Finicky for dinner: $668

At brunch with new friends earlier the same day, I had another late-breaking revelation that definitely helps explain why so much of what you read in the travel glossies is one step above resort come-ons. The host, an excellent cook, announced when we arrived that he had tried to make a coca, a form of pizza he got addicted to in a region that is Spanish in name only. It was new to me, and I once spent a good chunk of time and a lot of expensed money in Barcelona on assignment. He had such a clear sense of what the dough should be and was trying to outdo Colman to get that madeleine moment, but the experiment had faltered and so he had turned the pizza into a “Catalan calzone.” It was perfectly satisfying, but what it really made me realize is how much you miss in a foreign country when you fly in and out at the high end. The restaurant food in Barcelona when I ate myself literally sick there was splendiferous, but to this day I have no notion of how the real people feed themselves. Then again, maybe there are tourists leaving Manhattan today who don’t know from a slice.