So the next stop was on the way to the South of France for some rest… But the ride there caught us in Figueras (or Figueres in Catalan…) and I happened to know a place where it is absolutely necessary to stop. It might not be the most traditional but hey, we’re coming from about 16.000 Km so, seen from there, it’s all the same right? Actually no, it’s not, but amazing food is amazing food and creativity is good, at least in my book.
Here is what Rowena K. has to say about it, while I am enjoying some cider…
“It’s worth it. No doubt. I’d go out of my way even, to track down the saccharine, soggy mess of a teriyaki chicken bowl at the airport food court, force down unidentified airplane mush and overcooked pasta, endure the worst of watery coffee and travel indigestion, to prepare myself for that first meal. The one you know you’re going to have when the 25-hour congested, seemingly endless, anxiety-laden ordeal is over. This time, that first meal would be satisfied by the curative powers of Catalan-style tapas.”
French Food Roadtrip 2 – Figueres – Txot Sidreria
Figueres is both the birthplace of Salvador Dali and home of Txot Sidreria, a cider bar that serves tapas dishes designed to accompany traditional Basque cider. The cider was delicious, drier than the traditional English brew and poured always with a flourish, but make no mistake, I arrived there, bleary-eyed and puffy from too much air travel, to eat.
The cold tapas could sense this, I’m sure. They cheerfully greeted us as we entered the empty restaurant around 8pm, a little too early for the locals, from the artfully lit buffet at the bar. From there, we chose our handsome little bundles of bread topped with layers of soft cheeses, cured meats, pickled anchovies and grilled vegetables.
We followed the cold dishes with moltes cosetes, which included both stewed (in cider, of course) and cured txorico (chorizo), patates braves (fried potatoes in a traditional spicy sauce), and peixet fregit “sonso”, a kind of miniature Mediterranean sand eel lightly floured and fried until they’re golden and crispy and addictive as potato chips.
The stars of the night, though, the remedies that fully woke me from my listless, weary state, were:
(1) Bacalla a la brasa amb ‘pebrotets de Padron’: Codfish braised until pearly white, luxurious and moist, served with the local…
(2) Padron pepper: Eaten in one bite to the stem. Normally quite mild except for, so the tradition goes, the one pepper on the plate that causes an unsuspecting diner to reach, panicking, for a glass of water.
(3) Sipia a la planxa: Cuttlefish grilled so slowly and lightly and perfectly until it strikes that often elusive culinary balance between smokiness and sweetness. The large-headed beast, despite being toughened up by fire, feels soft and gentle and soothing in your mouth.
Soothing. Comforting. Curative. I slept soundly and contentedly for the rest of the car ride to our beds that night. Hours of air travel erased, just like that.
Read the Entire French Food Roadtrip
After dragging ourselves out of the Cider-induced madhouse of Dali’s Figueres,we venture to the third stop on the French Food Roadtrip: a small house in the Pyrénées.
What could be better than that – A small house in the mountains? Oh yes, stop 4 on the French Food Roadtrip: Roussillon and the Sea.
After refreshing ourselves at Roussillon and the seaside, now it is time to move on and jump in the mix of French Food Roadtrip 5 – Center of la France!
Once you have a taste of the city, nothing but the best will do. This is where we take the French Food Roadtrip 6 – to Lyon & Grenoble.
This is getting intense people & I think you can feel it. Now that we survived Lyon by protecting ourselves with some of the best local cuisine, wine and beer we venture to French Food Roadtrip 7 – le Buget and Montbéliard in le Jura.
What is Choucroute? Come with us and find out on the French Food Roadtrip 8 – La Maison de la Choucroute in Strasbourg
And finally–though this is not the end–we must finish our French Food Roadtrip 9 – En passant par la Lorraine.