Category Archives: Events

Serpis Stuffed Olives; Great Riojas

The Spanish Table Seattle                                                                 February 23, 2011
It was fantastic to see all of you who came in last Saturday for our cooking demo! We fired up a large butano and the 85 person paellera to make Fideuá, which is similiar to paella but uses pasta instead of rice.  We love this dish because it tastes quite different from paella, especially if you serve it with alioli, and it’s another great use of your  paellera! For those who couldn’t make the demo, here’s a copy of our recipe, which can be adjusted for fewer servings:

Fideuá (Valencian Pasta)   Serves 60   

1 cup olive oil

5 each onions chopped

1 head garlic chopped

5 lbs Rockfish fillets chopped

1 tsp sea salt

1 bottle white wine

½ gram saffron

6 tbs La Vera smoked pimentón dulce

4 jars Tomate Frito

12 quarts clam juice

5 kilos fideo noodles

10 lbs cooked salad shrimp, whole

Heat olive oil in 40 inch paella pan. Sauté onions, garlic & rockfish for 2 minutes. Stir in wine, saffron, pimentón, & sofrito then add clam juice. When clam juice comes to a boil, add noodles. Return stock to boil and cook until noodles are done and liquid is absorbed (12 minutes or so?). Stir in shrimp meat and heat. Add water if necessary.

OUTSTANDING OLD RIOJA GRAN RESERVAS

Last week I wrote that our store manager Isaac Rivera had turned 30, which was a mistake. I should have done the math, because on his birthday he opened a 1982 Montecillo Gran Reserva Seleccion Especial Rioja, produced in his birth year. He was blown away by its exceptional balance, vibrancy, soft acidity and dusty earth notes. Happy 29th birthday Isaac!

There’s been a buzz here at the shop about Montecillo Gran Reserva Seleccion Especials, ever since we scooped up an amazing deal on 1981, 1982, 1985 and 1991 vintages. Professional duty demanded that we taste them all to make sure they lived up to their potential, and they absolutely do! These are exceptional classic Riojas, gracefully aged, each reflecting the individuality of the vintage. Fans of traditional Riojas should not pass these up!

SPECIAL OFFER: BUY ONE BOTTLE OF EACH MONTECILLO GRAN RESERVA (’81, ’82, ’85 AND ’91) AND RECEIVE A WOODEN GIFT BOX, FOR THE ALL-INCLUSIVE PRICE OF $130.00.

1981 Montecillo Gran Reserva Selección Especial Rioja ($50.00) Impressive liveliness in this 30 year old wine. Notes of balsamic, dried cherry and cigar box; elegant with silky tannins. “Complex aromas of plum, red berries, cinnamon, tree bark, pepper and bacon; autumnal in the style of a mature syrah yet still fresh. Less sweet in the middle than the 1982 but more penetrating, with lovely clarity of flavor. Finishes with firm, slightly drying tannins. For tasters unfamiliar with fully mature classic Riojas, this would be an excellent starting point.” 91 points Stephen Tanzer

1982 Montecillo Gran Reserva Selección Especial Rioja ($60.00) From an excellent vintage, the 1982 exhibits nuance and impressive complexity. Vibrant and savory, with notes of smoke, mushroom, leather. “The superb 1982 Gran Reserva Seleccion is from a great Rioja vintage. The wine was aged for nearly four years in French barriques and bottled in 1987. It exhibits a deep red-brick color and a sexy nose of earthy minerals, smoky tobacco, spice box, cherry, and red currants. This is followed by a nicely structured wine with elegance and a certain stateliness marking it as a classic example of old-style Rioja. This splendid effort should drink well for another decade.” 93 points Wine Advocate

1985 Montecillo Gran Reserva Selección Especial Rioja ($45.00) Initally the 1985 seemed to be the lightest wine of the four, but it gradually opened up with air, and was even better the following day. “Mature aromas of strawberry, meat, leather and truffle. Old-style, slightly funky Rioja flavors of pungent strawberry, leather and baking spices; lovely acidity gives the wine a juiciness and impressive inner-mouth lift. Reminded me a bit of an old Graves. Finishes juicy and long, with a slight dryness. A very idiosyncratic and satisfying example of a fully mature Rioja” 89 points Stephen Tanzer

1991 Montecillo Gran Reserva Selección Especial Rioja ($40.00)  A more modern style, its expressive bright fruit has a beautiful taut balance. “The 1991 Gran Reserva Seleccion, from a difficult vintage, is nevertheless an outstanding effort. It spent 46 months in French barriques before being bottled in 1996. Dark ruby in color, the wine emits a lovely perfume of spice box, tobacco, and cherry. With considerable stuffing consisting of wood, mushrooms, currants and cherries, and a long finish, this deceptively powerful wine can be enjoyed for another 5-7 years.” 90 points Wine Advocate

These new items arrived a few hours ago! 

