As you know from this post, I recently spent a week in Spain with two of my girlfriends, Jackie and Pam!
As you all know, I love food. So aside from the whole exploring-a-new-country-with-fabulous-friends thing, what I was most excited about prior to the trip was all the food and wine. And I’m happy to report, Spain did not disappoint! We ate tapas-style for almost every meal, which means we maximized our “tastes” – lots of little bites of flavorful, interesting food. While most of the restaurants we ate at were very good, there was one meal in particular that stood out for me. We took a bike tour on our first full day in Barcelona, and afterwards our tour guide, Bill, a late-20s/early 30s hipster-type, recommended a few restaurants / bars / clubs to check out. I made a reservation for Sensi Tapas that night (at 10 PM – when in Rome!), and it took the top award for my favorite meal of the trip.
I encourage you to check out their menu to get a feel for the experience. Our waiter was an extremely friendly and knowledgeable guy who created an amazing Spanish dining experience for us three American girls! With his guidance, we chose a bottle of red wine and selected seven tapas. Each dish was presented individually in the order that the chef felt made the most “Sensi” given the combination of tapas we ordered. I’ll follow the same logic and share each dish as it was presented to us. I’m the first to admit that I’m no food blogger, so these photos are hardly what I’d consider “food porn” – but hopefully they make you just a little bit jealous!
All three of us voted this as our #1 tapa of the entire trip. For those of you unfamiliar with ceviche, it’s simply raw seafood that “cooks” in citrus juice. I can’t remember exactly what was in this ceviche (I think the menu online has changed since our visit), but it looks like it may have been tuna or some sort of whitefish, with red onions, mango, and a bunch of other fresh ingredients. It was bursting with fresh flavor, and we all loved it (and debated getting a second serving!).
The onion marmalade and brie toasts stole the show with this dish. I’m not sure who got the fourth toast, but safe to say we probably fought over it 🙂
Course #3: Thai-Style Green Chicken Curry
Not what you’d expect from your typical Spanish tapas restaurant, eh? There were a surprising number of Thai-inspired restaurants and dishes throughout Barcelona, and Sensi featured a whole section of “Oriental” tapas. This dish was good, as I love curry – but nothing special, although I enjoyed the variation in flavors it brought to our meal.
Course #4: Mushroom “Crema Catalana”
This was not a tapa that we initially chose, but our server highly recommended it so we took a risk. The verdict? Interesting. Apparently “crema catalana” is typically a sweet dish, but Sensi created a savory version with mushrooms. The texture was similar to flan – a little jiggly and very smooth. It wasn’t my favorite dish, but it was a departure from the norm and quite flavorful – reminded me of my mother’s beloved mushroom cups.
Forgot to snap a photo of this one until it was halfway eaten! Better late than never. As many of you know, I’m not a red meat eater when it’s in filet form – it’s a texture thing. I’ll eat ground beef til the cows come home, but I just can’t do a piece of meat like the above. But Pam and Jackie certainly enjoy their beef, though, and I’m not going to be the one to stop them! They say it was very good, and I can attest that the potatoes that accompanied the beef were very tasty. And come to think of it, I probably got the extra brie toast in course #2 because of it!
A trip to Spain wouldn’t be complete without Paella! To be completely honest, this Paella was a little disappointing. Not because it wasn’t flavorful – it was – but because it lacked seafood. The three pieces you see in the photo were all the seafood in the dish – it was mostly rice. Fortunately, the rice was perfectly cooked and very tasty in and of itself, but we were a bit disappointed in the rice-to-seafood ratio. Perhaps this Paella was actually more authentic than what we were used to, but we expected more shellfish. Far from a complete fail, but not our favorite dish.
Course #7: Fresh Truffle Ravioli in a Parmesan Cream
Like the mushroom dish, this was also not one of our original selections, but the waiter recommended it with such enthusiasm that we gave it a try. It seems our waiter had an affinity for decadent, cream-based dishes, because the two he recommended were the richest of the night. It was also VERY tasty, but then again, when isn’t truffle cream tasty?! It was also the only pasta we ate all week, and I enjoyed the change of pace.
When our waiter asked if we wanted to see the dessert menu, we sadly declined as we were just too full.
JUST KIDDING! I ask you, have I ever been too full for dessert? A an epic dinner like this wouldn’t be complete without dessert. I managed to take a photo of the dessert menu:
We ended up selecting two to share – the Carmelized Apple (“childhood memories” – how cute is that?) and the Chocolate Foundant – “for dark chocolate lovers” – aka, ME. Guess which one was better?
And with that, we stumbled home (a 25+ minute walk), bellies full and minds in a red-wine haze. If you are ever in Barcelona, I highly recommend you dine at Sensi Tapas!