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Tuesday, June 3, 2014- Lunch, Snacks, and Dinner on the flight from Barcelona, Spain to the USA

Jamie says: After a little delay and a friendly family debate on when we wanted to board, we were seated and buckled on our American Airlines plane headed towards Miami International Airport. There was no one in the seats in front of us, so K, Dad, and I moved up to the more roomy seats.

Before boarding, I had asked about the timing of our meals and snacks. The plan didn’t match the reality, but the snacks came soon enough.

Tex Mex Nachos (aka rice crackers) and OJ

Tex Mex Nachos (aka rice crackers) and OJ

I was actually excited about lunch- Hawaiian Chicken with a (good) mystery sauce, rice, and carrots, a side salad, a sunflower seed roll, and some other packaged grain snacks/desserts that I saved in case I got hungry.

Lunch, American-style

Lunch, American-style

The flight felt a little long. Between sleeping, eating, and reading the time did pass, though. I stood a good chunk of the time, reading Think Like a Freak, a book Andy, Kathryn’s boyfriend, bought for her for the trip. I loved it. (It’s by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner if you want to check it out.)

And the food kept coming. The chocolate-lover in me enjoyed the Kit Kat bar for a change but left the non-chocolate foods behind.

Snack time, round 2

Snack time, round 2

I was getting hungry (surprise), and didn’t know if there would be any more food coming since we had our meal and two snacks like the first flight, so I dug into my backpack and had a few snacks. And then came this hot, cheesy, deep dish pizza. And I had to try a bite or two or three… it was delicious.

Deep dish pizza

Deep dish pizza

We safely landed and claimed our baggage. We took a shuttle to our car at Park ‘N Fly, which was actually quite impressive. They brought our car to us in this covered garage and put a bottled water in the front cup holder for the driver. When our phones registered the time, we gained time and still had the afternoon ahead of us. We were tired. Dad and I went for a walk together in the neighborhood. The family was exhausted and went to bed super early. For the first time in forever, I was the last one up. What an awesome trip we had!

Post-Spain…We reminisced about our amazing trip, shared our photos (P.S. Kathryn recovered her lost ones from Madrid!), and accented our homes with our Spanish souvenirs. We wore our new clothes and ate some of our Spanish treats. We missed each other. But soon, I visited K (in my new orange espadrilles) for a post-Spain sister’s weekend; we celebrated Father’s Day; we gathered for our annual family reunion on the beach; and celebrated K’s 25th birthday.

Relaxing at K's apartment in my Spanish shoes

Relaxing at K’s apartment in my Spanish shoes

The memories are still fresh but fade with time. My goal is for the blog to bring me and my family right back to Spain- biting into the delicious tapas at the gastronomic bar, having our breath taken away at the Sagrada Familia, and singing “Stand By Me” with the bar tender  in Barcelona. Two Sisters Dine Out will keep our amazing family trip alive.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014- Breakfast (part 2) in Barcelona, Spain at the airport

Jamie says: We arrived at the airport- and I was praying there would be a McDonald’s in house so I could satisfy my McDonald’s pancake craving. (Remember the walk on Las Ramblas where I saw that delicious-looking stack of McDonald’s pancakes with chocolate syrup? I still craved that stack. Oh, the power of suggestion.)

And hallelujah, there was a Mickey D’s in the airport. I ordered the chocolate covered pancakes with a mini mountain of whipped cream. I hadn’t had McDonald’s pancakes in years.

McDonald's pancakes with chocolate syrup and whipped cream (and a water)

McDonald’s pancakes with chocolate syrup and whipped cream (and a water)

They tasted like a mix between a Duncan Hines yellow birthday cake with chocolate frosting (I hope with no trans fats, though), Starbucks, and Fox’s chocolate syrup. It was truly a delicious treat.

Craving satisfied!

Craving satisfied!

It was getting close to that time where we needed to be by our gate, but before I left the Golden Arches, I went back for a bag of apple slices- and got the last one. Timing is everything.

