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Published: September 30th 2017
Geo: 41.3879, 2.16992
Before re-incarnating as a young schoolboy in San Sebastian, I lived in New Jersey in the 1930s - now, with the huge Italian-American population in the area, spreading my message of peace, love, and noodles was like preaching to the converted! The Italians did not need me to teach them anything about noodles, so I decided to try something new, and opened up Buddha's Bagels.
It quickly became the neighbourhood's gathering spot, the place to come for a cup of joe, and an everything bagel topped with some nova and a schmear. But that wasn't what made my shop special - it was because my customers quickly became my friends, and with my bagels I offered up intellectual discussion on love, life, the artistry of noodle making, and quantum theory. Quantum theory in a bagel shop ... how is that possible, you ask?
Well, it all started one day when my future best buddy Al wandered in one blustery morning - he was quite the sight, his crazy hair violently tossed by the wind, making his head resemble a white porcupine. It wasn't until he came back the next morning that I realized his hair was just naturally like that -
you see, you probably know my buddy Al by his last name - Einstein. Ever since my bagels blew him away that first time, he would stop by like clockwork, every morning on his way in to work at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study.
Revolutionizing the world of physics was a stressful and all-consuming career, and I immediately could tell that he needed a friend who orbited outside of his academic world, someone that could keep him grounded in the real world, and not the theoretical one. Eventually, Al started stopping by at the bagel shop on his way home from yet another hard day of work - I'd close up shop and we'd sit around chatting, laughing, and doing shots of moonshine well into the night.
He was fascinated by my complete knowledge of the universe - having had an infinite number of reincarnations since the beginning of time, I knew all of the secrets of our existence that he had been investigating for most of his life. But though I could've told him everything he wanted to know, Al would never have it that way, wanting to unlock the mysteries of the universe by himself. Sure, I'd give him
a little tidbit here and there that would spur a new train of thought, but I would never outright give him the answers that he was seeking.
For all the topics we discussed over the years, there were two that really stood out - the first was an invention that we couldn't quite bring to life, a new kind of noodle that resemble Al's hair. We were going to make billions off of it, marketing it as Einstein Hair Pasta, a lighter and more delicate version of Angel Hair Pasta. But we just couldn't get the recipe quite right, so we eventually abandoned the idea.
The second was my Special Special Theory of Relativity - sure, you've heard of the General Theory of Relativity, and the Special Theory of Relativity, but what of this Special Special Theory of Relativity? Well, it's based on my countless travels around the globe, as I've eaten my way from continent to continent - the inspiration for the theory was born out of one of my first travels through Spain.
We theorized that the Basque Country is actually a parallel universe, and only appears to be a part of our existence because of a tear in
Buh Bye San Sebastian ...
... it's hard to tell, but not only I am gazing at my beloved San Sebastian as she disappears into the distance, but I'm also flipping the bird at those bastards for pulling me away from this paradise!
the fabric of space-time, granting us access to Basque culinary treasures through a wormhole. Don't believe me? Well, scoff as you like, because there was definitive proof of my theory today, as we left behind San Sebastian for Barcelona.
How else can you explain going from the gorgeous gastronomic experiences we've had, to the absolute crap that we ate for lunch today in Barcelona? Even worse, there's a second part to the Special Special Theory of Relativity that exacerbates the problem - when you go from amazing food to horrible food, the gap seems even bigger because of relativity! Think about it - if you have a bad sandwich in Barcelona, it would simply be bad. But when one of the last things you ate was sublime Spanish cochinillo the night before, that sandwich becomes beyond disgusting!
Want proof? Take a look at this spinach "omelet" sandwich ... it's missing one important thing - where the hell is the egg? Not only was the bread dry and stale, but I suspect the "chef" simply chewed up a bunch of frozen spinach, spit it up on the side walk next to a steaming mound of dog crap, and then stomped on it until
it had a bit of a patty shape, before finally slapping it into the bun and calling it my lunch! Even worse was when I had taken the first bite and found a hair in my mouth ... but it wasn't until I had trouble spitting it out, and needed to slowly peel it off of my tongue that I realized it was actually a fine metallic wire ... welcome to the typical culinary adventures in Spain, San Sebastian excepted, of course!
The funny thing was that Tri complained about his potato omelet sandwich being bad, but his was still way better than mine - relativity! I somehow managed to sucker John into trading half of his horrid tuna sandwich for half of mine, with John subsequently complaining that he thought his sandwich was the worst thing he'd ever eaten, until he ate mine - again, relativity! The sad thing is that nobody listened to the pleas of myself, Pat, and Tri, warning them that the food quality would fall off a cliff once we left San Sebastian, thinking that we were just exaggerating for comic effect. Sadly, we were not ...
Even worse was our experience at Lolita Taperia this
evening which, in my books, was one of the finest tapas bars in the World, but we were somewhat disappointed tonight. Sure, some of their classics like the fried eggplant wedges drizzled with molasses, and their fried rabbit ribs with garlic aioli were excellent, but the overall experience left us unsatisfied. How could that be? Well, it's relativity rearing its ugly head, yet again!
I've been to Lolita twice before with Pat, and once before with Tri - both those times, everybody was absolutely blown away by the food, and we couldn't stop talking about it after. When we came with Tri five years ago it was truly excellent, but it was before a stop in San Sebastian - get where I'm going with this? Having an excellent meal before a sublime one, that first meal will forever be remembered as excellent. But do it the other way around like we did tonight, and that excellent meal gets downgraded to just good.
But relativity works the other way, as well - my first time at Lolita with Pat was after a stop in San Sebastian, but before Barcelona, we stopped for a day of mediocre food in Zaragoza, long enough to
A Reminder ...
... that one in every three traffic deaths in Barcelona are pedestrians. Probably because we're all distracted by all the hotties in short shorts bahahahaha ...
reset our taste buds. From sublime food in San Sebastian, to bad food in Zaragoza, and then on to some excellent food at Lolita, left a very favourable impression and memory of Lolita.
Feeling somewhat shamed at our slightly-disappointing dinner, Pat, Tri, and I wanted to make things up for the boys by taking them to the best kebab shop in the World, a little hole-in-the-wall just off of Las Ramblas. I've been there four or five times before, and it was always fantastic - but not today! It has gone from being an indie shop to being one of a very large chain - the previous owners appeared to have been of Turkish descent, but the new owners are sadly and simply put, of the wrong heritage to produce a proper Turkish kebab. Again, relativity reared its ugly head, as we all longed for the killer kebab that we remembered having here previously ...
A stag is definitely not the time nor the place to wrack your brain analyzing the intricacies of my Special Special Theory of Relativity, so instead of driving ourselves insane trying to figure out why the food is so incredibly delicious in the Basque Country, yet
... a very famous, but quite plain, Spanish beverage made from ground nuts and/or seeds.
so horrible everywhere else in Spain, we did what the Spaniards do so well - grab a few drinks and bask in the glorious Barcelona vibe, without a care in the world ...
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