publius: (banquet)
[personal profile] publius
This month's dining excursion coincided with the arrival of some friends. Mercat a la Planxa which features an Iron Chef, is a Catalonia-based Spanish Tapas place. We all went with the prix-fixe menu, which featured an amazing array of food.


Course #1:

We started with a Bruschetta-esque entree on thick toasted bread. It literally hit all five tastes, and was of a sufficient enough portion that one slice was enough for several bites worth of this. I actually liked it a lot better than bruschetta, because it had an excellent array of spices on it.

Additionally, they served very thinly sliced Chorizo sausage along with a light mustard, sliced yellow peppers, and gerkins. The chorizo was flavorful but not overpowering, and sliced so thinly that it didn't end up being filling.

Also, they served us little dumpling-sized bits of a "Spanish Omelette with Spinach, Potatoes, & Saffron Aioli" -- this was just amazing, and even [livejournal.com profile] prince_corwin, who truly hates spinach, ate this. It didn't actually taste very spinachy, but it was incredibly savory and while not particularly omelette-y, you could taste the eggs and potatoes very well. The aioli was a small dollop, but enough to be delicious.



They also served us Manchego cheese along with a sherry/bacon powder sauce that I personally didn't like, but everyone else adored.

Finally, they brought out fried pimientos de padrom, with salbixada and sea salt -- small green peppers with a very, very light mustard sauce. I'm pretty sure I ate half the allotted amount.





Course #2:


We were served dates, wrapped in bacon, stuffed with crushed almonds, and then for the final decadence, a cheese fondue sauce was poured over the top.



They then brought out "Patatas Bravas" -- spicy potatoes with spicy paprika aioli. Seriously, these were one of the best items of the night, I shit you not. Tiny little bundles of mmmmm.



They served us "Arroz con morels" -- morel mushroom bomba rice, fava beans, green asparagus & lemon oil. An odd consistency, but seriously delicious. Even [livejournal.com profile] montoya would be hard-pressed to say this tasted of death.



Then, they brought out "Gambas al Ajillo" -- simply, garlic in browned butter, served BOILING. The shrimp was hella hot, but sooo good in the simple butter. I used the toast the served it with to sop up the sauce, and would have poured it into my mouth directly if I could have done it and not looked like a TOTAL idiot.



They served us a flatbread, "Costillas de ternera" -- beef shortribs, horseradish, parmeson and bacon. As [livejournal.com profile] prince_corwin said in surprise, "Hey, this has a bit of a bite!" -- it was an incredibly complex bit of food in terms of taste, with a bit of spicy, a bit of tart, a bit of everything. SO GOOD. Sadly, no pictures could be found!

Additionally, they served us "Conill amb chesnut" -- braised rabbit agnolotti, Rosemary, Truffle-Chestnut Puree, and brandied cherries. This was very ravioli-i, with a very interesting foam on top (the puree) that had a lot more flavor than you'd expect.



Course #3:

For the main course, which doesn't have the awesome descriptions that the above head but does not take away the amazing quality of the food, we had: "Colorado rack of lamb", which I am pretty sure everyone at the table pronounced as the best lamb they'd ever had; Some sort of beef-related product (we can't figure out if it was skirt steak, short ribs, or what; [livejournal.com profile] prince_corwin pronounces it as short ribs; and prawns, which were served with heads and tails attached (though I pulled 'em off, 'cause... yeah.)


And then there was dessert.

Course #4:

We had SIX types of sorbet (approximately 2 teaspoons of each): Turkish Fig, Dulce de Leche, Chocolate Peppermint, Milk Stout, Apricot, and Coconut.

Chocolate croquettes with creme anglais (AMAZING)
A chocolate mousse goopy thing with vanilla ice cream on a wafer
An orange creme with some sort of citrus compote (that orange creme was something special)
Rice pudding with another sort of creme and a citrus compote


Finally, at the very very end, in a "just one more little mint, Sir? it's wafer-thin!" they gave us a pomegranate chocolate cookie thing that was about the size of my pinkie, and it was a wonderful end.


Also of note was the Sangria, of which I had THREE GLASSES.

Date: 2010-03-14 05:43 am (UTC)
ext_12920: (Default)
From: [identity profile] desdenova.livejournal.com
Upon further consideration, that lamb was one of the best things I've ever eaten, period.

Also: Best. Tater Tots. EVER.

I pronounce this restaurant AWESOME.

Date: 2010-03-14 07:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aor.livejournal.com
I am so insanely jealous right now.

Date: 2010-03-15 02:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] publius1.livejournal.com
Fair's fair -- the food you've been making AT HOME, from SCRATCH, has had me insanely jealous for months!

Date: 2010-03-14 08:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] turnberryknkn.livejournal.com
You know, this semi-monthly Darkfriend dinner club idea is really awesome.

We will need to start this when I get to DC. We certainly have enough Darkfriends, and there are certainly enough restaurants. :-)

Date: 2010-03-15 02:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] publius1.livejournal.com
It sort of grew organically; someone mentioned "hey, we should do this monthly!" and someone else said "I think you're right" and then we just started doing it. It helps that we all seem to have the budget to be able to afford it; I don't think that every Darkfriend would be able to participate, which is too bad.

Date: 2010-03-14 04:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] prince-corwin.livejournal.com
Pork bellies. You left out the pork bellies that we ordered special.

Date: 2010-03-14 06:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] publius1.livejournal.com
OMG GAIS U NO WAT WE HAD PROK BELIES

Date: 2010-03-14 06:32 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-03-14 06:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] silmaril.livejournal.com
*flail* Want. I should have taken pictures at the Bistro Cacao outing, 10 days ago...

Date: 2010-03-14 06:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] publius1.livejournal.com
I actually had to find pictures online! We didn't take pictures at the restaurant.

Date: 2010-03-14 06:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] khedron.livejournal.com
Beautiful pictures! Even if you didn't take them yourself. Everything looks fantastic.

Thank you for sharing!

Date: 2010-03-15 02:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] publius1.livejournal.com
No problem! This was easily one of the best places in Chicago I've eaten. Looking at Yelp, it appears that the prix-fixe menu always gets the 5-stars, whereas it's more hit-and-miss if you order the tapas a-la-carte -- as one would expect!

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