El Serpis Green Olives Stuffed with Chorizo Picante; El Serpis Green Olives Stuffed with Jamon; El Serpis Banderillas

Helios Organic Seville Bitter Orange Fruit Preserves 

Quely Picos, from Mallorca  Rafa Nadal’s Favorite!

Rafael Salgado Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Gullon brand Maria Crackers and Choco Sticks

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Filed under Events, Fish, Food, Recepies, Red Wine

Fideuá Demonstration on Saturday

The Spanish Table Seattle                                                                  February 17, 2011

Fideuá is a delectable pasta dish from Valencia that is cooked in a Paella Pan. If you’ve only used your paellera to prepare rice dishes, we highly recommend that you experiment with Fideuá. Typically made with seafood and served with alioli, the combinations are as endless as the variety of ingredients you can pull together. This Saturday February 19th, we’re celebrating Manager Isaac Rivera’s 30th birthday.  In celebration of Isaac’s cumpleanos,  Jefe Steve will be demonstrating how to cook a Fideuá, beginning at noon. Stop by to get a free sample of the Fideuá and a copy of the recipe.

Come and shop our expanded Sherry selection!

RED WINES:

2008 Solnia Rioja ($9.99) Bright and juicy, “Ilurce’s 2008 Solnia is a blend of 50% Tempranillo and 50% Graciano. This purple-colored offering displays a bouquet of spice box, violets, and black cherry leading to a racy wine with vibrant acidity and plenty of savory black fruit for balance. Drink this excellent value over the next 4-5 years.” 88 points Wine Advocate

2008 Mas dels Frares Priorat  ($17.99) “The 2008 Mas del Frares is an unoaked blend of 50% Carinena, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Garnacha. The nose gives up earth notes, mineral, lavender, and black cherry. Substantial on the palate with good density and ripe flavors, this friendly effort is a good introduction to the region and an outstanding value.” 89 points Wine Advocate

2004 Remelluri Rioja ($34.00) “80% tempranillo, with garnacha, graciano and mazuelo) Opaque ruby. Captivating aromas of cherry, cured meat, tobacco and licorice. Lush and juicy, with fresh red and dark fruit flavors, silky tannins and slow-mounting herbal qualities. Turns sweeter on the finish, with sexy oak spices lingering seductively. This is really delicious and already complex enough to enjoy in the near term. ” 93 points Stephen Tanzer

2006 Damana 5 Ribera del Duero ($18.99) “Plum, raisin, iron and game notes have focus and character in this dense, firm red… harmonious and long” 90 points Wine Spectator

2004 Adagio Reserva Malbec, Mendoza ($13.99) This elegant 100% Malbec is intense with spicy fruity notes, nutmeg and white pepper combined with vanilla, chocolate and coffee aromas.  Voluptuous, this wine has a fleshy taste and long finish.  Unfiltered. 50% is aged in new French oak for one year, then blended with the other half, which is then bottled and aged for another year before release to fully integrate the flavors.

CURED MEATS

Gem Brand Basque Chorizos (Made in Boise, ID) $11.99/16 oz – This customer favorite is back in stock!

Quijote Dry Chorizo is also back in stock, after a long absence.  Kudos to George for getting these products back in the refrigerator case!

Fermin Jamón Ibérico, sliced in 2 oz packages ($9.99)

Soujouk Dried Beef Sausage and Basturma Cured Dried Beef  TheseTurkish specialties are made in USA.

After tasting Creminelli brand Italian salamis, we simply had to stock them.  $9.99 for 5.5 oz, try Casalingo (Mild) or Piccante (Hot).

Spanish Table Spice Kits are back in stock! $19.99 gets you nine small tubs (appx. quarter cup) of distinctive spices, including Aleppo Pepper, Harissa, Sumac and White Peppercorns. These sold out quickly during the holidays.

