Authenticity

MicheladaAmanda left Wednesday for Mallorca, so I’m left to my own devices for the next 10 days. After spending my first night alone getting a bit more settled and rearranging things in my apartment, by Thursday night I'm ready to go out. As it turns out, I have a new American friend in my building. When I first began looking for an apartment in Barcelona, I made contact with an attorney from Austin named Regina who had posted her information with a local house sitting website. After some email correspondence about the possibility of being roommates, we ultimately decided to both get our own singles, though in the end they turned out to be in the same building (!Perfecto!). Last night, Regina and I took a quick trip to La Boqueria Mercat for some groceries, had drinks at a bar off La Ramblas and then ventured out to explore our neighborhood, in search of a restaurant Lonely Planet named the best Mexican in Barcelona. When Regina first suggests it, I'm particularly excited, although it completely escapes me why I think Spanish-made Mexican food would somehow be more authentic than American-made Mexican food. Perhaps that’s the thing about Europe: everything just feels more authentic. Being from Texas, Regina is cautiously optimistic.

Our neighborhood’s vibe is a hybrid of swank and bohemian and on a Thursday night it’s absolutely teeming with hipsters. Block after block, the sidewalks and intermittent plazas are full of people and the air feels alive in a way I’m not sure I’ve experienced before. I decide on the walk that learning every inch of my neighborhood is my new #1 priority.

We make it to the restaurant by 9:30 and are happy to find the wait is only 15 minutes. We order drinks and watch the bartender bustling behind the bar making a large tray of micheladas, which Regina explains is a popular drink of cerveza, limonada and salsa picante in a salted glass. We opt instead for white wine sangria, which we take to our table a few minutes later. By 11:00, we have gorged ourselves on guacamole, tacos and a dish Regina has ordered which is unidentifiably submerged in what must surely be the most decadent cream sauce ever served in a Mexican restaurant.

Mojitos, micheladas, margaritas and white wine sangria all contain significantly more sugar than a dirty martini. In that respect, Barcelona is a hangover waiting to happen. Effective this morning, my wait is over.