Forks and Jets

The true story of a couple or amateur foodie travelogues going around the world


Let Them Eat Foie Gras!

June 15, 2009 Spain


A year is a long time to try to budget for and food can be a pretty portion of the daily plan. In Europe, the food is amazing, enriched by culture and given time to develop. The oldest real world game of RISK, Europe’s colonialism blended food traditions. To deprive oneself of this wealth of food would be a tragedy, almost as sad as depriving oneself of the hard-earned nest egg that is paying for this trip.

With this mindset, we arrived in Barcelona, and with this mindset we heard of Can Paixano. This place looks like a hundred year old short order counter squeezed into an even older building — just a thin space with no sign outside and a long counter with standing room only.

The floor is littered shin-high with the discarded wrappings of the best sandwiches you’ve ever tasted. Fine and uncommon ingredients have locals elbowing each other for a crammed piece of countertop barely deep enough to hold your glass and bottle of champagne. Yes, your bottle of champagne.*

Sobressada and Cheese

That bottle of champagne costs 2.20 Euro and big sandwiches range from 1.7 to 3.2 Euro. To the budgeted traveler, this is the mother lode. Many of the greats of European cuisine find their way to you for pennies of their worth.

Lomo, Serrano and Foie Gras

We start with a bacon and foie gras sandwich. The best heart attack between two tasty pieces of bread you can experience. There is a sobressada and cheese; lomo, serrano ham and foie gras; bacon wrapped bratwurst; for the more adventurous, sardines with cheese. Is this really happening? Pancetta, fresh hand-cut Iberian smoked ham, and Salchicha; the list seems endless and yet you know the massive billboards above the grill are finite.

Sardine and Cheese

With a smile on our face, we ended the feast with the lightest cheesecake we have ever had. Simple and not sweet, it appears to have been steamed so that it can melt in your mouth without the overwhelming richness customary to cheesecake.

This is Perfect Cheap Food, the kind of experience leaves you understanding a little bit about the true meaning of good eating. Food is for the soul, and when its just right you find a little heaven.

*For all you oenophiles: since it’s not from Champagne, it’s just sparkling wine, and in our case a sparkling Rosado.


  1. David says:
    June 15, 2009

    It’s a rare sight to see backpackers mention, let alone eat, foie gras on their travels, which is exactly why I’m subscribed to your blog! Keep it up! I miss European food!


  2. jen laceda says:
    June 16, 2009

    How do you guys find these places? Are you CIA or something? Bacon and Foie Gras Sandwich…how good is that? Tell me, tell me, before I get a heart attack!!


    • Team Rees says:
      June 18, 2009

      These sandwiches were stupid good. We also got pretty stupid through the second bottle of Rosado. Super lucky find, just wandered the side streets looking for noisy crowds. This place was overflowing!


  3. lara dunston says:
    June 18, 2009

    This place looks very familiar but it’s 6 years since we were in Barcelona so I’m going to have to look it up again in a few weeks and test the old memory.

    Jen sent me – and I’m glad she did! Love the blog/site and the pics are stunning! Great stuff! Glad to have found you.

    My husband and I are living out of our suitcases too – 3.5 years now, stuff in storage in Dubai (our home since 1998) – we’re professional travel writers and he’s also a photographer, and we’re here in Mallorca working on a book (and he’s shooting 3) and we’re desperately trying to find typical local authentic places to eat at. Jen thought you had been here and might have had some tips…?

    We’re using all our usual methods, talking to locals, chefs and restaurant managers in particular, but the same places (in all the guidebooks, websites and magazines) keep coming up. We’re searching for places without German and English menus. Places where tapas are tapas-sized not mains. Places where the patrons are speaking Catalan. They have to be around here somewhere. We have a few more weeks so we’ll continue to explore, but do let me know if you have any suggestions.

    And let me know if you need tips for any destinations.



  4. Dave and Deb says:
    June 21, 2009

    This is awesome. To find places like this are heaven and they often come right at the time that you need them. Just the food alone is calling me to Barcelona. ( well the cheap champagne as well :))
    Love your site and can’t wait for more great cheap places to dine around the world.

    Dave and Deb


  5. Audrey says:
    June 21, 2009

    After eating tacos, pupusas, and rice and beans for the last 4 months, I am salivating reading this and looking at the photos. And the price is really amazing. I imagine you’ll continue to find more of these gem places as you travel through Europe – please continue to share them all, too!


  6. amy says:
    June 28, 2009

    from a foodie new yorker with a tightly budgeted backpacking trip through europe planned for this fall, a heartfelt THANK YOU! my first time visiting your blog and i’m hooked.


    • Team Rees says:
      July 10, 2009

      Amy, pleased to meet you and we are tickled to have been a help! I hope you LOVE your time in Europe and you come home overfed and happy — I know we will be.


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