Tickets - Barcelona, Spain

Saturday, October 8th, 2011 | click here to comment

{This is an excerpt from a larger post. To read my entire post on Barcelona, click here.}

At 7 PM I dashed over to Tickets to beg my way into the restaurant and amazingly enough, they were able to seat us. I think it was pure luck and timing, but I'm grateful either way, as my meal at Tickets was hands down one of the best I've ever had. I seriously wanted to weep with joy at moments during the meal, but I'll get into that later. Ordering gluten-free at Tickets is not really a problem as the majority of dishes are already gluten-free, although the few dishes with gluten looked absolutely incredible.

The atmosphere in Tickets is meant to mimic a circus. We were seated at a bar facing about 30 Maneki Neko's, those Chinese good luck cats. These particular cats were gold, with arms that waved up and down - all in various points of movement. A little cray-cray to look at.

the menu

The menu was a small book, and we probably ordered half, systematically making our way through as much as we could possibly eat.

no forks, just tweezers to eat with

To start we had the watermelon impregnated with sangria. I'm sorry they had me at hello on this one. The flavor of sangria was subtle in the watermelon, but you still got that boozy feeling after eating a few.

watermelon impregnated with sangria

We moved on to the 5 year old Joselito Gran Reserva Iberian ham next, which unequivocally blew the Iberico ham at Tapac 24 out of the water. Seriously I have NEVER had Iberico ham or even proscuitto as delicious as this. It literally melted on my tongue with a perfectly balance flavor of nuttiness, meatiness and salt. All i could mumble while I was eating it was "like butter...mmm"

joselito gran reserva 5 year old aged Iberian ham

The next dish was tuna belly sashimi "painted" with Iberian ham fat, served in the style of iberico ham. The tuna was flawless, but the portion was a little large, even between two people. The tuna will taste like whatever you focus on, so if you go into it thinking it will taste like ham, it will lean towards that more, I came into it thinking tuna and it still held that tuna flavor, just slightly augmented with the nuttiness of iberico ham.

jamon de toro

We had the razor clams after that, something I had seen on various food-focused travel shows a ton, but had never tried before. I figured if there was any place to try it, Tickets would be the spot. The clams were served with ginger sauce and "lemon air," although I couldn't tell you if they were better than most, since it was my first experience razor clams, I can say that these were quite good and I'd try them again.

razor clams with ginger sauce, cayenne pepper and lemon air

The next dish, the lobster, almost had me weeping with joy at my seat, although the copious amounts of wine and cocktails I had consumed by that point probably made the whole thing more dramatic than it really was. I like lobster, and I've had some really good lobster before, but more often than not lobster tends to be overcooked or just OK at most restaurants, so when people go gaga over lobster, I'm usually the one in the corners saying "meh".

lobster utensil

This was so not true at Tickets. The lobster was served whole, split in half and every inch of that crustacean was cooked PERFECTLY. I cannot emphasize it enough, the claws, the tail, everything was perfection and like eating a delicate cloud. There was a delicate flavor of ginger, or maybe paprika, but it wasn't overwhelming at all. The texture of the lobster was soft and velvetty, exactly the way I picture in my head whenever I think of lobster. Eating lobster at Tickets has ruined me for life. I won't eat it again anywhere, it's just not worth it.

spanish grilled lobster in light pickling

I was a little disappointed that I didn't order the lobster for last, but it was ok. We concluded the meal with Tickets' version of patatas bravas, which were confit potatoes topped with boiled iberico ham. Delicious, fatty and quite honestly exactly what my alcohol filled belly needed to end the night.

confit potatoes in olive oil with pork rib sauce and boiled Iberian ham

The desserts all seemed fantastic, but after seeing Anthony Bourdain eat a cotton candy tree at Tickets on No Reservations, I simply had to have it. Apparently they don't like to serve it during high humidity parts of the season since it will wilt and drip, but I begged and they brought it out for me.

cotton candy tree

Just prior to being presented with the yummy clouds of sugar, the lights had gone out in the restaurant, a blown fuse likely, but it had never happened before according to our server. There was a bit of a kerfluffle and the lights came back on, during which time Albert strolls behind the counter to lecture a chef about a dish being prepared. As he was leaving, he knocked my glass of water over, which spilled into my lap and all over my dress. He was extremely apologetic and really what was I going to say? You suck Mr. Adria?

albert adria dashing off

The cotton candy tree made up for it, and we went BACK to 41 Degrees to have MORE drinks. By the end of the night I was thoroughly lubricated and only looking forward to sleep. As we left through Tickets, Albert was standing there and again apologized to me, and me, being drunk and really not caring, pulled him into a hug and told him it was ok. You only live once right? I'm pretty sure he and his staff were scandalized, but I figure they would chalk it up to us being "los Americanos" anyway.  :) I feel like Tickets was the perfect way to end our short stay in Barcelona. I wish we had been able to make it to El Celler de Can Roca or to the Dali museum, but that will have to wait for another trip. Read more about my trip to Barcelona here.


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