The last bag of apple slices

The last bag of apple slices

It was then time to power walk back that long distance to our gate, which seemed shorter with a full and satisfied stomach.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014- Breakfast (Part 1) in Barcelona, Spain

Jamie says: It was departure day, our last morning in the beautiful country of Spain. I was pretty much already packed from the night before, so I climbed down stairs, with breakfast in hand, to the pool. Breakfast was simple- a box of milk I had picked up earlier in the week from a Spanish market, one of the last of my Kashi bars, and the last delicious Spanish clementine.

Milk box (in Spanish)

Milk box (in Spanish)

I enjoyed reading the nutrition facts and box information in Spanish on my little milk box.

Nutrition facts (also in Spanish)

Nutrition facts (also in Spanish)

Soon enough, it was time to grab my suitcase, catch our taxi, and head to the airport. It’s been wonderful, Spain!

Monday, June 2, 2014- Dinner in Barcelona, Spain at La Rita

Jamie says: On our first night in Barcelona, we attempted dinner at La Rita. The menu looked stellar, and we were ready to commit, but we were early and the restaurant didn’t open until 8:30 PM (which was typical for non-tapas, sit-down dinner spots in Spain).

La Rita- finally- and the finale!

La Rita- finally- and the finale!

This time, though, on our last night in Spain, we were seasoned. We had adapted to the later eating and were ready for a delicious, late dinner, Spanish-style.

Inside La Rita

Inside La Rita

The bread came out first and I was ready for it. (My food-safety mind did notice there lack of lining in the basket, though.)

Bread- warms the soul

Bread- warms the soul

The menu items looked tantalizing. As an appetizer, I ordered the “Escalibada’ grilled vegetables, like red pepper, eggplants and onions, with anchovies, tomato, and garlic on coca flatbread.” (That’s literally what it said.) It came out with a generous amount of red peppers, just like a stuffed roasted red pepper, inside out, with a hint of rosemary. It was screaming “Italian.” The dish was a comfort food that reminded me of home-cooked Italian cuisine, like Grandma’s cooking. It was delicious.

Red pepper with anchovies- reminiscent of my Italian Grandmother's cookin'

Red pepper with anchovies- reminiscent of my Italian Grandmother’s cookin’

For my main meal, I ordered the “salmon scaloppine ‘mini-cut’ with asparagus, tomato concasse’, green apples, and lime vinaigrette.” It was drenched in a tasty olive oil, which I loved. Honestly, I was grossed out with the first one they brought out because it was cooked on the top and raw underneath. They said that it was supposed to be like that. They were very kind and brought me out another one (or recooked it). After a little, I was able to eat it. The apples and capers had the most prominent and strong flavors. It was really delicious, too.

Salmon scaloppine, pouring with flavor

Salmon scaloppine, pouring with flavor

K’s curry chicken was amazing, with a nice heavy sauce. I ate it while I waited for my second salmon to be cooked. It went well with the rice with raisins. Mom’s meal came with a cream brûlée, but we spooned into it before we could get a photo. It tasted like vanilla pudding and had a crunch on top that tasted like toasted campfire marshmallow.

Anniversary dinner with the wonderful Mom and Dad

Anniversary dinner with the wonderful Mom and Dad

At the end of the dinner we recapped our awesome trip.

J & Mom

J & Mom

We made up silly awards to give to each other, and remembered doing something similar in Italy. We also took photos in the mirror and nice pics together.

Dad & K

Dad & K

The journalist in K heard some breaking news. And Mom knew just the spot to go- Placa de Catalunya.

Placa de Catalunya was the place to be!

Placa de Catalunya was the place to be!

The King of Spain, Juan Carols, had abdicated his throne! And his son was taking over. Some Catalyans felt that there should no longer be a king.

Political rally in Placa de Catalunya

Political rally in Placa de Catalunya

My sis dived into the action and started interviewing the peaceful yet passionate demonstrators in the plaza.

My journalist sister, getting the inside scoop

My journalist sister, getting the inside scoop

This local said he wore this outfit all day and that earlier there were flocks and crowds of people in the plaza!

Passionate citizen

Passionate citizen

There was also a group singing in joyous and hopeful unity. What a fun night and way to end our trip!

