Adventures in Eating & Cooking
Alas, I have finally completed my 3-month long Surgery clerkship! This called for a celebratory, catch-up supper with my Unnie back in NYC (although honestly, I was very tempted to just sleep my weekend away). Buttt, I’m so glad that I went to Boqueria with Unnie because we had some good tapas and good times~
We started off with some Sangria cocktails: Sangria de Naranja Sanguina & House Sangria with Rose Wine. I liked Unnie’s naranja –> aranja –> orange-flavored cocktail because the tequila was strongly masked. Unfortunately, I had less luck with the House Sangria. I am not a fan of the grassy herbal aftertaste of tequila that makes the liquor special. I understand this aftertaste (and the drunken effect) is what most tequila-drinkers seek, but I was honestly hoping for a more fruity, wine-based drink. Especially because the menu omitted tequila as a main ingredient, implying a more traditional sangria.
We started off with the succulent Datiles con Beicon, or bacon-wrapped dates. The sweet gooey dates enriched the salty smoked bacon, creating a delicious blend of two powerful flavors. I usually avoid bacon because it’s too salty for my palate, but I could probably eat this combination all day. One of the more memorable plates~
For two Asian chicks, Unnie and I sure love our potatoes! (We got 3 dishes with potato. Yummmmy carb-potassium overload!) This one is the Patatas Bravas, crispy roasted potatoes bathed in a tomato-based salsa brava and drizzled in light mayo. The salsa brava greatly resembled some sort of Italian pasta sauce, which I’m sure had some heavy Italian influence. However, I was expecting a little more zingy caliente, since spicy paprika is supposed to be a primary ingredient. This calls for a future cooking-experiment project for comparison: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/05/salsa-brava-recipe.html
Croquetas Cremosas, another shared favorite of ours: fried potato balls with creamy innards of spinach and/or meat. The spheres are the spinach-filled ones. They resembled cream-of-spinach balls wrapped in a fried potato shell. These were a bit too creamy for my taste, so luckily they were small.
We also had these sweet Serrano ham-filled croquetas to balance out the creamy spinach. I preferred these again for the sweet-and-salty combination. The croquette itself had a slightly creamy filling with tiny bits of smoked ham. This worked well because the meat packed a punch of smoked flavor, so the smaller the better. They were paired with a thick sweet, nutty sauce. The flavors were a subtler than the date-bacon combo, but still a harmonious blend. The ham croquetas were my highlight of the night.
Next up we tried the Cojonudo, quail eggs and chorizo on baguette toast. This was the least memorable of the tapas. Aside from the unique taste of quail, this plate had little complexity of flavor. I do enjoy my occasional quail eggs, but the chorizo was too salty and tough to chew.
The Pulpo a la Gallega was very yummy, a skillfully grilled octopus tentacle on a bed of mediocre mashed potatoes. So we skipped the potatoes (after eating 3 delicious potato-packed tapas) and ate the octopus. Octopus is usually elastic to the point that it’s impossible to chew. However, this octopus was very soft, juicy, and meaty.
For dessert we split a Turron, sweet almond & hazelnut cake with dulce de leche ice cream. I loved the ice cream paired with salted caramel and nuts, but the cake was way too sweet. I couldn’t take more than a few bites without feeling overpowered. The sweetness resembled that of baklava, both made with a nut and honey base. I couldn’t taste the nutty flavors of almond or hazelnut in the cake, only the intense honey. This was somewhat disappointing, but we gladly ate the ice cream!
The Churros con Chocolate was a favorite of mine. Personally, churros are one of my happy foods. They always carry the memories of street festivals and theme parks for me, so I suppose I’m pretty partial to them. However, I think what made these particular churros really good were the hot chocolate sauce. The chocolate wasn’t super-rich or amazing, but I liked that it was warm, dark, and mildly sweet. I think I also tasted a hint of liquor mixed into the ganache. Plus, finger-food is always more fun!