vineyards as if ready for a picture, all right before me.  This delightful experience totaling the very low cost of some bread and ham (two euros), BUT going on record as a million dollar day in my mind! 

Graffiti Wall Spain

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is the beginning of my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  

Graffiti Wall Picnic

Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I post every Monday and Wednesday.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

xo,
Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent

Honey, I'm home!

Tiny Adventures in Spain:  Today I would be taught an embarrassing lesson about where pettiness gets you (nowhere). On this day the experience would come with its own soundtrack while my new roommate in Spain entertained his lady friend in the room next door.  

It had been about a week now since I had last seen the Barcelona businessman on our meet up to get my spare keys from him in Barcelona.  Our lame duck meet up happened almost immediately after I moved in (about a week before this day).  Tonight, however, would be a real gem of an evening for my new (once a month) roommate and I.  It would be the first time he would spend the night at our shared apartment, and close to the last after the massive embarrassment that will uncomfortably unfold step by step below.     

Since we are bumping this story back, a few days, I should remind you that I was completely immobilized and coughing up a storm when I received the text from the Barcelona businessman alerting me that he and "a friend" would be coming to the apartment that evening.   I tried in every way to warn him that I was ill and that my coughing would probably keep him up the entire night, but he would not be deterred.  

I should probably also back up the story to mention that my brother was originally supposed to spontaneously fly in for a short trip to Barcelona on this weekend, but he came down with the terrifying flu (with a hospital stay) back home in the U.S. and canceled.  Ironically, my severe cold quickly followed suit, landing me in bed on this very eve. 

It went something like this.  I woke out of a coughing fit to get some honey from the kitchen to soothe my throat, and the Barcelona businessman and his "friend" startled me.  It was rather late.   Seeing that we didn't know each other well and that our agreement was he would only use the apartment to spend the weekend with his kids (once a month), I wasn't expecting what was about to follow suit.  I certainly couldn't predict they would jump right on the twin bunk beds and begin playing a loud, incessant beat of a fast Spanish song on repeat for several hours (at a volume that made me feel like I needed to be clicking my heels and suited up in a Flamenco bar). 

Here's where the story gets embarrassing for both of us.  In my sicken stupor, I grabbed my phone to let my brother know that the Barcelona businessman had taken liberty to use the apartment for encounters of another kind while I lay there sick on my death bed (okay, maybe I do have a flare for the dramatic).  My brother and I shared several messages back and forth making jokes about this unfortunate situation when something interrupted me.  In my fallen illness, I didn't realize that somehow I was now about to continue the text banter, but this time, directly with the Barcelona businessman himself instead of my brother.  

Yikes!  I could almost remember the ding in slow motion.  I wrote something along the lines of mentioning words like "porking," "rapido repeat song," "twin bunk beds," "in the next room"...and then I hit send.   I honestly, don't know how I heard that little ding above the volume of the music, but there it was, clear as day in real time...ding!  I somehow immediately knew that I had done something very, very wrong here and quickly looked at my phone in horror to learn that yes, indeed, I had!  I had sent the message intended for my brother directly to the Barcelona businessman right in the middle of his "sleeping" session.  I was horrified.  My brother being from Jersey found this to be hilarious.  What made this worse yet, was that I knew he would have to go through the motions of using a translator app to decode the message, making it even harder to back peddle from this disaster. 

I just laid there mortified and frozen on my bed.  I admitted that I knew this would likely be a lot funnier at a later date, but not on this day.  Not on this day, at all.  I tried to think of how I might ever recover from this embarrassment, but there was no way out.  I would have to admit to having poor taste in humor, but not before slipping out the front door (on my death bed) as early as possible the next morning to avoid a face-to-face encounter with him and his "friend."  I made sure going forward to give him plenty of notice when I was going out of town so he could have the place all to himself on future visits.  Like I said gals, there is always a solution.  Ha-ha!  Mine was to run for the hills every time he might planning a trip back to the casa.  

I'd like to say I dodged a bullet here, but rather I took a gigantic one straight to the chest this day.  The lesson for this post, I would never put anything in writing that I could not proudly defend.  My poor judgment came back to bite me in the ass this day, and likely would again in the future, (should I ever be this petty again).  I had to remind myself of a classic quote we all know and love.  "If you have nothing nice to say, you shouldn't say it at all."   With that, I will close this post by saying no more about this strange duck I had found myself in a living situation with because awkward continued to describe this at its best. 

