January 05, 2009
Happy New Year!
Bonne année or I should say feliz año nuevo given that this post was supposed to be about my latest spate of tapas crawling in west Chelsea. Never mind that this luscious looking Ibérico Jamon de Bellota (ham from acorn-fed free range black pigs, for those not yet in the know) was enjoyed at Pata Negra in the East Village a few months ago. Muy rico! I just got home from Spanish class, please forgive me. Sit at the bar and chat with Chef Mateo, he’ll treat you right. The other photo was actually taken at Txikito the new Basque tapas joint - not the most appropriate use of “joint” but I’m at a loss for the moment. Order the boquerones (marinated white anchovy, eggplant, piquillo peppers) pictured here. I’m not a huge anchovy fan, but these were delicioso. Another standout was the txitxiki – chorizo hash mini sandwiches. Perfect with refreshing housemade sangria, spiked with gin and a “secret ingredient”, hmm. I’d skip the cod with the fried headcheese, yech, though critics have praised the dish.
After what was supposed to be ONE quick drink and ONE or TWO tapas (of course we had more, including a kind of morcilla fritter also in the photo - just not going into details at the moment), headed around the corner with G to El Quinto Pino for torreznos or “Spanish style craklins”. The wine list is concise and the wine I wanted to try wasn’t offered by the glass, so what the heck, I ordered- and we finished – the bottle. Planella 2006 from the Monsant region: a hearty, textured almost velvety blend of Cab, Syrah, Graciano and Mazuelo. The only drawback came when our server/bartender poured the last bit of the bottle out into G’s glass and she ended up with a mouthful of sediment. Very worthwhile other than this truly bitter end. The ride home was a bit hazier than expected though. Is any wonder why I’m in January detox? And I haven’t even told you about the many ricotta cookies, New Year’s Day gumbo and rum punch… I’ll be tea-totaling for a few weeks but have a lot of catching up to do so there may be more posts before I take off for Paris. Cheers!
Pata Negra: 345 East 12th street between 1st and 2nd aves
Txikito: 29 9th avenue between 24th and 25th sts
El Quinto Pino: 401 West 24th between 9th and 10th aves