Monday, June 2, 2014- Dessert in Barcelona, Spain at Museu de la Xocolata

Jamie says: After our wonderful trip to Barceloneta Beach, we walked the outskirts of the port. Our destination? Ultimately, the chocolate museum!

Chocolate is... amazing, happiness, delightful...

Chocolate is… amazing, happiness, delightful…

Our ticket into Museu de la Xocolata was a dark chocolate bar, which I quickly ate. It had the flag of your country of origin on the wrapper.

A chocolate museum entry ticket!

A chocolate museum entry ticket!

The museum was relatively small, and we sauntered through it in less than an hour. I read about the history of chocolate and peeped through the glass boxes at the various chocolate replicas of recognizable pieces, including the water fountain from Las Ramblas.

Chocolate version of the water fountain on Las Ramblas

Chocolate version of the water fountain on Las Ramblas

I was excited to see a chocolate model of Olaf, the snowman from the super popular Disney movie Frozen.

Chocolate Olaf from the movie Frozen

Chocolate Olaf from the movie Frozen

My favorite piece of chocolate art was the chocolate rendition of the Sagrada Familia.

Chocolate version of La Sagrada Familia

Chocolate version of La Sagrada Familia

The chocolate molds for the Easter bunny had a retro and comforting feeling.

Easter bunny molds

Easter bunny molds

At the end, we paid a visit to the gift shop. I bought two dark chocolate bars- one with candied oranges and the other with dried red berries. I thought these chocolate dipped spoons were cute and had a great, (or should I say grand) message…

It's true! Life is grand!

It’s true! Life is grand!

Upon leaving the museum, we entered a less touristy area of town. We saw kids playing in a courtyard and stumbled upon this awesome Mom and Pop shop where K and I made great purchases for our apartments.

Shop local

Shop local

On our return walk home, we stumbled upon this awesome arch, Arc de Triumf, that resembled the Arc of Constantine near the Colosseum in Rome.

Looks like the Spanish version of the Arch of Constantine

Looks like the Spanish version of the Arch of Constantine

We sure did happen upon quite a few unplanned, but awesome, surprises.

Ladies' selfie

Ladies’ selfie

Next stop- the hotel- to pick up Dad for the anniversary dinner!

Monday, June 2, 2014- Lunch on the beach in Barcelona, Spain at La Guingueta

Jamie says: From the Christopher Columbus statue, we took a taxi to the beach. The cab driver spook some of the best English of any local yet and was listening to a hard rock version of an older American song, which I somewhat enjoyed. We soon arrived at the beach.

Hello, Barcelona beach!

Hello, Barcelona beach!

The cab driver dropped us off at “the place to eat,” but it didn’t appeal to us and was quite pricey. We walked to the boardwalk. The crazy thing is is that we were on the beach- and there were mountains in the distance! (Oh, and check out that shiny gold awning. Honestly, I’m not quite sure what it was, but it was cool.)

Boardwalk

Boardwalk

It was exciting just to be on the beach.

Beautiful Barcelona beach

Beautiful Barcelona beach

We paused for a family selfie…

Hello from the Stolarz family

Hello from the Stolarz family

…and continued on our journey. On the way to finding our destination lunch spot, I was intrigued by the open, shack-like pavilions on the sand. I soon learned some were restrooms…

Prime real estate potty

Prime real estate potty

…and some were restaurants. Now that’s where I wanted to be- at a restaurant that was literally on the sand. My Dad found one with a fresh, trendy style.

Trendy bar area at the restaurant

Trendy bar area at the restaurant

We were seated at a table right by the sand.

Let's do lunch at La Guingueta!

Let’s do lunch at La Guingueta!

It was ordering time. Guacamole was in line. I’d been craving it. We ordered it for the table. A generous portion was served with chips.

I love guacamole!

I love guacamole!

K and I did a pick two. Meaning, we shared two items. We decided on the tuna sandwich and the spinach salad.

The spinach salad was tasty. It was topped with a variety of dried fruits, chunks of cheese, pine nuts, and a nice oil-based dressing.