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Spanish Flavor in Local Restaurants

The Spanish Table Seattle                                        February 4, 2011
We’re fortunate here at The Spanish Table because we meet a ton of local chefs. A great many of their menus are influenced by traveling to, or living in Spain, even if their restaurants don’t serve Spanish food. This makes perfect sense to us; the unique and vibrant flavors of Spain transformed our lives 25 years ago! It now seems that a knowledge of Spanish cuisine is de rigueur for contemporary chefs. This is a very good thing.

The food produced at the following Seattle restaurants is astonishing. Made with Spanish ingredients and served amidst a bustling vibe, the offerings by these chefs are not to be missed:  La Bete Restaurant’s Aleks Dimitrijevic externed at 3 star Michelin El Raco de Can Fabes in Catalonia. Try his churros and chocolateKylen McCarthy, chef at newly reopened Marjorie was sous chef at Harvest Vine for years. His roast goat special was superbly succulent and tender. Chef Wayne Johnson of Andaluca Restaurant traveled extensively by invitation of the Spanish government to explore regional foods and cook with local chefs. Order the Spicy Calamari from the recently expanded pintxos menu.

Seattle is incredibly fortunate to have several authentic Spanish restaurants. The Harvest Vine is a Seattle institution and has earned accolades for their inventive cuisine. Little known facts:  Former Harvest Vine chef Joseph Jimenz de Jimenz was The Spanish Table’s first wine manager, and before opening the restaurant, The Spanish Table carried Carolin and Joseph’s amazing takeout food. Being ahead of the times, we didn’t sell much in those early days but we sure ate well at home!  Olivar Restaurant’s Chef-Owner Philippe Thomelin is a Spanophile from France, who owned a tapas bar in Andalucía for many years. Ocho in Ballard serves tasty Spanish tapas and drinks in Ballard; Pintxo took over the former Txori space in Belltown and offers a great bar ambience with small plates. Taberna del Alabardero is part of Spain’s Grupo Lezamo that operates restaurants, a culinary school and hotels all over Spain. Their two U.S. locations – Washington D.C. and Seattle, WA – are staffed by a congenial Spanish contingent and the food couldn’t be more authentic.

NEW PRODUCT ARRIVALS

Mittica Chocolate Dipped Fig Cakes: There’s nothing we love better than mittica fig cake.  Now they’ve gone a step further and dipped their fig cake with dark chocolate. Give one of these to your Valentine! Located on top of the cheese case.

Iberico Lomo:  This top pork loin is made exclusively from 100% pure bred Pata Negra pigs who roam free on a 400,000 hectare acorn forest. The meat has a smoky, silky rich texture and intense flavor with a touch of paprika and mild tang.  

Gem Basque and Quijote Chorizo are back in stock! 

NEW CHEESES

Monje: Creamier than Cabrales, wrapped in chestnut leaves and so blue it could put Billie Holiday to shame. Monje has a velvety smooth texture with a wonderful peppery blue tang and a lingering hazelnut finish. This Asturian farmhouse blue cheese has been made with raw cow’s milk for over 100 years. Robust and creamy, its complex flavors will unfold on your palate.

Malvarosa: A farmhouse sheep cheese produced in Valencia, it is hand made in the traditional shape. The curds are pressed together in a cheese cloth between boards which gives the cheese a flattened sack look like vella dry jack. Malvarosa has a slight crystalline crunchiness and a buttery flavor with notes of toffee in the finish. This cheese is a labor of love-the cheese maker saved this rare species of sheep from extinction.

Pata Cabra aka goat brick cheese. This unique goat’s milk cheese from Zaragoza is a washed rind cheese which is dense, smooth, creamy and mildly piquant. Faintly goaty, lightly lemony, fresh and full of character with sweet herbaceous overtones and a wonderful mildly bitter finish.

Little Friar Goat Cheese Logs 4oz, $3.49 each, plain or with herbs.  Produced from Merciana goats, this is amazingly creamy.

Goat Tronchon Wonderfully herbaceous, sweet, grassy, slightly piquant and complex with a lingering tangy finish. 

Drunken Goat Special – At $11.99 per pound, this is half off the usual price!  This customer favorite is a mild goat cheese dipped in Monastrell red wine.Fresh off the boat:  

Amarelo, a Portuguese sheep and goats milk cheese.

WINE AND BEEREric Asimov from the New York Times highlights the fascinating ancestry and sub-varieties of Argentinean Torrontes in his February 2 column.  We have six of the Torrontés that are reviewed in the article:  Michel Torino; Catena Alamos; Susana Balbo; Goulart; La Yunta and Terrazas de los Andes Reserva. 