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is the beginning of my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I post every Monday and Wednesday.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

xo,
Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent

A meet up with the Barcelona businessman, oh boy!

Tiny Adventures in Spain:  Today I would learn how important first impressions are and that not even a language barrier can ward off communicating bad energy. 

Well, I have mentioned him before.  The unsavvy Barcelona businessman (otherwise known as my once a month roommate) had forgotten to make himself a copy of the keys to his apartment.  Yes, this meant that I would need to go to Barcelona with the original keys to help rectify the situation immediately.  Like I mentioned in an earlier post, something about this guy gave me the full-on heebie-jeebies.

I met him in Barcelona that day.  I hoped he might surprise me and have some small iota of a personality, but it was dullsville until the bitter end.  I learned something important while meeting up with this lame duck of a Spaniard on this very day.  Even though we both spoke two completely different languages, there was (without question) something still being communicated to me loud and clear through his body language, energy, osmosis, whatever you want to call it, and that was I never wanted to understand this man's spoken word.  Ha-ha!

All joking aside, this was a valuable lesson.  You see, I had experienced the opposite throughout my entire living experience here in Spain (and everywhere else I have ever called home).  Energy and how you present yourself to the world is so important.  The energy that you have when you meet people for the first time or the twentieth time has no language barrier.  You either bring it to the table or you don't, my friends.  This guy wasn't bringing diddly.  His voice was low and muffled, and the intonation never changed frequency, there was never an expression change on his face, nothing seemed to engage his attention in the world around him.  Spending time with him was the equivalent of sharp fingernails cutting across a black chalkboard.  And so, in situations like this, I just did my default thing, and that was to entertain myself.  

Did you think Dudley the duck was going to bring my vibration down?  No way in hell, my mamas!  I still enjoyed myself that day (all observations aside).  This little trick has been my survival skill, saving me from potentially terrible dates and obligatory meet ups throughout my entire life.  Energy is a two-way street.  No doubt about it!  However, I have learned that if I am not receiving the experience I want, then it is I who has not brought it to the table.  It's very easy to sit back and judge how other people are not what we want them to be, but in a genuinely healthy energy exchange between people, there is flow.   We all have an off-day or an off-moment.  The point of this post is it's our job to maintain responsibility for how we are interpreting the world around us and how we will choose to experience it.  

Insert video of two ducks.  Guess which one reminds me of the star of this post?  We could call this game Lame Duck Hunt.  

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is the beginning of my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I post every Monday and Wednesday.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

xo,
Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent

An incurable cold and (incurable) acting skills

google images

Tiny Adventures in Spain:  Today being sick would wind up my adventure when the translator app failed to communicate my illness to the Spanish Pharmacist, and less than stellar acting skills would be my last defence to fight this cold once and for all.  

It's no surprise that between my ten-day departure from the U.S. followed by my ten-plus day arrival here in Spain; I ran myself down just enough to get sick.  It began in my head.  Oh boy!  It felt so heavy that I could hardly think.  I walked around in a haze for days trying to cure myself with some much-needed rest.  

When the rest alone wasn't cutting it, I started to research some natural remedies.  That is when I came across an article from Elephant Journal on the benefits of drinking hot water with proper honey and real lemon juice daily.   The author's claims for this hot, healthy cocktail had me intrigued.  She hadn't been sick for over one year once beginning this daily routine and even weaned herself off a coffee addiction as a added side benefit.  Apparently, the zing of the lemony flavor was enough to get her started in the morning.  Not too shabby!  Her recipe was juice from a half of lemon along with a decent teaspoon of organic honey in a standard mug with water hot enough to melt the honey but then cooled down with a splash of cold water to drink.  This article went on to say that this daily routine would keep you regular and prevent urinary tract infections.  It would also improve digestion and give you healthy glowing skin.  Well, I couldn't imagine not trying it now, and so that is just what I did the following day.  

