Monday, May 24, 2010
Only 2 out of 5 so far, and counting... I'm talking about dining at the eating establishments (Garces Restaurant Group) of Philadelphia's renowned chef, Jose Garces: owner and executive chef of the city’s most acclaimed: Amada, an authentic Andalusian tapas bar; Tinto, a wine bar and restaurant inspired by the Basque region of Northern Spain and Southern France; Distrito, a spirited celebration of the vibrant culture and cuisine of Mexico City; Chifa, a Latin-Asian restaurant named after the Peruvian restaurants of the same name; and Village Whiskey, a classic American bar with over 80 whiskies and bar snacks.
Over a year ago, I went to Chifa for lunch (read Tinsel & Tine Chifa commentary) and last weekend I got to spend an indulgent 3 hours at Amada with my wonderful friends who came from NY to cheer me up after I was unceremoniously dumped by my boyfriend. Between courses, conversation mostly consisted of internet and other dating horror stories from both sides; stories they can now both laugh at, having blissfully found each other. I was able to laugh too, as seeing these two together does give me hope. Even better medicine for heartbreak - being treated to incredible tapas delights!
My friends are tapas fanatics in New York, so I knew Amada would be right up their Alley. There's an art to ordering the dishes in an order that truly pleases the palate, and so, I not only was pleased to sit back and let someone much more knowledgeable than I do the honors of choosing the fare; I am honored to present his review on Tinsel & Tine.
So readers, here is guest blogger - IntenseMellow:
It was great to get the opportunity to try Amada's lunchtime offerings. We started with their Artisanal Spanish Olives and the Mixto plates of cured meats and cheeses. The olives themselves were excellent, but I thought were overpowered by a brine that seemed to taste of Worcestershire sauce, I could be mistaken, but it was too strong to me.
The generous serving of meats included thinly shaved Chorizo Pamplona, Chorizo Blanco, Lomo Embuchado (dried pork loin), and Salchichon (salami-like). Both chorizos were aromatic and spicy, and I particularly liked the Chorizo Blanco. All the meats compared favorably in my mind to the best Spanish tapas in NYC, but at prices and portions unheard of in Manhattan. All three cheeses complemented both each other as well as our wine, a 2005 Conde de Valdemar Crianza (Tempranillo).
My favorite was the Cana de Cabra which was briny and smooth, but not too creamy. Next was the Tortilla Espanola, a typical Spanish dish best described as a loose omelet with fried potatoes. It doesn't quite compare with a version I recently had at Pata Negra in NYC, but still very much worth getting. We were excited to read about the Habas A La Catalana, a warm Fava & Lima Bean Salad. I think I liked it most at the table - savory and with a nice herb vinaigrette. As our final course we had the Setas (wild mushrooms) and also the Albondigas (lamb meatballs with shaved manchego). I thought the meatballs were not particularly noteworthy, but the mushrooms were presented simply and that won points for me.
I would definitely like to explore the menu further, and will recommend to all my friends visiting Philadelphia. While not inexpensive by any means, the menu delivers excellent value and high quality in delivering a memorable tapas experience. I'll be back!
IntenseMellow is a new blog being rolled out soon. Food and dining will be among the topics, but the aim of the posts will be an informative and entertaining guide for NYC transplants from CA.
I feel just like when Happy Days introduced Mork from Ork (God, I'm really showing my age!)