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Old 14th March 2020, 11:39 AM   #31
yflyer
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Continuing with the TR...

Towards the end of MWC, on a free evening, I met up with an old friend now living in Barcelona...

We headed to Maestro, a restaurant and microbrewery located along Rambla de Catalunya...





The main dining room was large...



...with the microbrewery built right above the dining area...



Placemats illustrated the beer brewing process...



The finished product...



The weather was wonderful that evening, so we picked an outdoor table, set under a tent along the beautiful Rambla de Catalunya...



There was a selection of different beers, including a seasonal beer...



There was an option for a tasting of 4 beers, which I went for...



This was a wonderful way of getting acquainted with the different styles of beer available. My preference was for the lighter ones...

The tapas selection was wonderful too...between my friend and I, we went through a large quantity of these, all washed down with their wonderful beer...



In the above pic: Croquettes in the middle. Clockwise from top: Anchovies and olives, Iberian ham with bread spread with tomato, Crisp bread with tomato spread, beef tartar, Cheese, Iberian ham with quail egg on toast.

Last edited by yflyer; 15th March 2020 at 07:49 AM..
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Old 14th March 2020, 03:51 PM   #32
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On the last day of MWC, at the end of exhibition hours, an announcement came on over the PA to declare the exhibition closed. At that point a loud cheer could be heard throughout the halls, from the exhibitors and booth staff, who had been standing in the halls all week showcasing their new mobile phones and other products.

That evening, I headed with a colleague to Suculent, a restaurant in the Raval district of Barcelona, not far from La Rambla.



This was my third occasion dining there...

There is a bar seating and a small dining area on the ground floor, with a larger dining area upstairs.



We decided to go for one of the set menus, "02 Menu Suculent", with the wine pairing...



The seasonal/hunting menu looked quite inspired too, but that seemed too elaborate a dinner for that evening...



The welcome cocktail "Adonis"...



Mandarin jelly with olives...



La Guita Manzanilla sherry to begin...





Suculent's interpretation of Waldorf salad...



Delicious croquettes, filled with oxtail and "Trumpets of death" mushroom...


Last edited by yflyer; 15th March 2020 at 07:48 AM..
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Old 14th March 2020, 03:52 PM   #33
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The next wine, a white wine, was their in-house Suculent label...



...to pair with Red prawn ceviche with avocado and corn...



The next dish, lobster tartare, was simply delicious...





Then came "Ajo blanco", a traditional Spanish cold soup, served with smoked sardine and trout eggs, an inspired dish...



Next, a wine from a grape varietal I had never encountered, Picapoll Negre...



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Old 14th March 2020, 03:53 PM   #34
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While all dishes so far were superb, the most memorable dish of the evening must have been the chicken comb...



Served whole, in all its crowning glory, this actually tasted quite delicious, with great texture and mouthfeel, and a surprisingly subtle flavour.
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Old 14th March 2020, 04:03 PM   #35
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The next course was grilled calcots, a type of scallion...



And then a wonderful beef tartar on grilled bone marrow, one of my favourite things to eat...



Orube Rioja to pair...



The dishes kept coming...

Squid was next...tender and fresh. How come squid in Singapore doesn't taste as good as this?



More of their house bottling of Suculent (From VinsCru), a fruity and full flavoured Syrah this time...



This was the perfect wine to go with the final course of lamb neck with Moroccan style tabule...



The lamb neck was surprisingly tender...a very satisfying course.

Last edited by yflyer; 15th March 2020 at 07:47 AM..
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Old 14th March 2020, 04:06 PM   #36
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There were two desserts...

First, strawberries stuffed with white chocolate, vanilla and yogurt...



Delicious! Expecially when accompanied by dry, sparkling Cava...



Finally, cheesecake...



This was an exceptional dining experience which my colleague and I both enjoyed immensely, and a great final dinner in Barcelona before we both flew out the next day.
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Old 14th March 2020, 04:33 PM   #37
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My flight out was EK186 BCN-DXB, a 3pm departure, which meant that I still had the morning to head out for a run, and even a little shopping, before heading to the airport.

