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Or, end of work, start of holiday:-)

Though I have to say, as work goes, this is the kind of work I like... two beautiful cities in 5 days , two stunning hotels (my current one is ultra-high-design-modern in the new-hyper-new Diagonal hi-tech district - my room sports wall-high windows with two layers of electronic raisable blinds, an internal transparent bathroom suite, staggeringly gorgeous cosmetics, flat screen tv, free broadband, a phone in the loo, and everything is so blindingly beautiful in design and devoid of cluttering labels or intrusive instructions that it's extremely hard to work out how it works!! I woke up freezing in the night because I couldn't work out how to turn the (extremely efficient!) aircon off! (Oh and did I mention the rooftop pool and sauna?)

Two conferences down: two papers given, some new interesting people encountered (notably a wonderful US entertainment lawyer who liked comics, produced music on the side and was podcasting tapes Wm Burroughs had made- come to GikII, I said, predictably:) - also John Palfrey, the very impressive Director of the Berkamn Centre AND tall, gorgeous and er married :(, some very marvellous meals, probably much too much Rioja, Ribero del Duero and cerveza, and tonight, the unlikeliest meal I've ever had in SPain - teppanyaki!!

This was the idea of the American wunderkind Jonathan Zittrain, who's been following someone who blogs the best Japanese food in Barcelona. I was, to put it mildly, sceptical - the Spanish usually eat Spanish food and the odd Chinese blow out, just like French people eat French and the odd Chin-Ind. Only the benighted Brits need to dabble with alien food cultures.

But boy was I wrong. This wasn't the teppanyaki knife juggling and smoke and mirrors I've seen before in the UK, fun to watch but mediocre food - this was just exceptional speed, deft knifework, a certain degree of pryotechnicity, but mainly, fabulously fresh and fast cooked food. Oh my. A starter of pan fried foie gras, meltingly sweet, on toasted tiny shreds of toast. Soup made from miso and stock, with fried vegetables and greens and chunks of salmon and squid floating warm-poached in it. A crisp salad of leaves with sweet-sour-soy dressing. Marbled thick chunks of meat were somehow turned into tiny flat escalopes, pan fried, and folded over cheese and tiny baby spears of asparagus, served with three dipping sauces - maybe my favourite course, completely divine. I almost licked the plate. Fresh langoustines, de shelled and butterflied with knives, griddled with slices of garlic cooked to tiny crisps. More chunks of steak, thicker cut with griddled slivers of courgette and sweet potato. More miso soup, plainer, a palate cleanser? and finally piles of fried rice with prawns, which we all fail to dent. Oh no, it's not over - Spanish flan with caramel sauce (the nices I've ever had, more pannacotta than creme caramel) and the cafe solo (not expresso, this is Spain not Italy) I have learnt to order.

One of the single best meals I have ever had - Teppan, Marina Village near the Two Towers, Barcelona beach :-)
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.. didn't exist in Valencia, but do seem to exist in Barcelona. Odd that, huh? maybe it was so hot in Valencia the flies just keeled out of the sky and expired..

So I went to Barcelona. Valencia too dull, too hot. Barcelona 26 degrees not 35, vibrant, beautiful. Viva Barca!

I saw the Barcelona FC stadium, Sneerpout.. )

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