SUPERBOWL REDS:  These three wines are excellent companions to a variety of foods, from chips and guacamole to charcuterie plates, burgers and steaks.

2009 Secreto de Viu Manent Malbec, Colchagua, Chile ($9.99) "Purple/black; smoke, blue and black fruits; excellent volume, complex, savory, long finish.” 91 points Wine Advocate

2008 Kaiken Malbec, Mendoza ($10.99)  Kaiken is a well crafted 100% Malbec, 60% aged in American oak for 9 months.  It displays a purity of blackberry fruit with mineral and coffee notes. "Emphasizes size and friendliness"  88 points Wine Enthusiast

2002 Mas de l'Abundància, Montsant  ($29.99)  Regularly $40.00!  Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha and Carineña, aged for 10 months in French oak, it's extended time in the bottle has allowed all of the elements to perfectly meld. On the nose, aromas of jam are enhanced by smoky flavors of boysenberry, black tea and licorice. Brooding and meaty, Mas de l'Abundància is full-bodied and complex, with notes of mineral and menthol. The lengthy finish is dry and rich.

Our extensive Iberian and South American beer selection will give any Superbowl party a Latin twist.  We’ve got Sagres and Mikate from Portugal.   From Spain, Estrella Damm, Estrella Daura gluten free beer, Estrella Inedit, Alhambra Lager and Alhambra Negra.  From Mexico, we’ve got Tecate and Bohemia; Jerome beer from Argentina and Casa Beer from Morocco.

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Sensational Flavors

As a youngster I grew up eating home-grown vegetables and home-cooked meals. Fortunately my mother, grandmother and sisters were all excellent cooks and my father’s garden was so bountiful that even our neighbors had enough fresh vegetables to stock their freezers. My fascination with flavors and quality ingredients sprang from these roots and even today, I eagerly await every meal!  With travel came discoveries of astonishing new ingredients and my palate began to yearn for more than fried chicken and tuna noodle casserole. Now that our stores have extensive selections of inspiring cookbooks, there’s no reason to cook the same dishes over and over!   (Paella excepted.)

Last night Steve turned to Joyce Goldstein’s cookbook “Saffron Shores” ($12.99) for a sensational Tunisian Fish Ball Tagine. The fish balls were light, delicately flavored and satiating on a chilly night. Give them a try!

JANUARY SALES ON SELECTED PRODUCTS – WHILE THEY LAST!

3 liters El Toro Pure Olive Oil $9.99

Miguel & Valentino brand Guindilla Peppers $.99 

Ferrer Dried Wild Mushrooms $4.99/ 15 gram jar

 Golden Peppadew Peppers $.99/14 oz 

Ferrer White Gazpacho $.99/24 oz

NEW WINES 

2009 Las Colinas del Ebro Garnacha Blanca, Terra Alta ($11.99) This crisp white has notes of chalk and crushed seashell with a zesty citrus finish. “Laid-back aromas of yellow apple, pear, melon and lemon thyme. Silky and modestly concentrated, with fine-grained honeydew and pear flavors and a light kiss of herbs. Tightly wound for the variety, finishing with good bite and lingering herbacity.” 88 points Stephen Tanzer

2000 Bodegas Lopez Heredia Viña Tondonia Rosé Gran Reserva ($22.99) This spectacular rosé is excellent all year long but perhaps best in the cooler season when its savoriness is a divine match for rich meat or poultry dishes. In yesterday’s New York Times, Eric Asimov describes Viña Tondonia Rosé as “pale, coppery, complex wine that compels you to smack your lips at the tactile pleasure of rolling it around in your mouth. Jamon Iberico please!”

2009 Tapiz Malbec, Mendoza ($11.99) Tapiz has inviting aromas of violets which compliment smoke, raspberry and plum cake notes. Hints of vanilla, menthol and incense give added complexity on the palate. Elegant with a velvety, persistent finish, it is also a terrific value!