Side note:  I kept this up throughout the entire winter.  It didn't cure my cold, but I felt great in the morning, and my skin was indeed glowing.  I didn't quit the coffee.  I mean, come on people, I wasn't working with a Shaman here.  Ha-ha!  I just drank the coffee after I enjoyed the hot lemon drink.  

google images

When the magic of the hot, healthy cocktail didn't do the trick, I figured it was time to make my way to the Farmacia (Pharmacy) to use my translator app (a must have here in Spain.  I love Speak & Translate for iPhone) to tell the Pharmacists that I had a cold. The problem here was this description didn't quite translate.  When I tried to describe my cold, it translated as "being" cold, instead of "having a" cold.   

So, it was game on from there.  I had been left no choice other than to rediscover the acting talents that Mr. Notari (my high school Drama teacher) swore I had when I took his class for that one semester my senior year.  Picture a spastic American grabbing her throat and pretending to cough and choke in the center of the Farmacia for all to see.  Yes, the symptoms had now moved down from my head and into my throat causing an unbearable cough and sore throat that kept me up at night for weeks and weeks.   

google images

The summary of this post is that my first, second and third times to the Spanish Farmacia were a disaster (all visits were for the same cold that seemed unshakeable and incurable by the Spaniards).  I quickly realized that I needed to make some changes to cure this sucker once and for all.  My first thoughts would be that I needed to either improve my terrible Spanish or work on those acting skills (Damnit, Mr. Notari!  The next Lucille Ball?  Not even close.) to combat this cold to its final demise.  At this particular juncture, I wasn't sure which route to take.  So, I slept on it, and another solution would eventually present itself to me on the road to recovery.  

Have you ever had to act out an illness at the Pharmacy in a foreign country? 

Insert clip of I Love Lucy here for those of you reading this offline:

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is the beginning of my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I post every Monday and Wednesday.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

xo,
Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent

Paco saves the day!

Tiny Adventures in Spain:  Today while figuring out the details of how I could have wifi (in a temporary living situation), I found Paco and his no-frills Catalan style cafe (with free wifi) that would make my new Spanish neighborhood feel like home.

I had now been renting an apartment from the Barcelona businessman for about two and a half weeks.  As a woman who relies strongly upon connecting with my friends and family via social media and free apps for talking and messaging (in real-time via Skype, Facebook, and WhatsApp), one of my first questions when looking at the apartment was "Is there wifi?", When I got a shocking "no" back from the Barcelona businessman, I had big-time concerns, my sisters.  Aside from the luxury of communicating with the outside world, I needed to lesson plan for my English classes, and let us not forget that I moved to Spain with aspirations of eventually doing some mobile creative work and blogging about it from the road.  How was a girl supposed to be productive and connected without the wifi?   

I would also have many evenings (while still making friends here) that the idea of having a good bottle of cava and a Netflix binge would allow me to feel like I just died and gone to mindless heaven.  This wifi problem was just plain cramping my style.  Damn you, Internet!  I had become so reliant on Thee! Well, good thing the Universe was listening to my thoughts consuming this need for connectivity.  

While I was figuring out the details of how I could have wifi (in a temporary living situation), I found Paco!  You see, there is always a solution IF you put your energy into finding it, ladies.  Vice versa, there will always be a problem, if you put your energy there too, so be sure to set your frequency Kenneth and dial in that good vibration for manifesting what you need to find your happy place.  

Mine this week and for many to come, would be at a no frills Catalan style cafe, called Tabalots (with free wifi), where a cold drink and a cafe con leche were always waiting, and a great conversation in English with Paco was always on the menu.  Here I enjoyed my fill of cerveza (beer), cava (Spanish champagne), and cafe con leches (coffee with milk).  I would also experience the lip smacking glory of a Spanish candy bar called Kinder Bueno for the first time, and it was not only Kinder good; it was grrrrrrrreat!  Did you see what I did there people?  (My minimal Spanish, infused with a cereal reference from the 80's.)

I'd also become schooled in a different type of bikini here at Tabalots.  Hold the tube tops gals; because this one is Spain's version of a grilled cheese. Pressed Serrano (dry cured) ham and cheese.  Yes, please!   

image from foodbarcelona.com and updated by Bohemian Agent

The point of this post is that this so-called problem of having no wifi at home introduced me to an iconic little joint in my new neighborhood.   I may not have otherwise discovered it if I were sitting home slugging back cava while zoning out to Netflix.  