Light and tasty spinach salad

Light and tasty spinach salad

The tuna sandwich looked plain but was surprisingly good. I ate my sandwich piecemeal. First, I took the top off and ate the bread with a garlic mayo and olives. Then I went for the bottom half of the sandwich with tuna and oil.

Tasty tuna sandwich (don't be deceived by the plain look)

Tasty tuna sandwich (don’t be deceived by the plain look)

Mom ordered a tomato bread, which like the tuna, also looked plain but was a pleasant surprise.

Spain loves their bread with tomatoes

Spain loves their bread with tomatoes

I enjoyed dipping the bread in the chipotle sauce (which gave it a spicy pop) and garlic mayo (nicely salted and with a perfect amount of garlic flavor).

Chipotle sauce and garlic mayo- the prefect spread for bread

Chipotle sauce and garlic mayo- the prefect spread for bread

After lunch, we hit the shore. Compared to the beaches back at home, I noticed two big differences- the dress code (there were a few topless women) and the absence of seashells (their seashells were rocks). I was so excited and surprised to see the beautiful rocks on the shore. I had a flashback to that special day in elementary school where they brought in stones in sand with hidden rocks for a mini geology lesson. I carefully selected most of my rocks and then took a random handful for some variety. My family let me go at it…I was in my element.

Rock hunting! So happy!

Rock hunting! So happy!

I loaded my backpack with about a kilo of rocks (it was worth the weight), and we headed back to the boardwalk. On the way back, I saw some creative shelving at one of the beach restaurants that screamed “Pinterest.” Don’t you agree?

Pinterest-worthy!

Pinterest-worthy!

And the icing on the sandcastle cake? Running into public art dedicated to the water sports- water polo, swimming, and diving! The first two- J & K sports! (K and I played water polo and swam together in high school, and I continued them at the club level in college.)

Go water polo and swimming!

Go water polo and swimming!

I soon realized how big water polo is here. There were huge banners advertising upcoming tournaments not only on the side of the aquatics building, but also on little posters in the city.

H2O polo. It's a big deal here!

H2O polo. It’s a big deal here!

We said goodbye to the beach and decided to walk back into the center of town. I was so glad we made it to the beach!

Monday, June 2, 2014- Dessert in Barcelona, Spain at Happy Pills

Jamie says: Barely breaking into our walk down Las Ramblas, K and I made a quick left for a shop called Happy Pills.

Welcome to Happy Pills

Welcome to Happy Pills

It was made to look like a pharmacy with sugary candy. Quite hilarious.

A candy pharmacy

A candy pharmacy

 

I surprised myself and purchased some sugary (non-chocolate) treats. It soon hit me why this once in a decade craving struck. It originated when we first got to Barcelona- our  taxi cab driver from the train station was popping gummies the whole cab ride on the way to our hotel. Jeez, the power of subliminal messaging.

Picking up my "prescription" aka candy

Picking up my “prescription” aka candy

So I followed K’s lead and went for it. I picked the size of my pill bottle and went around the store picking one of this and one of that. At the end, they seal it with a safety lid (haha) and you get to pick out your prescription sticker.

J & K mini-adventure

J & K mini-adventure

Fun, fun- J/K style!

Sisters!

Sisters!

We continued our walk down Las Ramblas.

The 30th anniversary walk of Las Ramblas

The 30th anniversary walk of Las Ramblas

K and I “stopped to smell the roses.”

Stop to smell the roses

Stop to smell the roses

Soon nature called. I was ever so thankful for the chain restaurants for the relative ease of using their restrooms. While I was on a hunt, I went into a McDonalds and saw a picture of pancakes with chocolate drizzle and whipped cream. I surprised myself again in craving the pancakes. I totally wanted them but was on a mission. (Their restroom was out of order. I guess I jinxed myself.) KFC was the answer.

We continued our walk. I popped a handful of the sugary sweets. They were awesome.

My candy choice. Ready to give 'em a try.

My candy choice. Ready to give ’em a try.

When we reached the Christopher Columbus statue, we took a family Gator picture to submit to the University of Florida alumni magazine. We laughed about how we would display and position the Gator shirt.

Go Gators! Gator Nation in Barcelona!

Go Gators! Gator Nation in Barcelona!