July 16, 2015

A dark and noisy tapas bar

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It's been a month since I last met up with a friend, and this afternoon her hubby pinged me and asked if I had dinner plans.  As I just found out that my wine dinner wasn't happening, and my friends wanted to drop by Catalunya - which I last visited more than 2 years ago - I decided to join them.

I've forgotten how dark this place is.  As there was no spotlight above my seat, I had real trouble reading the menu, and resorted to turning on the torch of my cell phone to provide adequate lighting.  As I get older and presbyopia sets in, reading in low light has become increasingly difficult.  So I guess restaurants like Catalunya are sending me a message... that people over the age of 40 are not their target customers...

I was ever so glad not to have the responsibility of ordering, leaving it instead to my friend with dietary restrictions...

Spherical olives - this was OK, but I'm just a tad over these...

Cantabrian anchovies - love these, but I really should just get tins of them and eat them at home...

Pa amb tomàquet - ... and of course we had the anchovies with the pan con tomate.

Green asparagus with black truffle - a little bit of Parmesan cheese on top of the asparagus, and chunks of hazelnuts in the truffled sauce.

Marinated seabass - this seemed like lightly-cooked seabass more than raw fish cured in lemon juice.  Nicely paired with sweet red onions.  Very light and yummy.

Ham, cheese and truffle "bikini" - the old favorite.  Still pretty delicious, but somehow not quite as satisfying as before.

Estrellados con paletilla - this was pretty nice.  Scrambled eggs on a bed of potato cubes, with diced cubes as well as slices of jamón.

Arroz negre with calamares - originally made with scampi but that is on my friend's list of restricted ingredients, so this was changed to calamari.  Gotta say that the rice had a lot of flavor, and loved the garlic in it, and especially the alioli on the side.  Very yum.

Stuffed chicken Catalan style - a grilled chicken on a bed of cabbage, topped with shaved black truffles.

It is then quartered to reveal the stuffing inside, which was a blend of minced lamb, pork, and veal.  This was very, very, very delish.  It was so good, and the stuffing so moist, that none of us remembered to drizzle on the sauce that was served on the side...

"Padron" peppers - always nice to have, and this time none of us picked up a spicy one.

"Pijama" - a piece of flan served with strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate gelado on top.  Pretty old school.

"Crema Catalana" crunch - I've always loved crema Catalana, and now it's been cut into small chunks, wrapped with filo pastry, and deep-fried.  What's not to like?

2012 Terras Gauda O Rosal - nice but not as refresh as I expected.  A little flinty, with some tropical fruits like peaches.  A little ripe on the palate.

The food here remains pretty decent, even after Chef Alain Devahive Tolosa's departure.  But tonight the atmosphere was just a little too loud.  For some reason we were not seated in other, quieter parts of the restaurant despite the availability of empty tables... but instead were seated right next to a big party of 25.  No surprise that these guys - out to celebrate some corporate achievement or whatever - got very rowdy very quickly.  The three of us had to raise our volumes just to carry on a conversation, and when the restaurant started blasting Macarena on request... we knew it was time to go.

I guess I'm getting too old for this shit.

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