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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