2008 El Pecado, Ribera Sacra ($84.00) The 2008 El Pecado is produced by winemaker Raul Perez, who makes some of Spain’s most prized wines in the cool, green D.O. Ribeira Sacra of Galicia. His reds, made from the Mencia grape are reminiscent of top shelf Burgundy. The precision and elegance of these wines is astounding. Prized for their quality as well as their rarity: 115 cases of 2008 El Pecado were produced and only 16 cases were sent to the U.S. “The 2008 El Pecado is 100% Mencia from Ribera Sacra and offers up exotic, kinky aromas of mineral, incense, Asian spices, lavender, boysenberry, cranberry, and black raspberry. On the palate it is satin-textured, intense, complex, and stylish.” 95 points Wine Advocate

2006 Alion, Ribera del Duero ($90.00) The latest release of Vega Sicilia’s Alion has just arrived! “Intensely perfumed, mineral-driven scents of redcurrant, raspberry, spicecake and dried rose, with a smoky overlay. Juicy and precise, offering lively red fruit flavors and a suave floral pastille quality with aeration. Weightier on the finish, where the floral note lingers with authority and persistent spiciness.” 92 points Stephen Tanzer, 94 points Wine Advocate

GREAT MEATS

Zoe Meats Chorizo: A perfect balance of pork, fat and pimenton, it contains no nitrates/nitrites. This überlicious chorizo is a favorite of our Spanish customers. We carry a small 8oz version or you may buy it sliced, but we recommend the larger chorizo for the best value. $25.99/lb

Lomo Embuchado – This domestic lomo is a dry-cured pork loin that is very popular in Spain as part of a traditional tapas course. Always extremely lean, this cured meat is marinated before aging with an array of spices including garlic and paprika bringing out the full flavor of the pork. $34.99/lb

Upcoming Flamenco shows: This Friday and Saturday evening at Taberna del Alabardero: Don’t miss Manolo Leiva. Click here for details.

TUNISIAN FISH BALL TAGINE

In Spain, Sephardic fish balls, (called albondigas) were seasoned simply with parsley and maybe a little cheese, then fried and served with tomato sauce. Tunisian Jewish fish balls are more highly seasoned. To hold the fish together, most cooks use fresh bread crumbs. The fish balls may be fried or poached, then simmered in fish broth flavored with tomato puree, and served with couscous. Some recipes use chopped tomatoes and peppers in the broth.

Serves 6 TO 8

FOR THE FISH BALLS:

1½ lbs mild white fish, such as cod, sole, sn apper or bass

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 onions, finely chopped

½ Teaspoons kosher salt

½ Teaspoon harissa (try the rose petal harissa)

2 Teaspoons ground cumin

4 Slices stale bread, crusts removed, soaked in water and squeezed dry, or 1 ½ cups fresh bread crumbs

1 egg, beaten

Olive oil for frying

TOMATO SAUCE:

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Cloves garlic, minced

6 Tablespoons tomate frito, or 4 tomatoes, chopped

2 Cups fish broth or water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Couscous for serving

Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

To make the fish balls, bone and finely chop the fish. In a food processor or large bowl, combine the fish with all the remaining ingredients except the egg and oil. Mix well, Add the egg and mix until smooth. Dipping a spoon and your fingers in cold water, remove a sample of fish paste and roll into a ball. Fry in a little olive oil and taste and adjust the seasoning. Form the rest of the fish paste into I-inch balls. Either fry now, or place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for up to 3 hours.

In a large saute pan or skillet, heat ½ inch oil over medium-high heat and fry a few fish balls at a time until lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.

To make the tomato sauce, in a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add the fish balls and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve over couscous, sprinkled with parsley.

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Filed under Books, Events, Fish, Recepies, Red Wine, Rose

Epiphany & Collector Wines

Today is Epiphany.  In Spain there are fabulous parades and processions on the night of the 5th, with the three kings leading their gift-laden camels through the streets and showering the crowds with candy. Afterwards there’s one last big holiday meal before everyone finally goes to bed. The next morning the kids check their shoes and everyone feasts on the round, fruit-rich, pannettone-like roscón de reyes, or Three Kings Cake.  We’ve had many requests for Three Kings Cake and all I can say is… hopefully we’ll have it next year!

The beginning of January also brings resolutions, football playoffs and Saveur Magazine’s Top 100 issue of the year.  This year is the Chef’s Edition, a round up of culinary professionals’ favorite tools, ingredients, restaurants and more.

San Sebastian’s Juan Mari Arzak is number 26 on the list and I can’t think of anyone more deserving.  Juan Mari brought international acclaim to Basque cuisine with his experimental dishes featuring the finest local ingredients.  A dinner at his three star Michelin restaurant Arzak in San Sebastian is an unforgettable experience.

