Tag Archives: patatas bravas

Slamming seven Spanish tapas @ Bar Chica

Now, we don’t always eat tapas on Triple B. I mean, why settle for a buncha small plates when you can have one really, really big plate, bro? But we’re hanging out at Bar Chica, this new funky tapas place on Portland, just south of King West, so we can’t just order one thing, or two things, or three things…we’re polishing off seven different tapas, son — and I’ll probably still have room for dessert. 😉

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Now, you don’t ride for free at this bread rodeo, but this toasted sourdough with tomato butter might actually be worth paying for, bro!

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Their vieras crudas (raw scallops) is a playful, mysterious little dish. For one thing, there’s a lot more melon than there is fish — the scallops are hidden at the bottom, so you gotta go diving for em. But hey, at least I ate a green thing today…

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Up next, we’ve got some culinary classic rock en español in Flavourtown, with these jamón croquetas. Only these aren’t your everyday croquettes, bro. Instead of putting the ham inside, it’s stuffed with cheese and truffles, and then there’s a slice of jamón on top…so it’s almost better if you don’t use a fork and knife, to get everything in one bite.

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Up next is another Spanish classic, patatas bravas. But unlike Bar Isabel, which gives you a whole plate of po-ta-toes, at Chica you only get two, and they’re done up all millefeuille style, so you can’t really eat a steak with these, bro…

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Speaking of steak, they do have ribeye on the menu, with blistered shishitos and plenty of Bearnaise on the side. You get maybe six pre-cut pieces of steak to an order — so maybe like eight ounces — but after all this other stuff, that’s OK with me.

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The next two dishes came out at the same time, which I think might be against the law in Tapastown. But anyways, on the left you’ve got grilled octopus with eggs (an off-menu, limited-time special) and on the right, smoked corn topped with corn foam. Man, I didn’t even know that corn foam was a thing. It tastes very…foamy?

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But after all that commotion back there, we’ve still got room for dessert. This ying yang pie is actually two tartas in one — on the left, a chocolate tart with hazelnut spread and brown butter ice cream, and on the right, apple tart with almond ice cream and caramel sauce. Dude, this dessert is as Spanish as tarta de manzana, hermana!!!!

Seven Spanish Mushrooms @ Bar Isabel

Now, we’re not really big on tapas here on Triple B — gimme large plates over small plates any day, bro! But a couple years back, we checked out this funky little Spanish joint on College St called Bar Isabel, where I had a Spanish beer that was made with sea water. Oh, and some of those small plates weren’t too bad, either.

Anyhoo, this place is still in business, with a righteous craft beer list, and while most of the food I ordered last time isn’t even on the menu anymore, you still can’t go wrong with some brave potatoes, bros!

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These patatas bravas are coming straight outta Barcelona, all smothered in donkey sauce! I think these were meant for sharing, but the last time I shared food, the other guy went hungry, so, y’know…

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We’re doubling down in Flavourtown with some grilled mushrooms, bro! These kinda remind me of the shrooms we scarfed down at Beach Club… only these bad boys were ever tastier!!!

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What, after eating gluten-free last time, you didn’t think we would go vegan on ya, brah? This meat & cheese plate comes complete with Mountain Oak & Manchego cheese, alongside several slices of chorizo and salchichon. You could put that on a flip-flop — or some sourdough bread — and it would still taste good!!!

Oh, and that beer (served in a wine glass cuz they fancy) is an Orange Whisper from Small Pony Barrelworks. It’s sour ‘n tangy, but don’t let the name fool ya — no oranges were harmed in the making of this brewski…

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Now, you KNOW we’re always down for dinner and a show — like this Basque cake with hot sherry cream that they pour at the table. Dude, Hot Sherry Cream was the name of my Foreigner cover band, bro!!!!

The most interesting ham in the world…

Now, right before all restaurants in Toronto shut down for indoor dining again, we headed out to Madrina Bar y Tapas, this funky Spanish joint in the Distillery District. I don’t always eat tapas, but I heard that this place was serving up some high-end ham, like Joselito Gran Reserva, which even comes with its own identity card, so you know it’s gotta be legit…

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Suffice to say, it also comes with a hefty price tag — 42 bucks a plate — but dude, I am trying to keep Toronto restaurants in business, even if I gotta do it all by myself…and I was pretty intrigued to try it, anyways.

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Now, to call this ham would be like calling Pliny the Elder beer. It’s more like a fine-aged, cured Italian meat — like a nice prosciutto, or something. Man, this would be amazeballs on a thin-crust pizza, bro! But it’s still pretty excellent on its own, although I couldda used some bread, or some cheese to go with it. Bread and cheese sold separately…

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Of course, you KNOW I can’t go to a tapas joint and only order one thing, bro! And since one good ham deserves another, I’m about to go ham on these Iberian ham croquettes. These bad boys are super hot and crispy, straight outta the deep-fryer, with a nice creamy centre and some little bits of meat. I don’t think they’re stuffed with Joselito Gran Reserva, though…

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Now, I’ve had patatas bravas before, but these aren’t your ordinary brave potatoes, bro! They serve ’em up millefeuille style, topped with great big globs of sriracha brava and wasabi donkey sauce — shut the front, back and side doors!

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And because two good potatoes deserve more potatoes, I ordered up a Spanish potato omelette, topped with even more donkey sauce, onions, and a chili oil caviar. Dude, this dish is potatoes…and potatoes is good!!!

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But we’re saving the most funkalicious for last, with this pair of crispy calamari sammies with pickled peppers, all covered in squid ink. Dude, I got so much squid ink on my face eating these that you couldn’t even see the bleach in my soul patch, son! But this was definitely one of the top five squid ink calamari dishes I’ve ever had!!!

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But you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, and we’re funking it up another notch with this Manchego cheesecake, topped with raspberry sorbet. This dish is more cheese than cake, with a sugary coating that’s like Babybel Gone Wild, bro! Definitely one of the most outta bounds desserts I’ve had this year…

…I just hope they can find a way to stay open after this month, though. 😦

Smashing Spanish tapas @ Bar Isabel

Now, I’m not really the biggest fan of tapas — if I gotta share food, it means that someone else isn’t getting very much. Flavourtown is all about survival of the fattest, bro! But I heard there’s this funky little joint on College with some crazy craft beers and a solid selection of seafood, chorizo and potatoes…which are a few of my favourite things, so you know I had to check it out! Bienvenidos a Bar Isabel!!!

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So, we’re starting out with some mussels from, well, probably not Brussels, but Barcelona, I guess? One thing I know is that these mussels escabeche are pretty Van Damme delicious! It’s a dish served cold, with a tangy sauce, and some little onions and peppers for that extra roundhouse kick!!!

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Now, if you’re serving up a dish that translates to brave potatoes, then you KNOW I’m gonna hafta take the plunge. These patatas bravas are coming in hot out of the oven, smothered in sour cream and hot sauce, and topped with green onions and cilantro. I could eat this all day, bro — but I still gotta save room for chorizo!

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These snack-sized sausages were pretty much on point. Cooked to the right temperature, with a bit of sweet, a bit of heat, and that good ol’ garlicky aftertaste that’s like a breath mint in Flavourtown. This is one sausagefest you don’t wanna miss!!!

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Of course, when it comes to this Spanish feast, I’m skipping right past the vino and heading straight to the craft beer, bro! This ice cold bottle of Er Boqueron is imported from Spain, and brewed with Mediterranean sea water for a crisp, refreshing taste. This is one cerveza that makes that joke about having sex in a canoe seem like not such a bad thing after all…