Side note:  Even when I eventually figured out my wifi issues at home, I still preferred to sit at Tabalots as frequently as possible to feel more connected to the community and my sweet little Spanish neighborhood.   

Image from Tabalots Facebook Page

Tabalots is located at Carrer de la Diputació, 44, 08770 Sant Sadurní d'Anoia, Barcelona.  It's the first cafe you will see on the left as you enter the wine village by way of the train from Barcelona.  Be sure to stop in and say hello to Paco and his lovely wife Billie for me!  Have yourself a cold cerveza (beer) on tap and one of my favorites was the grilled chicken sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and mayo (bocadillo de pollo).  This is a great stop if you are into Spanish football (soccer) and want to have an authentic neighborhood experience during a game.    

Phone: 938 91 06 75

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is the beginning of my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I post every Monday and Wednesday.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

xo,
Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent

Be sure to give what you wish to receive

Tiny Adventures in Spain:  Today I would be reminded that I might love traveling, but I am not a "fly-by-night" friend, and how important community is if you decide to adopt a mobile lifestyle.  

I had been "a movin and a shakin" my first couple weeks here in Spain and finally felt settled in enough now to start missing my friends and family from back home.  I left in such haste to take this unexpected job opportunity abroad that I couldn't spend much time with all my special peeps before leaving the country.  I had been down this "moving road" before, and parts of relocating just aren't easy.  

As an American (teaching English) in a small village in Spain, I had some explaining to do here.  For small town villagers, uprooting from your home is an unlikely thing to do.  I often got questioned about leaving home and about missing my family and friends while here in Spain.  

Of course, I missed my family and friends.  I had been missing them ever since leaving home for the first time when I was just seventeen years old and heading off to college (in California by way of New Jersey).  Being far from home doesn't stop me from missing my loved ones.  How could it?  That would be complete madness.  I love my family and friends from home (and now back home to me has several locals: New Jersey, California, Colorado).

I love meeting the beautiful people of the world, but the ones that I have left behind are never forgotten.  In fact, they have now become more important than ever before.  I'd never take one moment with them for granted like I might have when I could see them every day.  I'd never lose the chance to tell them I loved them like I might have forgotten back home because I was just "living my life" with them side by side.  I would never pass up the opportunity to reminisce about the chapter in time that we had the pleasure of being together every day or close to it. 

Quick Facts:

New York - Los Angeles 2451 miles.

New York - Barcelona 3842 miles.

Spain wasn't my first move from home.  Heck, I was a Jersey girl coming to Spain by way of a ten-year stint in Colorado after living in California for several years.  I had done this all before, and as soon as flying is the requirement for visits, all moves are pretty much created equal in my book.  Sure, the flight was longer now, and nobody spoke the same language as me, but I was still feeling love all around me and was being well-taken care of here in this fabulous foreign land.  I have always been very fortunate to receive what seems like "immediate" and genuine love from others (no surprise here, because that is just what I give to everyone I meet).  My mother always said, "Jeanne might not have a lot of money, but she is rich in friends."  Well, that couldn't be truer.  I was very rich in friendships and love and always have been.   I truly appreciate the kindness of people, and I present myself to everyone I meet with my heart, right on my sleeve, at all times.  What you see is what you get up in here!     

What I can't do, however, is guarantee how long we will be neighbors, but I can assure my people this!  "You have my heart, my full attention, my love and my friendship from the first moment I meet you until the last breath I take."  I might love traveling, but I am not a "fly-by-night" friend, and this, my chicas, is paramount if you decide to adopt a mobile lifestyle.  There is nothing more important than having a strong sense of community, real friends and love all around you.  So be sure always to give what you wish to receive, and you will always feel a hug from the universe wherever you go!  


 

 

"Jeanne, you will always be surrounded by people who love you wherever you are"   Mike Volk of Manhattan Beach, CA

 

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is the beginning of my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I post every Monday and Wednesday.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

xo,
Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent

Pan con tomate!

Tiny Adventures in Spain:  Today's lunch invite would land me a lesson in how to prepare a favorite Catalan starter called Pan con Tomate at a rustic wine bodega in the Penedès.