I headed out for a morning run, starting at my hotel, first passing the Sagrada Familia...



I continued down Carrer de la Marina towards the waterfont...



The view looking back towards the Sagrada Famila...



I reached the seafront and turned right onto the long beach front promenade, passing Frank Gehry's sculpture El Paix d'Or....



It was a beautiful morning to be outside...

I headed along the waterfront towards the W Hotel, with it's unmistakeable curved structure looming far ahead in the distance...



The locals playing Petanque...



I eventually reached the W...

The sky was a clear, brilliant blue and criss-crossed by jet contrails...


Last edited by yflyer; 17th March 2020 at 08:55 AM..
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Old 14th March 2020, 04:36 PM   #38
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I continued along the coastline...



...oggling at superyachts...



...and passing the Museu d'Histňria de Catalunya...



...towards Mirador de Colom...



...to my end point at La Rambla...



Total distance that day, 10km, all done at a relaxing pace in beautiful weather...

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Old 14th March 2020, 05:04 PM   #39
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The reason I ended my run at La Rambla was simple: not far away was Boqueria Market...



This was always the last place I visited before leaving Barcelona, where I would pick up Jamon Iberico and other goodies, and perhaps grab a bite as well...



On this occasion, I didn't have time to eat, but I passed by Pinotxo Bar, and was glad to see that the cheerful and welcoming owner, Mr Juanito Bayén, was behind the counter, as usual.



Years ago, in 2016, I was in Barcelona with Mrs yflyer, and we had eaten at the counter right there, enjoying Mr Bayén's coffee and Xuxos.

I took a quick look at the seafood available...too bad the flight was too long for it to be feasible to bring seafood home...





I bought Jamon Iberico...



I also headed to the butcher, Barrachina Lauma Carns, to pick up some Spanish beef...



The counter was manned by a very nice pair, an older lady, and a young man, who were both exceedingly helpful although I spoke no Spanish and they spoke limited English.

I have a hunch that Spanish Chuleton (Or Txuleton) steak will be the next big thing in beef...

Now that Wagyu is common place, it might well be time for Spanish Chuleton steak to rise to prominence. These are dairy cattle from Northern or Basque regions of Spain, raised to to the age of 8-16 years, which gives them an incredibly mature and rich flavour.

This is a big contrast to US or Australian beef, which are typically slaughtered at the age of 2-4 years.

As for Wagyu, I like Japanese steak as much as anyone, but Wagyu is all about marbling and tender flavour. There are many more dimensions to steak than that.

And that's where Chuleton steak comes in: There isn't a whole lot of marbling, but the texture and flavour are out of this world.

I requested some of the Chuleton steaks, asking them to slice it to a thickness that the locals typically requested.



While my steaks were being prepared, I spied some new cuts of beef being taken out for display...



I noticed that Charra de Salamanca was more than double the price of the Chuleton...

"What was Charra de Salamanca?" I asked.

"The Chuleton steak is good...but this one is VERY good..." she replied.

Well, I would have to buy some of that too, then...



More steaks were sliced...



These were carefully vacuum packed. There would be no time to freeze them.

While there is currently no commercial import of Spanish beef into Singapore, I think bringing a small quantity of beef into Singapore for personal consumption would not be a big issue, and I've not had problems so far.

I would hand carry the vacuum packs on my flight from BCN to SIN via DXB.

My shopping done, I headed back to the hotel to shower, change, before catching a taxi to the airport.

To be continued!

Last edited by yflyer; 17th March 2020 at 09:00 AM..
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Old 16th March 2020, 04:51 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yflyer View Post
Hi Lennyberg! Yes a shame that MWC was cancelled. It's always quite a spectacle to attend. The meetings and relationships built there do set the stage for business over the year. Travel aside, what I really am deprived of this year is my supply of Jamon Iberico, which I usually stock up on and bring back home, as it is very expensive in Singapore compared to Barcelona. In recent years I've also been a fan of Spanish chuleton steak (More on that later in the TR!)...



Wow quite a few trips. Your timing is good too, just before the Covid-19 situation worsened dramatically in Europe and the USA, and before all the travel restrictions kicked in...



