08.28.10 (tapas and A GIVEAWAY!!)

Wild Mushrooms with Herbed Cheese

This time last year saw us frantically scrambling in our beloved New Haven apartment as we packed and cleaned and squeezed all of our possessions into a U-Haul on our trek to Manhattan (and this was after only finding out where we were moving to eight days prior to our move-out date). The month of August was, to be honest, a period of great uncertainty and stress for many reasons: my commute was becoming so bad that taking back roads from Milford to New Haven was preferable to standing in traffic on I-95, our apartment had been leased out for September at the beginning of the month and we didn’t have an apartment to go to in NYC until a week prior to our move-in, and we were faced with all of the normal stresses of moving without knowing where the fuck we were going to until the last minute possible…or so it seemed.

A small respite in the midst of all of that uncertainty was a trip to Barcelona’s New Haven location for a lovely meal for Michael’s birthday. I knew that the geniuses behind the restaurant had released a cookbook around that time and was hoping to check it out while we were there. While the food was amazing as always, the service was off and we ended up leaving in a huff (without me looking at the book) and I ended up bitching about said service on Twitter. They responded quickly, apologized profusely and even offered to give us a meal on them, but given that we weren’t living in the area anymore, I never took them up on it because we no longer lived in New Haven.

Of course, I ended up getting the cookbook as a birthday present a few months later and for the past year we have cooked our way through much of the book with every recipe taking us back to fun nights we’ve had at the restaurant…and that’s where our giveaway comes in.

Sweet and Sour Figs with Chorizos

Between the two of us, we recreated much of the dishes we enjoyed at that dinner a year ago, from the almost-obligatory chorizos with sweet and sour figs to the life-altering calamari a la plancha. Que delicioso. What we lacked in ambiance (we were hanging out in pajamas and watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia–hardly cool-restaurant-vibe–we more than made up for in with flavor.

Calamari a la plancha with Smoked Pepper Sauce

And now for the giveaway details!

Barcelona has kindly given us a few autographed copies of its amazing cookbook to dole out to our readers, so to enter, simply answer this question by leaving a comment:

If you could recreate the food from a restaurant, which would it be and why?

UPDATED: To give you a better idea of how much we love this book, here are the recipes we’ve given a try so far:

  1. That’s some great t.v.-watching food! Sure beats cold pizza!

  2. It would definitely be the food from the Glass Onion in Charleston, SC. I’d need to get a deep fryer…. We used to live right around the corner from the GO, and ate there all the time. Now that we’ve moved, I really miss it.

  3. Nive said:

    The kung pao chicken from P.F Chang’s would be the ideal food that I want to recreated in my kitchen…they just taste yum!!! Thanks for this giveaway…


  4. jillian said:

    For me it has to be Carboncito’s, located just off 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We discovered this gem just weeks before leaving our expat life behind for a while. This unassuming hotel/restaurant is run by a very cool American guy, working with local flavors and concepts, elevated to a near-sublime level. As a friend of a friend he served us on his roof on our penultimate night South of the Border, with a view of the Caribbean until the rains came in and we hustled downstairs to the cozy dining room. We ordered the mixed grill platter for two, an astonishing array of shrimp in creamy sauce, smoky mushrooms, tender arrachera and savory pastor, served with tortillas and guacamole and a round of the usual suspects. I don’t know how I would recreate this dish, with so many distinct flavors that work amazingly well in any seemingly infinite combination. Russel is a genius and I hate that we had only a few nights to indulge in his decadent creation.

  5. Tracy said:

    For me it’s not a restaurant, but Roberto’s parents house. When his mother makes pasta with the simplest of vegetables. Carrots, cauliflower, onion, zucchini. The vegetables laze about in the pan, yet retain their shape, and then go on to melt in your mouth. Usually made with farfalle, generous nubs of butter and heaps of parmesan, with just the right amount of crushed red pepper. Finished with reserved pasta water…It’s difficult to stop at just one helping (which is always enormous).

