magic squares

beautiful, colorful Barcelona

I have spent the spring impatiently waiting for warm weather in New York, hopping a flight in late March to wander sunny Barcelona streets,

park in Barcelona

and its long stretches of parks, and the elaborately encrusted Sagrada Familia,

Sagrada Familia

with its Gaudí figures and ornamentation,

Sagrada Familia

including a Magic Square on the outside of the unfinished basílica.

a magic square at Sagrada Familia

The inspiring inside is filled with light from the stained glass playing off itself and the organic columns, and ushers in a curious sort of local and tourist reverence.

Sagrada Familia

In nearby neighborhoods, there are plazas also filled with light and the sounds of guitarists practicing before standing just outside restaurant patios,

quiet courtyard

and in April, chocolate shops filled with Easter houses (characters sold separately).

characters sold separately

Visiting for a few days, I started a wonderful habit of Cava and Jamón ibérico from the nearby La Boqueria on our roof deck, reading into the late afternoon before meeting friends for very fresh fish and crispy Pan can Tomate.

cava and jamon iberico on the porch in barcelona

From Barcelona, we went to Cannes, where I discovered Margalet, a cheese much like Camembert, at the fabulous Ceneri – the sort of cheese shop you feel you cannot make a mistake in, the selection is curated so thoughtfully.

Margalet (like Camembert)

A perfectly ripened cheese makes for such quiet happiness.

While in Cannes, we were part of a small but determined expedition to the famed Colombe D’Or, the restaurant with early art from those later collected by museums. The trip there and back was just as entertaining (hairpin turns!) as the witty conversation at the table, and we were the last to leave the dining room and walk back through the picturesque town.

somewhere in the town by Colombe D'Or

And a few weeks ago, back stateside, we celebrated a family birthday on the charming boyfriend’s side in New Orleans, that city where the trees grow beads in season,

the trees grow beads in the Garden District

and where it is possible to source a glittery birthday cake on short notice.

Glittery birthday cake for Rod in New Orleans (thanks, Sucre!)

Near our hotel in the Warehouse District, I walked to Cochon for an Abita and a glance at the menu, watching as the heat melted the butter for the rolls,

biscuits and butter and Abita at Cochon

and unable to resist, I ordered their Cochon de Lait that arrived on top of braised cabbage and with a cracklin’, a good omen for a snappy city I try to wander through on my travels as often as possible…

cracklin on top of cochon and braised cabbage at Cochon

More pictures and stories from these trips in the next issue out this summer of a food magazine I’ve started called Saucy. You can buy the first issue (it used to be called Culinaesthete) on Magcloud in print or digital formats. Your support of the magazine so far (hello, new Australian friends!) means the world to me.

Related posts:

  1. You Have to Believe We Are Magic
  2. 2011: the best of a lesser year
  3. Everything was Alliuminated