In my family, we call this The Good Luck Soup. It’s a Japanese ozoni soup that we eat on New Year’s Day every year. The ingredients are simple, yet so different. My aunty makes the broth from scratch, boiling kombu, clams and dried shrimp until the water turns a dark, clear brown color. Then she puts taro, shiitake mushroom, a fat piece of stretchy mochi for longevity and mizuna for wealth. She says the soup is supposed to bring good health for the entire year ahead…so you bet I had a second bowl.
I’m in love with Barcelona. This marvelous city was everything I imagined it to be. It’s colorful, artsy, and there was just too much to see in a few days. I really had to prioritize everything I wanted to see and experience.
We arrived in Barcelona early in the morning. Somehow my Spanish (hadn’t used it in a few years), kicked in and we were able to get around the city easily via taxi and the metro. We stayed at the Hilton Barcelona hotel on Avenida Diagonal, a few minutes from the main downtown area of Barcelona. It was alright with us since it was near Park Güell, a few minutes away from La Sagrada Familia and La Boquería.
La Boquería was one of the places I couldn’t get enough of. It’s a hub catered to both locals and tourists seeking fresh groceries, cheap eats, sweets and spices. This is the one place you go to for groceries and a quick bite. I bought some saffron, tried some gelato and salivated over the cute plastic-toy-like sweets. It’s amazing what you can do with sugar!
The second day, we went to La Boquería again and saw the bar that Anthony Bourdain visited during one of his shows. We ventured further into the marketplace and found that it was surrounded by numerous paella shops, seafood vendors and butchers that would sell paper cones full of jamón and cheese!
We tried so many different tapas in Barcelona. From toasted bread with tomato to baby squid and razor clams. The food here is very different. It seems fresher, less preservatives, simple and salty from the ocean. The seasonings are so simple: sea salt, saffron, garlic, olive oil, white wine. I have yet to try something I didn’t like.
The new year has been pretty mellow so far. I’m taking it slow, observing any changes in luck…like a ninja…waiting for some kind of excitement to strike!
No excitement yesterday either. My grandmother and I welcomed the new year with some traditional Japanese ozoni soup. My uncle makes it with lots of mizuna (mustard greens), clams, taro, shiitake mushrooms and mochi.