I was one trip away from KF Gold requalification...my MWC trip on SQ to BCN (With return via MXP ..) would have done it for the year but as it stands, I am several thousand miles short of KF Gold. In normal times I would be thinking up excuses to travel to break the 50K barrier to requalify, but nowadays retaining FF status is pretty much the last thing on my mind. All up to SQ now, if they want to be generous and let me keep KF Gold another year.
Yeah. My timing for the trips were certainly well timed. I cannot imagine if I get the SHN when I come back. with 3 young kids at home. LOL

I am quite sure SQ will be nice enough. I will be writing to them for my PPS quals too. fingers crossed.
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Old 22nd March 2020, 03:26 PM   #41
yflyer
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Originally Posted by Lennyberg View Post
Yeah. My timing for the trips were certainly well timed. I cannot imagine if I get the SHN when I come back. with 3 young kids at home. LOL

I am quite sure SQ will be nice enough. I will be writing to them for my PPS quals too. fingers crossed.
QF has announced a 12 month frequent flyer status extension. I hope SQ does the same!
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Old 22nd March 2020, 03:46 PM   #42
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Continuing with the TR...

After heading back to the hotel from Boqueria Market with steak and Jamon Iberico, I showered and packed before checking out and heading to the airport.

It was packed at the EK check-in counters, as usual, but the Priority Queue helped. This was open to EK/QF Silver members, which was very welcome, as I was Silver at that point in time.



I cleared security, but rather than head straight to the international border control passport checks, I headed down the escalator to so some shopping in the EU airside area.



Downstairs, in the EU airside area, there were many shops and restaurants, unlike the international airside area, which had just a couple of shops and F&B outlets.





After some browsing and a quick meal, I headed back up the escalator to clear EU departure passport checks. There was a queue there too, so one had to allow sufficient time -- I almost didn't.

The lines moved a little slower than expected, and by the time I cleared passport checks, boarding at the far-off gate had already commenced.

I jogged towards the gate (Others were running...)...



...and got to the gate at 2.32pm (For a 3pm departure..) while they were making their final call. Some folks do that as routine, but for me it was a little too close for comfort. I was relieved that I made it on.



At the gate was A6-EDU...



This aircraft was 7 years old at the time, with first flight in mid 2011.



As this was just after MWC, the flight was full of departing visitors...



This was a 100% full aircraft...



I settled into my seat and switched my IFE to camera view and watched as the aircraft pushed back and took off...


Last edited by yflyer; 22nd March 2020 at 04:22 PM..
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Old 22nd March 2020, 04:02 PM   #43
yflyer
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The day's flight took us first over Tunisia...



Some nice views of the Gulf of Tunis and the Cape Bon Peninsula...







Dinner was served...





There was a choice of 2 courses. I picked the beef course (I forget what the other choice was...)...



A tasty starter...



The meat and potatoes tasted very good as well...



...with tender chunks of beef...



I washed it all down with Porcupine Ridge Syrah from South Africa...



Dessert was good too...a crumbly chocolate topping with a tangy fruit base...



Overall, an excellent Y dinner!

Last edited by yflyer; 22nd March 2020 at 04:23 PM..
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Old 22nd March 2020, 04:11 PM   #44
yflyer
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Later in the flight, I ordered a G&T...



...and browsed the music selection on the IFE...

There was a great selection of classical music on the IFE, including many complete works, such as Mahler symphonies.



Infuriatingly, while full details of the works themselves were provided, there was no listing of orchestras, soloists or conductors.

In-flight internet was quite reasonably priced, including a limited free tier and an unlimited plan -- thumbs up!



Lights were dimmed for the latter part of this 6 hour flight...





Like EK's 777, there was a "starry night' lighting effect in the cabin...



There were drinks laid out in the galley...


Last edited by yflyer; 22nd March 2020 at 04:23 PM..
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Old 22nd March 2020, 04:21 PM   #45
yflyer
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Prior to arrival, a snack was served...



This was a chicken/turkey ham and cheese sandwich...



Approaching DXB...



The IFE showed our arrival gate...



...and flight connection information...



I watched our night landing on the IFE...



At the gate in DXB...

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