Among the Chef Edition’s choice ingredients, we’re proud to have some of the best in stock.  These stellar products are a must for any serious cook!  Number 64 is Miguel & Valentino pine-cone smoked Extra Virgin Olive Oil.    It is incredible drizzled over seafood, and adds a depth of flavor to pasta or grilled vegetable dishes.   Number 76 is Aji Amarillo Chile, which is essential to many Peruvian potato or shrimp recipes. Number 82 is chef Paul Bertolli and his toothsome Fra’Mani line of cured meats.   We stock the Salametto Piccante which is a Spanish-style dry chorizo made with Pimenton de la Vera.   Just slice it and make one of the best boccadillos you’ve had in a long time!

El Campero Restaurant in Barbate is number 36 on the list.  As a tuna aficionado, I am mad about this famous tuna-fishing village in southern Spain.  We stumbled upon Barbate in 2001 and two things made a big impression:  this no-frills fishing town had fresh, to-die-for tuna on every block.   I only wish we had discovered El Campero Restaurant with its 50 different tuna dishes!   Barbate’s flamenco scene was also amazing and worth a trip even without the tuna.  Macarena de Jerez and Ezequiel Benitez from Jerez de la Frontera were performing and the flamenco peña was bursting at the seams.  And incredibly, copas of Campo Viejo Rioja were only 80¢ each!

STUNNING NEW CHEESES

Bethmale Chèvre – This delicious washed-rind cheese from the Pyrenees is made exclusively with goat milk. It has a semi-firm texture with tiny eyes throughout, offering an airy delicate feel on the palate. Mildly goaty, nutty, slightly sweet and mushroomy.

Canzona Danablu – This one is for serious blue lovers! Pasteurized cows milk from Denmark. Piquant and tangy with a strong blue finish. Crumbles perfectly for salads and melts well over steaks and hamburgers. This is a stellar cheese for the price at $8.99/LB.

Torta de Oveja Caprichos de la Pastora – This limited production sheeps milk torta from Zamora is a rare and new addition to our extensive stock of Spanish Cheeses. In the same tradition as La Serena and Torta del Casar, this organic queso  is packed with a meadow of flavor.  Cut off the top and spoon out the über soft and gooey center. Rich, buttery, nutty, herbaceously sweet with a long piquant finish, Torta de Oveja Caprichos de la Pastora is perfectly complex;  the more you enjoy, the more nuances you discover!

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Goooaaal!

This is just a sample of our Christmas cookie selection that arrived last night

Fresh off the truck, we’ve been pricing and stacking Mantecados, Polvorones, Hojaldradas, Roscos de Vino, Alfajores de Almendra, E. Moreno Turron, Lacasa Turrones “con imaginacion”… you get the idea.   You’ve been asking when these will be here.   Come down now while we have the greatest assortment!

 

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Frango Assado

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Frango Assado in Oporto

One of our favorite meals in Portugal is Frango Assado.   We’ve never been disappointed by one of these  platters of marinated and grilled chicken, served with fries and mixed green salad, washed down with a cold Sagres beer.  (Of course, eating this on a hot sunny day just doubles the pleasure!!)  Portuguese birds are smaller than their American counterparts, and grill up to a succulent finish like nobody’s business.   Don’t leave Portugal without stopping in at one of these humble establishments; look for a hand painted sign reading ‘Frango Assado’ or ‘Churrecaria’.  Inside will be a huge grill covered with sizzling chickens cooking over flames. Here, you’ll be rewarded with great flavor and very cheap prices.

If you’re not traveling to Portugal in the near future, you can replicate Frango Assado at home.   We carry Sagres Portuguese beer ($10.99 per six pack) and now have Sagres beer steins ($6.99) and schooners ($4.99).

Here is our recipe for Frango Assado, from The Spanish Table Cookbook:   (Serves 4)

Each bird is butterflied and marinated in piri piri pepper sauce, then roasted over coals that crisp the sauce-saturated skin while leaving the meat moist and succulent.  It is appropriate that we associate this dish so closely with Portugal because the folk art symbol of Portugal is a rooster and gallo logos are everywhere.

1                                 Chicken, cut into halves or quarters

1 tablespoon                 Course sea salt

4 cloves                        Garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon                 Hot smoked pimentón

¼ cup                           Piri piri Sauce

¼ cup                           Olive oil

Put the salt in a mortar and add garlic.  Mash together, then grind in pimentón.

Smoosh in the piri piri followed by the olive oil.  You should now have a nice paste.

