My first entry had to be about my happiest place on earth, Cuines Santa Caterina in Barcelona. It's the bar-restaurant I wish existed in SF because if it did, I would actually buy a place close to it so I could make it my watering hole (my watering hole in SF was actually Koh Samui & the Monkey but that's another blog, another day).
The food is representative of everything I love about modern Spanish cuisine - fresh ingredients cooked quickly and simply, flavored with plenty of good olive oil and sea salt.
Special of the day: peas and squid cooked in clay dish and beef carpaccio rolled with foie gras
No meal in Catalunya is complete without a wedge of tortilla and some pa amb tomaquet (bread rubbed with tomato and olive oil)
Fried chorizitos - chewy nuggets of salty fatty goodness
Grilled pickled pearl onions and artichoke hearts with pesto
Wash it all down with a glass or two of rioja or cava and....bliss.
Food rating: **** and a half
Bang for buck rating: 5
Location: adjacent to Mercat Santa Caterina in El Born district in Barcelona
Best dishes: fried chorizitos, jamon iberico, grilled artichokes and onions, grilled assorted vegetables
Avoid: I hate to say anything negative about my happiest place on earth but their daily specials can sometimes be oversalted
Average price for meal for 2, excluding wine: 50 euros