Iberia Airlines put on a Catalan-style bash last night at the Mandarin Oriental to announce the first direct flight from Miami to Barcelona. That's good news for local food enthusiasts with a yen for travel, because Barcelona is a dream destination for great fare.
The party was great too. A well-heeled crowd munched on passed hors d'oeuvres from Carles Gaig, founder of the Michelin-starred Fonda Gaig in Barcelona. Bacalao fritters were a big hit, as was a take on salad russe.
Chef Nandu Jubany, star of Antoni Bassas's weekly program on Catalunya Rádio and TV3 in Spain, also cooked up treats -- such as foam-filled omelets -- at a separate station. Portuguese mixologist Paulo Ramos created cutting-edge cocktails, and Spanish wines poured freely.
Anchor and author Marian de la Fuente introduced executives from Iberia. "We are pleased to finally bring our world-class service to passengers wishing to travel to Barcelona with the offer of three direct flights per week from Miami International Airport," said executive VP Manuel Lopez Aguilar. To promote the new route, Iberia is awarding triple frequent flyer points for tickets acquired on Iberia's website through May 31.
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Then a large paellera was fired up, and paella was served to all.