Tag Archives: tapas

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!!!

bar_isabel_mussels (5)

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!!!

bar_isabel_patatas_bravas (7)

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!

bar_isabel_chorizo_rojo (1)

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…

 

Hot N Cold Portuguese tapas @ Chiado

Now, when you think tapas, you’re probably thinking Spain, or maybe Japan, but did you know they’ve also got small plates in Portugal? Well, at least they do in Little Portugal, bro! We’re hanging out at Chiado, this fancy Portuguese place on College, just west of Ossington. They’ve actually got a full-fledged tapas menu here, but if you wanna classy it up, you can make a reservation in the dining room, and order a lot of the same stuff as appetizers. You will hafta leave your trucker hat at home though, bro!!!!

chiado_clams (1)

Dude, these clams are clam-tastic! You’ve got a bowlful of steamed babies, with garlic, coriander and a white wine/olive oil broth that goes great with the bread basket, bro!

chiado_smoked_salmon (1)

This was some of the fanciest smoked salmon I’ve seen, served up pinwheel-style with onions, capers and a hard-boiled quail egg!!!

chiado_goat_cheese (3)

Now, I don’t always go for goat cheese, but since they insisted, I couldn’t resist it. This toasty goatsy is served on a bed of eggplant and portabellas, with a champagne supernova vinaigrette!

chiado_grilled_squid (2)

Now, I’m a sucker for some great grilled squid, whether it’s battered and fried Greek style, or done up all Japaneezy. At this place, they cook it with coriander, lemon, garlic and a little extra virgin olive oil, for that extra kick!

chiado_grouper_carpaccio (2)

Now here’s a funky dish you definitely don’t see every day! You may have had beef carpaccio before, but do you even know fish carpaccio, bro? This thinly sliced raw grouper is served up with white asparagus, pine nuts and a little preserved citrus adding just a touch of zestiness.

chiado_quail (3)

And now we’re getting into the funky portion of this evening’s performance, with some grilled piri piri quail served on top of a shiitake mushroom risotto. Tastes just like chicken!

chiado_tiger_shrimp (2)

Now, I’m not sure if this shot gives you any sense of just how massive these tiger shrimp are, but I gotta tell ya, they’re pretty freakin’ yuuuge. They’ve also gotta be some of the plumpest, tenderest, tastiest crustaceans I’ve ever stuffed my face in. I could probably slam seven or eight of these…if they weren’t 38 bucks an order!

chiado_tuna_tartare (2)

And finally, you’ve got the special du jour, a creamy tuna tartar with chunks of avocado, onion and I forget what that yellow stuff is. Dude, this is like a culinary hockey puck of awesomeness in Flavourtown. He shoots, he scores, bro!!!

Now, in case you were wondering, I did NOT eat all eight of these amazing apps alone…I might have had just a little help from my friends. But, on the plus side, at least I saved some room for dessert:

chiado_chocolate_mousse (2)

Dude, this chocolate mousse is totally scattered, smothered and covered with tons of tasty toppings! You’ve got walls of milk and white chocolate, three kinds of berries, a couple different sauces for swiping…and then there’s these little lemon meringue kisses on top. And you know this plate ain’t clean until I lick it up, lick it up, whoa-oh-oh!!!!