The weekend had officially arrived, and I received another invite to eat! Hooray!  This time I was going to a wine bodega located in Lavern (Subirats) in the heart of the Penedès (halfway between Barcelona and Tarragona) and just outside of the tiny Spanish wine village where I lived.  Here I would find out where Cava and Gastronomy join hands together and sing Kumbaya, my Lord, Kumbaya!  Ha-ha!   I had no idea what to expect, but I was about to enter into a unique "weekend only" eating experience at a beautiful wine bodega on this lovely Spanish afternoon.   This little gem was called Canals & Casanovas, and they provided a very rustic traditional Catalan BBQ experience (offered only on the weekends) at their family owned wine bodega situated in the heart of Spanish wine country.  Picture cava, with an open fire BBQ, surrounded by vineyards, while sharing food in a big family party kind of way.  Spaniards love their grilled meats and veggies, and here we would find wonderful choices in grand portions of anything from delicious grilled artichokes to sausages. 

It was a crowded restaurant, but we quickly found ourselves a temporary seat to enjoy a bottle of cava while we waited for our table.  Upon entering the restaurant from the exterior, I began to smell the tantalizing BBQ lingering into the air from the open fire grill.  It was a loud Spanish style dining room, so don't come here expecting a quiet ritzy lunch for two.  Expect in-your-face flames, excellent cava, fresh food with a rustic Spanish ambiance.  

Today, was the day that I first learned about the ever so famous pa amb tomaquet (bread with tomato written in Catalan or otherwise known as Catalan bread) which is typical of Catalunya country.  This simple dish is also known as pan con tomate (bread with tomato written in Spanish).  My wonderful hosts would show me how to prepare this lovely bread in the local Catalunya style. Picture big hunks of country bread rubbed with fresh garlic (this part is optional for the breath conscious) and then each half of a sliced tomato is rubbed into the bread somewhat turning it into a fresh tomato marmalade.  From here you drizzle on your choice of fresh olive oil (there is no shortage of it in Spain) and a dash of salt.  Yum!  I was experiencing such joy in the simplest  of ingredients  here in Spain that are often overlooked back home in the U.S.  My palate was having a complete rebirth as I began to re-introduce life's simplest pleasures to it on a daily basis.

This countryside bread was not only suitable for the freshest of tomatoes, but also the perfect resting place to spread some freshly made aioli.  Aioli is another big Mediterranean starter here in Spain created with garlic, olive oil and sometimes an emulsifier like an egg to whip it all together.  From here we enjoyed the seasonal calgots, which I had described in an earlier post as something similar to a leek or a scallion, then grilled, peeled and dipped into a special romesco (nut and red pepper) sauce and eaten.  I loved the grilled artichokes and sausages that followed and just when I couldn't eat another thing, they came with desert! 

For desert, they served up flan with whipped cream and known in the inner circles (yes, we are in!) as Pajamas because you will likely pass out and nap after you finish it.  Don't forget to dunk some sweets into your digestif or you can choose to simply sip it down and digest.      

On the way out, I'd find out that this family bodega carries three generations of vine cultivations and here they take great pride in their craftsmanship of cava, wine, and olive oil.  And...if you stick around long enough, you might have an opportunity to chat with all three generations, like I did, after stuffing my face in a "no rush" Spanish way on this particular Saturday afternoon in Spain.   

Side note:  When it comes to cava, I was always told to order Brut because the other varieties are filled with tons of sugar.  Well, you don't have to worry about getting a sugar hangover here!  It's all natural baby, all of the cavas here are only of the Brut variety.  Hooray for no-brainer sparkly beverages!   

Canals y Casanovas is located at Joan Maragall 24, 08770 Sant Sadurni d'Anoia, Spain.  Make it part of your weekend lunch plans!  
Telephone: +34 938 91 11 03

Hi, I am a Bohemian Agent, a Female Traveler full of wanderlust and adventure!  My name is Jeanne Connolly, and this is the beginning of my travel story.  I hope you join me for the ride.  Bohemian Agent is a travel blog dedicated to inspired story-telling, life after 40, international living and travel experiences as a solo female explorer.  
 
Sending love and adventure your way until the next post.   I post every Monday and Wednesday.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog for all our updates.  

xo,
Jeanne, The Bohemian Agent