Crickets, Crepes & Chocolate

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If it weren’t for the Dunkin Donuts sign I would have made it back to the hotel before the sun arrived—and husband whose plane was landing at noon. But after a sangria filled night and a bit too much flamenco, I needed more than a donut to cure that Barcelona late-night.  Except I didn’t make it to the donuts either, thanks to a flock of locals who seemed to know about a better cure.  Had no idea where they were headed at that dark hour, but followed several women through an unmarked door and right into the largest market my sangria filled eyes had ever seen.  And not just any market, but a genuine food paradise and more dizzying than even Dorothy landing in Oz.  Oh my!  Stall after stall piled with fruits, hams, cheeses, seafood, vegetables, chickens dangling with their heads and feet still on, and herbs so fresh I felt like I had landed in Oz too.  Only to find out from Pablo, whose fresh crepes lured me to his stall faster than a sale sign at Harrods, that I had landed at the world famous La Boqueria Market–and, with just one bite of his crepe, told me I’d fall madly in love with him too.  And I did, since he also had a brother who could operate a video camera.

Oh, the luck and joy of it all, and wanted to pack Pablo up and take him back home, but doubt I would have cleared customs.  But to finally find my soul mate crepe maker.  Even now, I can still taste all those luscious flavors—fresh fig and goat cheese, nut and tomato, which I happily inhaled with a few glasses of cava too of course, the Catalan’s answer to champagne and the perfect early morning cure.  But nothing beats that shimmery fresh seafood simply prepared with love, passion and soul–especially a heap of prawns and sardines with a basket of fresh bread.  Even Dorothy would have pitched those ruby slippers for the chance to capture all that and I nearly pitched mine after covering every inch of the market and eating everything but the camera, including a bowl of ham and cheese encrusted crickets—and the not to be missed chocolate, which can cure any estrogen-laced craving.

But they say what, where and how a country eats tells you more about who they are than any book, and you only have to go to that famed market to know why it takes just one bite to fall in love with Barcelona.

If only I could have clicked my heels to make it back to the hotel before husband did.  Oh my!


  1. Holly Valdez

    February 15, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Wow, Sandie!!
    I so enjoyed this article and video
    About the market in Barcelona I could almost taste and smell it! It also brought back some
    vivid memories for me of my time there a decade ago!! Thank you for sharing!!! I am inspired again!

  2. Sandie Ward

    February 15, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Holly, I can see you skipping down Las Ramblas and better yet, envision you singing in a local Tapas restaurant swooning the locals!

  3. Kristin Thomas

    February 16, 2012 at 1:23 am

    Felt like we were there!! What a sensory wonderland. I’m especially taken with the crepe hombre. What style! Love the way he looked at you, patted his creation, made his little noises & flipped those bad boys. Yum!

With an Italian background, she cites her Mother and grandmother ( Mamie ) as the major influence of her love for food.  Yes, homemade pasta hung from the clothesline in the kitchen and rolling 100 meat balls for a holiday dinner was the norm.  Raised in Pennsylvania. she spent time in Atlanta, Georgia and ultimately settled along the stunning coast of Laguna Beach, Ca. Self taught in everything, she learned to appreciate the amazing flavors, scents and uses for exotic herbs and spices and applies her knowledge to cooking today. Despite enjoying other creative endeavors like painting, photography and clothing design, she realized she would never love another career the way she loves all the stories surrounding food.  And it's capturing those stories that has not only become her greatest passion but a culinary drug worth passing around!  After all, food is a shared experience and no one better to share it with than the entire world. And thus the Food Stalker was born, utilizing all that passion and her fearlessness to capture even the most impossible stories. It's one thing to write about food, but far more exciting to actually capture it and all those stories that make every scent come to life.  And once she sets out, there's no stopping her, because no one follows that scent better than her---and no telling where she'll end up next.  

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