Weekend Getaway, Day 2 - Gratallops

After Buil & Gine we ventured into Gratallops to find the next winery and perhaps a trusty menu del dia.

It was ABSOLUTELY FREEZING, but it was really difficult traversing the tiny streets, so we parked the car and explored the little town by foot. Brrrrr.

So many beautiful buildings.  This was the local church.

Someone's cozy Gratallops home.

We stumbled upon a restaurant called Piro, and when we went inside, it was absolutely bustling.  Everyone in town must have been in this little place.  I didn't want to stick out any worse than we probably already were since it seemed like everyone was pretty much a local, so this was my attempt at a covert photo with the camera on the table.

I cannot say enough about how amazing the food was.  The menu del dia always comes with two courses - the primero plato and the segundo - along with bread, wine and dessert.  Usually the primero plato is something a bit lighter like a soup or salad.  Feast your eyes above on our "light" first course!  Brian's was the most delicious spinach crepe and mine was roasted vegetables on toast with manchego cheese.  This picture doesn't do justice to the enormity of that fabulous crepe.

For his segundo plato, Brian decided to be a little adventurous and order the escargot!  And when it came out it was just that, a bowl full of snails!

The dish came with two sticks so you could manhandle their little bodies out of the shell.  It was REALLY hard for me to watch.  Ew.

I ordered the Catalan version of Tortilla Espanola, and it was AMAZING. The top triangle was a spinach quiche of sorts and beneath was a triangle of more traditional tortilla with eggs and potatoes except it was made with some sort of soft white bean.  The whole thing was swimming in a great tomato sauce.  Brian thought it was one of the best things he's tasted yet.

We're probably missing out on all the great desserts, but we've gotten in the habit of asking for cafe con leche instead of our dessert at the end of our meal.  We're just too darn full with all the great food they serve in the primero and segundo platos, not to mention the obscene amount of bread and oil we're consuming.  One thing we've noticed at every restaurant is these little personalized sugar packets.  You'd be hard pressed to find a generic sugar packet around Spain.  We've pondered over dozens of cafes con leche about the probable business models in the custom sugar industry.  :)

John Deere in Espana!  Brian wanted me to take a picture of this for his dad who is a cotton and peanut farmer in West Texas.

It never gets old peering down narrow cobbled streets only to see rows and rows of grape vines.

We noticed that all the pueblos had pretty similar churches.  All were about the same size with this identical bell/clock tower.

Yet another amazing wall.  I love all the textures. It makes me think of those children's books where you touch all the different surfaces to learn the corresponding adjective.  Don't know what my adjective would be here....

We were so full after Piro and a morning full of wine tasting at Scala Dei and Buil & Gine that there was no possible way we could taste anymore wine.  So we forewent the second winery on the list in Gratallops and decided to head home.  We made a brief pit stop in Poboleda, another nearby village, to give one last go at finding the last winery on the list, but it was freezing and we were kind of walking in circles. So back to the hotel!

Brian caught this gorgeous moment on film as we were driving home. He only had time to take this one photo before the sun literally slipped right behind the mountain.

We pulled over the little Ford Ka and watched the sunset for as long as we could stand the cold.  It was breathtaking; this photo doesn't even do it justice.  Then we zoomed up the hill to our hotel and hopped back in our comfy bed in our warm little room. We were so full from lunch that we skipped dinner and called it an early night.

So a day that was supposed to include 5 wineries ended up being 2.  Not to mention a fabulous lunch, a few impromptu village tours and one unforgettable sunset.  Not bad I'd say!

The plan for our last day was to tour an olive mill and make a stop in the capital of the region, Falset.  But we also knew better than to expect that our day would go according to plan...