Showing posts with label tapas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tapas. Show all posts

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Diplomatico Rum Tasting and Dinner at Barcelona Wine Bar (South End, Boston, MA)

I recently had the opportunity to taste the line of Diplomatico Rums at a tasting and dinner held at Barcelona Wine Bar in Boston's South End with Diplomatico's master distiller, Maestro Gilberto Briceño.
Diplomatico Rum @ Barcelona
Diplomatico was founded in 1959 and adhere to the traditional Venezuelan way of making rum. They have their own yeast strain for fermentation and use sugar cane molasses and honey from sugar cane for their rums. Diplomatico's distillation process differs from most Caribbean countries which use column distillation. Diplomatico uses column distillation for their light rum, copper pot (to get heavy alcohols), and batch kettle for medium alcohols. The copper pot tradition came about because Seagram's used to make whiskey in Venezuela.

Anyway, the rums. We tasted six different rums from Diplomatico.
Diplomatico Rum @ Barcelona

Diplomatico Anejo
This is their youngest product, which is aged up to 4 years and a mix of light and heavy alcohols (which they get from the different distillation processes). The rum itself has a hint of vanilla and with light sweetness. This rum is good for cocktails and a great value at about $15 a bottle!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

$1 Tapas Blitz at Estragon (Boston, MA)

Did I tell you how bummed I was when I found out there's no happy hour in Boston? Yeah, happy hour deals on alcohol is illegal here. Sucks! But on the other hand, some of the restaurants here have great happy hour food deals. One such place is Estragon, a Spanish restaurant in the South End. On Mondays-Thursdays from 5-7pm is Tapas Blitz, where you can get tapas starting from $1 if you sit at the bar.

Among the $1 selections, the best choice is the Solomillo de cerdo (Seared Pork Tenderloin, Caramelized Onions, Mojo Picon)

Estragon
This is a really tender pork tenderloin on toast, and the mojo picon sauce is quite flavorful as well. For $1? I'll have three.

There are also selections of $3 and $5 tapas. The $3 ones include two jamon croquettes or a bowl of Fried pork belly ($3)
Estragon

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Smoke, Oil, Salt: A New Spanish Wine Bar on Melrose

A new Spanish wine bar has taken over the old Angeli Caffe spot on Melrose, with a kitchen helmed by Perfecto Rocher (formerly of Lazy Ox Canteen).

We started dinner at Smoke, Oil, Salt with olives amb bitets (olives, toasted almonds, Manchego cheese, $6) - a great starter!

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Followed by a traditional pa amb tomaca il llangonisses (Catalan tomato toast, homemade red and white sausages $6)
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I like the fresh taste of the tomato on Catalan toast, compared to Italian tomato sauce, and the homemade sausages are quite flavorful.

Vegetarians can opt for the truita de carxofes (artichoke omelet, Meyer lemon aioli, $11)
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Friday, July 5, 2013

Vintage Enoteca, A Friendly Wine Bar With A Female Sommelier

Female chefs have gotten more attention lately, but it's still pretty rare to find a female sommelier. Well, you can meet one at the very approachable Vintage Enoteca in Hollywood: Danielle Francois. It's not a frou-frou wine bar, but a friendly, casual place where locals hang out or go on a date while trying some interesting wines. In fact, while Danielle is the in-house sommelier and part-owner, the other owner is also a woman.

Owners Danielle Francois and Jennifer Moore worked in advertising in New York City. Tired of the of the advertising world, they moved to Los Angeles and opened Vintage Enoteca, wanting to create "a casual environment to explore and sip interesting vino and eat simple, yet delicious tapas that complements the wine." 

They opened Vintage on June 1st 2010 and Danielle went on to get her sommelier certification with The Court of Master Sommeliers. I took a look at the wine and beer list and was surprised at the number of unfamiliar names and varietals on both. I mean, I thought I've learned quite a bit about beer and wine over my blogging years, but still. There was Scheurebe from the Rheinhessen, a Grignolino from Piedmont or a Blaufrankish from Burgenland. The only word I recognize there was Piedmont!

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Anyway, I came in for a casual wine pairing dinner, starting off with a refreshing glass of Pascal Bellier "Reverie" Brut Rose from Loire Valley, France. This sparkling rose is 100% made of pinot noir grapes and going to be perfect in the summer months to come.

The food, as they claimed, is simple and affordable. The small bites are $6 and all the salads, flatbreads, and paninis are $10.