  6. Teslaca said:

    This may sound kind of weird, but I had an incredible room service breakfast at the Capitol Tokyo Hotel on a visit there. It was a traditional Japanese breakfast with loads of little dishes and I’d love to be able to have it again. If I could recreate the miso soup with tiny clams and the grilled salmon – just two of the many dishes – I’d be very happy.

  7. Jennifer said:

    I used to get a cake at Maison Richard in L.A. – chocolate cake that had marizpan layers and chocolate ganache. I’d love to be able to make that – haven’t had anything like it in years!

  8. Oh my! It would, by far, be this amazing sweet potato soup at a sushi place that has since moved and changed their game a while ago. It was this perfect bisque of sweet potato with a sweet shrimp in it and a monkfish foie gras. It was, in a word, to die for. I dream of that soup. It came out literally still bubbling it was so hot and the server would pour a dot of scented cream over the top. UGH! To.die.for!!!

  9. Hm…does it only have to be one thing? This is going to be a challenge!

    I would say most likely the crispy tea-smoked duck at the China Canteen in my hometown. They serve it with small mantos (I don’t know what to call them in English, sorry!) rather than the pancakes that most restaurants serve alongside duck. I guess theoretically when I move back I can just buy it, but since I live 550 miles away at present I can’t, and therefore should learn how to make it.

    And the two entire meals I had at L’auberge chez Francois, down to the candied-violet sorbet they serve as a palate cleanser before the main course. Also, I loved how the waiter took my drink options seriously, even as a ten-year-old. IBC rootbeer is definitely worth the effort, and I still fondly remember the entire experience.

  10. Susan Billie Taylor said:

    The Maine Diner in Wells, Maine serves a Lobster Pie that is so good. I know it has lots of lobster and bread crumbs. I’d love to make it at home. Oh, I can’t forget their Seafood Chowder. I’d like to make that too!

  11. hmmmm . . . i would have to say anything that Mario Batali makes but especially his 7-layer lasagna; made with a cream bechamel and tiny little meatballs . . . swoon!

  12. Thank you everyone for your great comments! We’ll be leaving this open over the long holiday weekend and announce the winners next week.

  13. Priyanka (a.k.a. Yankers) said:

    Off the top of my head, it would have to be the gnocchi I had at Restaurant Week at L’Orcio right around the corner from my house. It was delicious and my labmate rightly called them ‘Little Pillows of heaven’ 🙂 If I could make ’em that good, I would be super impressed!

  14. Janis said:

    I would say that it would be anything from Manresa in Los Gatos, California. David Kinch is a genuis.

  15. Kocinera said:

    If I could recreate any dish from any restaurant, I’d probably try and replicate the Macadamia Chicken with papaya marmalade and white cheddar mashed potatoes that I tried at Kona Grill in San Antonio almost 4 years ago. It was like nothing I’d ever tasted before–just incredible!

  16. Now that I’ve read everyone else’s comments I’m REALLY hungry. Those mushrooms look incredible. Hopefully you’ve posted that recipe? Ok, gotta narrow it down to one. The chicken lasagna at a neighborhood Italian place called Mama Carolla’s. It’s basically a white lasagna but is served with a red sauce over the top. OMG it is incredible. Second place is Bijou where Candice makes the BEST french onion soup I’ve ever had in my life. Now, let it be said, I have the recipes for my two other favorite soups – Lobster Bisque from Aesop’s and Cap’n Parker’s clam chowder on Cape Cod. WHEW – Kate@kateiscooking

  17. Twenty/20 in Calrsbad, CA, hosts tapas outside on the patio on Thursdays. My favorite dish is a Grilled Skirt Steak with Cucumbers, Strawberries and Mint. I would love to make it at home, but have never tried… I know it won’t be as good without the sunset view!

  18. I would recreate spanish corquettas and seafood paella because it is one of the best things to ever hit my taste buds 🙂

  19. I would recreate the Pork Jowl Nuggets from Back Forty, NYC. As much as they seem like they would be easy, being so small, I think it would be a challenge to make the texture correct. I wrote a post about it on food buzz…check it out.

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