Using a brush, coat chicken on all sides.   Refrigerate for 24 hours then grill or bake at 450º for 45 minutes to one hour.

NEW WINES

2007 Calma Rioja ($14.99)   Calma Rioja reveals spice, cherry and cigar box aromas on the nose.  Made in a traditional Rioja style, it displays tasty cherry and berry fruit, mixed with spice and dusty earth.  With silky, ripe tannins and excellent persistence, this food friendly red is a great match for cured meats or rice dishes.

2008 Valle Azul Cabernet Sauvignon, Rio Negro Patagonia ($14.99)  Cabernet is the second most widely planted grape in Argentina, after Malbec.    Valle Azul Cabernet from Patagonia has a delicious  dusty edge to its ripe black and red fruit and a lengthy finish with minerals.  Winemaker Hans Vindig-Diers produces Noemia (the 2008 vintage received a 95 point score from Wine Spectator and sells for $105.00 if you can find it); Hans trained in Bordeaux and a group of Rio Negro vintners asked him to turn their fruit into wines that would show all of its potential.   “A floral-style Cab, with bright cherry and red plum notes laced with hints of violet and roasted vanilla. Nice supple finish. Drink now. 250 cases made.”   87 points Wine Spectator

2007 Viña Sastre Crianza, Ribera del Duero ($35.00) From the highest elevation vineyards in Ribera del Duero, this vineyard sometimes supplies fruit to Vega Sicilia.   Fermented with native yeast and aged 12 months in new French oak, this is a harmonious wine with elegance and nuance.   “Complex, seductively perfumed nose melds raspberry, cherry-cola, Asian spices and dark chocolate. Dense, sappy and focused, with allspice, vanilla and mineral tones to go with the powerful red fruit. Finishes with broad, palate-dusting tannins and excellent persistence. Owner Jesus Sastre told me that he wasn’t crazy for 2007 so [he made only] one wine: all the Pago de Santa Cruz and Pesus juice is in here. It shows.”  92 points Stephen Tanzer

2007 Marc Ripoll Sans Black Slate Gratallops, Priorat ($19.99) “A village appellation wine from Priorat, the 2007 Black Slate is a blend of 46% Garnacha, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, with the balance Carinena, Merlot and Syrah aged for 12 months in French and American oak. Purple-colored with an expressive bouquet of slate/mineral, Asian spices, mocha, and black cherry, on the palate it is loaded with succulent fruit, has superb concentration, and exceptional length. It has the structure to evolve for 1-2 years although it can be enjoyed now. It may be the finest value in quality Priorat in the market.”  91 points Wine Advocate

2007 Roquers de Porrera Priorat  ($40.00)  rice!  “The 2007 Roquers de Porrera is composed of 80% Garnacha and Carinena with the balance Merlot and Syrah aged for 16 months in 50% new French oak. Aromas of wet stone, licorice, underbrush, black cherry and plum lead to a silky-textured, elegant yet powerful expression of Priorat.  Incipiently complex, it will benefit from another 2-3 years of bottle age and offer prime drinking from 2013 to 2022.”  93 points Wine Advocate

NEW ITEMS & PRODUCTS BACK IN STOCK

A steady stream of new products have been rolling in the door for the last couple of weeks!     OCTWe’ve restocked the round wooden plates used for serving Pulpo A La Gallego (stewed octopus served on slices of boiled potato with paprika).  VUV We’ve had many requests for the “Vuelve Tortilla” pedestal plates – now we have them in wood, 20 cm and 30 cm size.  Handmade potholders from Panama, made by Kuna Indians in colorful bird and flower patterns.  Great for housewarming gifts or just to brighten up your own kitchen!

Our first shipment of Turron is now in!  We’ve got Casa Real, Delaviuda, 1880, and El Lobo brands; Blando, duro and Yema Tostada styles.   More is on the way…

Hand painted ceramic Portuguese rooster bottle stoppers and large boxes of Maria crackers are back in stock.

We still have Padron Peppers – a fresh shipment arrived yesterday.   Sadly, with colder weather, the pepper season will not last much longer, so get them while you can!

Don’t miss the opportunity to see the performers from Madrid’s Casa Patas flamenco tablao.  They performed in Benaroya Hall last weekend, and will be at Taberna del Alarbardero for four nights starting today.    They are absolutely phenomenal!   Contact Taberna del Alarbardero for information:  206.448.8884.

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