While it wasn't on the tasting menu, one of the other writers had heard a lot of their Crispy Duck Cracklings Salad ($10) and wanted to try it. The salad was composed of blue cheese, blistered baby tomatoes, arugula, creme fraiche dressing, and topped with duck cracklings.
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I'm glad we got to try this salad, tossed with the right amount of dressing. Of course, it's the duck cracklings that made it special.

Asparagus Salad (English pea, pickled fennel, chorizo chips, herb anchovy vinaigrette - $10)
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This was paired with Palomino: La Cigarrera Manzanilla NV, Sanlucar de Barrameda, Spain.
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Nope, not a white wine. This is a sherry! This dry sherry pairs very well with the anchovy vinaigrette, cutting the saltiness and fishiness. Danielle explains that the dry sherry pairs well in general with salty snacks.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

La Cachette Bistro Switches to Tapas Menu for the New Year

La Cachette Bistro is switching to a French-Mediterranean tapas menu come the end of this month. In the meantime, though, you can start ordering items from the new menu as well as the current menu.

A couple of weeks ago, Chef Jean Francois Meteigner offered a tasting of about 10 items for $50 per person. I think I got a few extra dishes when I went, but since blogging about all of them would result in a very, very long post, I'll just give you the highlights (which were still almost all of them ...) to let you know what you can expect. A few were paired with wines chosen by their sommelier, who had to be on her feet since this was the first night Chef Meteigner served the new menu items. I'd say she did a good job, though!

Many of the current menu items make an appearance, just in smaller portions.
We started with the Foie gras terrine and duck rillete with fig jam. Paired with Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc, Baron de Rothschild Collection, Bordeaux, 2008.

Foie Gras and Rillette
Foie gras and fig, a match made in heaven.

Bacon wrapped dates
Bacon wrapped dates
Sure, bacon-wrapped dates are everywhere now, but I like how the bacon here is particularly crispy. This was paired with a grenache that I had originally thought to be too young, but in fact paired very nicely with each decadent bite.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Noir: A Noteworthy Tapas and Wine Bar in Pasadena

The small street next to the Ice House Comedy Club seems an unlikely place for a small plates and wine bar with a classic bistro look, but checking into the small dining room on Mentor Ave I was surprised even more by the outdoor dining area tucked in the alleyway between the restaurant and the comedy club.
With lush greenery and a live jazz band, Noir is promising to be one of the outdoor destination spots in Pasadena. An extensive wine list and a kitchen manned by Chef Claud Beltran, former executive chef of Madeleine's in Pasadena, certainly doesn't hurt either.

Latin American influence has obviously found its way into Chef Beltran's menu with snacks like the Fried Cotija Cheese with chimichurri sauce ($8), which were a little too salty but very flavorful and addicting nonetheless. Dishes incorporating chayote sauce and specials with huitlacoche were also on the menu.
The risotto with calamari that was on the special that night didn't fare so well. The combination fell on the bland side and the risotto made the fried calamari soggy faster. Grilled calamari or a more flavorful accompaniment would have been better.

The rest of the meal was solid, from the lighter fares including the Fresh Burrata & Shaved Bosc Pears with walnut vinegarette & parsley coulis ($12) and the Heirloom Beet Salad with chives, roasted garlic vinaigrette & parmesan mousse ($7).
The fresh burrata and pear slices make for a nice and light appetizer. The heirloom beets had a subtler flavor that I am used to but were refreshing with a lovely texture.

Asian influences are similarly found in their well-prepared seafood and meat dishes.
Grilled Australian Lamb Chops with Harissa sauce & wild mushrooms ($15) were quite tender and bone-lickingly flavorful.
Seared Scallops with red curried squash purée, caramelized cauliflower & pomegranate seeds ($16) were generously sized fresh and juicy scallops, complemented very well with the spices.
Service was a little slow for us who were in a hurry to catch a play, so desserts were boxed up to go. Desserts that night were unremarkable but given the several good dishes we've had that night I, for one, would certainly come back for another try.

Pasadena is still lacking in its food scene and Noir's creative, globally infused small plates should spark things up a little. Not to mention the outdoor dining area is quite cozy for the romantics trying to avoid Old Town.

Noir Food & Wine
40 North Mentor Ave
Pasadena, CA 91106
(626) 795-7199
www.noirfoodandwine.com
Noir Food & Wine on Urbanspoon
Noir Food & Wine in Los Angeles

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