We're coming down to the wire! The poll results so far happily jibe with my thinking. The race is currently boiling down to a choice between keeping olallie or going with Contigo. It's a dead heat.
I see the difference between the two as a question of emphasis. Olallie focuses more on the restaurant's local seasonal perspective, Contigo more on the menu's Iberian inspiration.
Contigo ("with you") is also more overt in its message that dining is about relationships and connection, about sharing a table with friends. Olallie is more subtle in this regard. As one poetic olallie supporter points out, because the berries grow in clusters and each berry is itself an aggregate of many drupelets, olallieberries can be seen as metaphors for togetherness. The Olallistas are fierce in their devotion, aren't they?
Let's be honest here. Olallie is the reigning heavyweight champion. To defeat it is going to require an equally inspired contender. My question is this: of all the possible Spanish and Catalan choices out there, is Contigo the best? Is there another word that better communicates the kind of friendly, bubbly conviviality that I want my restaurant to have, the ambience I find whenever I visit my favorite tapas bars and mom-and-pop storefront restaurants in Barcelona (Cal Pep, Pinotxo, Quimet Quimet, Bar Inopia) and San Sebastián (La Cuchara de San Telmo and Aloña Berri). I think Contigo does a pretty good job of communicating that vibe, but I want to push myself (and you all) to see if there's something even better.
As I've mentioned before, I would prefer to come up with a more poetic metaphor if I could. Or something from a Spanish or Catalan saying. Unfortunately, creating metaphors in languages which are not my own (and in which I am far from proficient) is a difficult task to pull off. It requires a level of subtle understanding of Spanish and Catalan that I don't possess. Cava (the Catalan sparkling wine) would have been perfect if there weren't already a wine bar in San Francisco named Cav. Best of all worlds would be a cute metaphor that conjures up images of Barcelona conviviality in English, but I have yet to hit on one. Something to do with sardines?
What follows is the crème de la crème of my latest brainstorming session. La nueva ola (the new wave) of Spanish contenders. Most of the new ones are in Catalan, as opposed to Contigo which is Spanish. Let me know if you like any of them better than Contigo by voting in both polls. You'll be happy to learn I'm not hiding the results of today's polls!
"Neighborhood" in Catalan. A few of you liked del barri, which is one way of saying "local" in Catalan. This distills it down to its essence. My restaurant aspires to become a gathering spot for the neighborhood.
[Edit: I added this one at 3:30] You remember this one? Upon reflection, I remembered the "art of the mouth" captures that sense of conviviality and romance I'm after. Plus, its primary meaning in several of northern Spain's regional dialects is anchovy.
La bona vida is "the good life" in Catalan. I added bona (good) to one commenter's excellent suggestion of Vida. The Catalan sense of "the good life" matches our own in English. Donar-se bona vida means to lead a happy life without hard work, problems, or worry. Sounds nice, no? The 2 words are also easy to pronounce and spell, perhaps more so even than Contigo.
"Store" or "shop" in Catalan . It captures the simple fact that my restaurant is basically a small urban storefront. In fact, over the past 100 years it has been every kind of storefront business imaginable, from barbershop ("tonsorial parlor" as it was known) to clothing store to fishmonger to computer store. Also easy to pronounce and spell.
[Edit: I added this one at 3:30 pm] Pronounced "bray-cha." Mercado de la Bretxa is the main food market in San Sebastián. I include it due to the similarity in spelling to my name and because it says Spain and market fresh. I haven't included it earlier because I am concerned about pronunciation and spelling issues. Plus, it's not the prettiest sounding word. There are also some sad realities about the current incarnation of the market which I touched upon here. Everything sold at la Bretxa is still impeccably fresh and of the highest quality, though, as you can tell from these various photos.
"Hot moon" in Spanish. Comes from a love sonnet by Pablo Neruda, one of my favorite poets.
mam i teca
Old Catalan slang for "food and drink" (actually "drink and food"). Roughly equivalent to "booze and grub." It's the name of a little tapas bar in the Raval neighborhood of Barcelona. Pronounced mom-ee-tayka.
"Vineyard" in Catalan. Could also be la vinya. Places the emphasis on the wine program. Wine, both sparkling and still, is the social lubricant that does such a good job of encouraging conviviality. There is also an urban-rustic wine bar/restaurant in Barcelona named La Vinya del Senyor. Easy to pronounce and spell.
Please vote in both polls! The first allows multiple answers. Note: olallie is not included in these polls as it is already a finalist. These polls are simply to find out if you think there is a better name than Contigo, the current leading contender to potentially dethrone olallie.
Now choose your favorite of these Spanish/Catalan names.
Thanks for continuing to play the Name Game! Tune in tomorrow or Saturday for the final Smackdown: Olallie vs. _________?