I’m going to start writing up all the restaurants I’ve been to over my first three months in Barcelona. Furthermore I’m going to set the bar way too high with my first entry, which I doubt I’ll be able to top.
Barrio: El Raval
Address: Carrer La Cera 33
Price Range: Insanely Cheap
Like most my love affairs, this one was spawned by cheap empanadas, a mountain of which are piled inside the front window to L'Avia to allure passersby like a cute puppy that’s loaded with juicy ground beef and shaped like a half moon. OK, so maybe it’s not that similar to a puppy.
And like any relationship, L’Avia and I have had our ups and downs, such as when they unexpectedly raised their prices from €1.20 to €1.30 per empanada. I decided to let this sly as Mario was the first to introduce me to crema Catalana, which is the exact same as Crème brûlée, so I figure I owed him one.
In addition to said empanadas, the fun is in trying to figure each other out. And with the shop’s owner, Mario, there is a lot to figure out.
Mario’s a portly, bald-headed old Uruguayan who is always there, an impressive feat, since it’s one of the few spot in BCN that’s seems to never close. It's open until 1 am or later six days a week for lunch and dinner with no siestas. It wasn’t until my third visit that I noticed the collection of books sitting on top of the glass cooler showcasing what appears to be every kind of Latin food known to man.
The books were all written by Mario Mariano Pérez Ruiz. For a moment I wondered if the same man who bakes 12 different kinds of empanadas and cracks jokes at everyone who walks in his restaurant could also be the author of books dissecting the Voynich Manuscript, Pythagoras, Free Mason Society, as well as a collection of short stories he collected while the Barcelona metro system. Then I poked inside one of his book’s jackets to find a picture of the same bald-headed, bespectacled man that stood behind the counter.
I was not really sure where to go from here, except obviously to Google, which first revealed that although he has a complex understanding of any and all conspiracies related to the pyramid on the back of American dollar bill, his web design skills – or ability to find someone to design his website – are not quite on the same level.
Secondly I found an interview with Mario, which would be an extremely dense read in English and has proved even more challenging to read in Spanish.
I’ve roughly translated excerpts to understand he’s initiated into the Freemasony and… well I’ll just let this speak for itself.
Miquel: But that is remote viewing ...Again I’m not sure I’d be able to fully grasp all this if it was written in perfect English. I obviously have so many questions, mainly where he finds time to write these novels while he works 100 hours a week.
Mario: Yes. The above time remote viewing is the geometric figure. And there is another association secret in the U.S. that uses this method to travel in time and space. To leave the body ... prove to be true are asked to bring a little order there. And if there are cases.
Miguel: Yeah of course ....
Mario: No documentation but if there are cases. When Noriega, before entering his house, did astral travel to see what's there. He described that conformed to what is found when they entered.
Additionally I found a Spanish-written blog that echoed my experience with L’Avia to a T. At the end of his post he writes:
Releo todo esto. Temo por mi vida. Me siento rodeado. Lamentablemente, debo regresar por otro alfajor más. Puede ser una trampa, lo sé, pero no tengo otra opción. Iré mañana. Recen por mí.
I reread all this (in reference the aforementioned interview). I fear for my life. I am surrounded. Unfortunately, I must return for another sweet dessert. It can be a trap, I know, but I have no choice. I'll go tomorrow. Pray for me.