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Archive for the ‘Appetizer’ Category

Dining at Lasarte

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Before the most recent trip to Barcelona, I spent a lot of time researching various restaurants to dine at for a good friend’s birthday. In a city known for its food, narrowing down the choices was not an easy task. Obviously, the first place to look was anywhere with the name Adrià, either Ferran of elBulli fame or his brother, Albert, who runs the much-raved about Tickets, along with Enigma.

Making reservations turned out to be somewhat vague, with no clear confirmation a table would be available once in Barcelona. In the end, decided it was important we had a confirmed table to make sure it was an amazing birthday celebration. Running through various travel guides and, especially, the Michelin guide, found out about Lasarte, a three-Michelin star establishment located just off the Passeig de Gràcia.

The reservation process was straightforward and when inquiring about their menu, with regard to dietary restrictions, their response time was remarkable (they are very accommodating when it comes to dietary restrictions). The reservation process alone was just about enough to confirm the birthday would be celebrated at Lasarte.

The day arrived and we took a walk down the Passeig de Gràcia, even stopping for tapas on the way.

Upon entering the establishment, it was amazingly clean and modern. We were seated right away and noticed a few of the other tables with elegantly-presented dishes and just as elegantly-dressed patrons. It was already exhilarating walking into such an establishment, it got even more exciting once the menus arrived.

The evening began with an array of ornate appetizers, each served in a unique way, with a variety of textures to start the evening. The first course began with an oyster dish served with an iced watercress slush, parsnip, and sea mist. For molecular gastronomy fans, seeing anything with foam arrive to the table automatically get the senses going.

Probably the most beautiful of the 11 courses was the red curry dish. Described as scarlet shrimp royal with red curry, raw artichokes, celery, and apple, the dish offered a variety of colors and textures. It’s the typical go-to photo when telling people about the dinner.

Scarlet shrimp royal with red curry, raw artichokes, celery, and apple.

If I were to name the most memorable dish, there is no doubt it was the charcoal grilled pigeon with citrus, capers, black olive, and smoked sauce with galangal. The idea of eating pigeon was a rather foreign concept, which made it the most striking option when first perusing the evening’s menu. There was a red meat quality to the flavor and texture and, overall, it tasted good – it was mostly about getting over the idea of a pigeon being on the plate.

Charcoal grilled pigeon with citrus, capers, black olive, and smoked sauce with galangal.

Dessert was amazing – and gorgeous. Almond and salt praline, apricot, and rum ice cream. It’s cliché to say “it was too beautiful to eat,” but this, in fact, was; and it was all worth it once getting that first bite.

Almond and salt praline, apricot, and rum ice cream.

There’s a reason places like Lasarte are acclaimed. The aesthetic really makes a difference in the overall experience. A quiet and relaxed room with perfect lighting made the dinner all the more appealing. Very attentive staff – who even walk you to the bathroom – add an appreciation for the care the restaurant puts into service.

Then, there’s the food. 11 courses, each with its own unique taste and beauty, it truly presents the soul of the restaurant itself.

All of it comprises the “dining experience,” and this was one of the most memorable ones.

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Visiting Hong Kong for the nachos

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On a previous visit to Hong Kong, stayed at a hotel in the Wan Chai district and, in doing so, became very acquainted with the neighborhood from the regular jaunts looking for a breakfast spot or an afternoon pub to take a breather. While walking around, found a Mexican-themed bar called Coyote. Before, it was just stopping in for a beer or two before heading to the next spot. However, there was always a sighting of this mysterious meat dish served on a wooden block – it looked amazing.

Determined to visit the place again when in town last month, was reunited with the bar one afternoon. Immediately asked for a menu but couldn’t find anything that sounded like the lovely sight from last time. Was feeling a bit hungry and still had some time before dinner and decided on a plate of nachos.

It has been a while since enjoying quality nachos and when this mammoth plate arrived at the bar, there was no doubt the chili nachos were a fantastic choice.

The toppings were piled high, chili, pulled pork, jalapeños, guacamole, cheese, sour cream, and pico de gallo. Clearly, topped off with a few seconds in the salamander, everything was beautifully melted and chips were still deliciously crunchy.

Enjoyed a lot of food in Hong Kong, but did not expect nachos would also be one of the memorable meals.

Coyote Bar is located along Lockhart Road in the Wan Chai district, Hong Kong.

Coyote Bar is located along Lockhart Road in the Wan Chai district, Hong Kong.

Written by Paulo Loreto

October 10, 2016 at 3:38 PM

Amuse-Bouche

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An evening out for dinner brought along a surprise at Soigne Restaurant & Wine Bar (486 6th Ave, between 11th St & 7th Ave / Park Slope, Brooklyn).

Split Pea Simplicity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A beautifully simple Split Pea Amuse-Bouche, served chilled, was a refreshing start to a delicious evening.

Written by Paulo Loreto

July 8, 2011 at 9:53 AM