Friday, May 6, 2011

mi Tomatina: paella bar SPOT#2

As we waddled slowly back into our car (obviously because of how stuffed  we were) we were still trying to figure out the next order of event yet to take place on this oh so sunny day off. The events that occurred that day will be forever known as our EPIC/CULINARY/FUNTIMES/WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED/WHERE AM I? DAY OFF..........................enjoy.

frank g: I know you will probably think I'm crazy and that I have a masochistic deathwish, but what do you say we roll unto la Tomatina over at Winter Park? I just went there the other day and had an amazing time, besides we don't have to eat much, their tapas are tiny yet delicious (as if Brian needed any convincing LOL).

bmoll: Let's roll man! It's a good location, I've heard good things about the Chef, and you can't go wrong with some flavors of Spain.  

frank g: Oh man, I cant get that ouzo taste out of my mouth. Whoever says they like black licorice is a damn liar!!

bmoll: No way, love black licorice....remind me to buy you a shot of Galliano later. 

We park, gather our wallets, cell, courage, and head on down to SPOT#2 to meet up with some of our friends joining us for the evening. Again, the weather has been gracious enough to allow us to sit outside and just relax soak it all in. Oh, and the people watching is also a plus!

frankg: Dude, to be honest with you I am about to burst at the seam. I should probably take it easy and just order some water and light tapas, don't you think? 
Our server approaches, and asks: "What can I start you off with today?" "I'll take a Magic Hat", totally contradicting my previous plan on allowing my body to recover.

bmoll: I put the faith of my sherry selection in our server.  Have to say, it was a good choice.  Sweet but not quite, deep yet mellow; think liquid fig with a touch of oak, and the complexity of a good brandy.  

frankg: Ok, I know you have had 'pan con tomate' before, but check out what they do here. Last time I was here I could not get enough of their version of this classic. Fresh tomato, some garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and a touch of oregano, totally gets your palate salivating in anticipation for the rest of the tapas.

bmoll:  I usually push bread service to the side but I cannot say "no" when it is done right. A loaf of bread with a crackling crust, an open crumb, and a simplistic accompaniment; done. This sauce is fresh, flavor dense and straightforward. I love the simple life!

Orders start flying to our table, and soon enough plates covered nearly all our table leaving almost no usable area left. 

bmoll: You gotta try the Morcilla Empanada.  The pastry is done well and the filling is succulent and seasoned just so.  The morcilla is complimented instead of covered up.  They managed to keep the "metallic" taste out of it, props to the chef.  What do you think of the chive aioli? 

frankg: Duuuuuude, it's good. I've had different versions of the infamous "blood sausage," but this one is quite different. It has the consistency of Mexican chorizo and has that "offal" taste one seems to pick right out of the gate, but no one at the table seemes to mind. They made quick work of them too. Oh, and that shell; so crispy, so flaky, and so much better than its "cornmeal" relative.

bmoll: Croquetas de Jamon: Potato, Serrano ham, a little egg, and deep fry that bad boy.  Whenever you can give me a fried item that is light and the contents are lush, delicate, and or supple, I am a happy man my friend. They did just that...see my smile? 

frankg: You keep on gobbling up those croquetas man, but are you seeing this dish? A perfectly braised oxtail; shredded with a side of truffle whipped potato foam. Ok, ok, so one thing I've learned is to never get swindled with nifty, mollecular, futuristic presentations or preparations. Blame it on being disappointed many times, or call it "a hard to please foodie" or what not ( personally the title irritates me), but I let my palate do the talking nowadays. It has yet to lead me astray.

bmoll: Wow, that braise is "da sticky!"  It eats well and the "foam" has a good flavor.  You taste potato and truffle and the texture is not as airy as it looks.  I agree with you on the "modern" style, they could have just as easy gave me truffle mash, and I would have been just as satisfied.  Yet I appreciate the effort and if we are talking in terms of "foam," this one probably had one of the better texture I have had.  

frankg: Next up, gambas a la plancha glazed with honey and lavender. Slightly sweet, salty, and definitely floral. The best part, everything north of the tail. The juices and delicious bits contained inside the shell of the head. I dared one of our friends to give it a try, but I guess I wasn't convincing enough. Next time.

bmoll: I gotta say, the plancha is one seriously underused piece of kitchen equipment.  It just makes the shrimp so intense.  Diggin the lavender...

bmoll: Piquillos Rellenos:  Deep roasted red pepper flavor of the sauce, loving the salty manchego, and the filling completes the dish; they nailed the brandade (look it up, we might quiz you someday LOL). 

frankg: I don't know if i can even try these to tell you the truth man. I'm splitting at the seams, and I'm afraid, because we are only halfway into this culinary escapade. Check please!!
bmoll: You said that when you got here but good call...I gotta walk it out before we continue. Ha

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