I just finished a fresh, locally-sourced dinner served in a wonderfully secluded corner of our city’s best restaurant patio. My stomach is thanking me.
As you may be aware, this week is Crave’s Farm to Plate Week. As the recent recipient of a Barcelona gift card, I figured that there’s no time like the present to head over there and take advantage of local ingredients, fine weather, and entertaining company (thanks Sam!).
Now, I enjoy Barcelona‘s namesake paella several times each month while guiding Columbus Food Adventure German Village Food Tours, so, while Sam knew he couldn’t go wrong with that (see delicious photo below), I decided to venture out and try the Farm-to-Plate 8-item tapas menu.
The first three items were a black bean hummus with tortilla chips, an Ensalada de Rucula, and a Sopa de Pepino. The last of these was definitely my favorite. The description on the menu was “chilled spicy cucumber soup, herb creme fraiche”. The best part was that it was actually spicy! This thing had kick in a fantastically creamy way. It reminded me of one of my favorite recipes that my mom makes, a chilled cucumber avocado soup.
The next set of tapas consisted of an “Ohio Proud” beef filet with a blue cheese pink peppercorn sauce, fried green tomatoes with Lucky Penny Creamery feta cheese and salsa, and a corn meal-dusted Lake Erie perch. I loved the salty crunch of the fried green tomatoes. If you want to replicate those at home, check out this how-to video from Barcelona’s chef. These tomatoes were delightfully non-greasy and the coating was just right.
The final set of tapas was a Spanish pulled pork sandwich with chorizo aioli and an Ohio organic fried egg with Bucyrus bratwurst and a jalapeno gastrique. I need to figure out where in Bucyrus the bratwurst comes from, because it was GOOD. I think it had been briefly pan-seared because it was nice and crispy on the outside. I’ve got a major sweet tooth, so the jalapeno gastrique provided just the right amount of sweetness to balance the spice of the jalapeno and the salt of the bratwurst. I wouldn’t guess that an egg would make a good bed on which to display pork, but that worked quite well too.
For only $35, these tapas felt like a great value. I love getting to try lots of different dishes when I eat out and this certainly satisfied that craving. It also felt great to know that most of the ingredients on my plate were fresh and locally-sourced. I don’t think I’m biased when I say that that really came through in the flavor.
If you’ve got a meal free this weekend, check out Barcelona or one of the many other Columbus restaurants that are participating in Farm-to-Plate through Sunday. If your weekend is already packed with Columbus’ other awesome events, stop by later this month to take advantage of a future tapas tasting, or to order that flavor-packed paella. I’d highly recommend begging the chef to whip up some of the spicy cucumber soup, too!
(Disclosure: I was provided the above-mentioned gift card in conjunction with Crave’s Farm to Plate week. Second disclosure: I’ll take any opportunity to eat at Barcelona–if it’s a subsidized opportunity, I just enjoy it that much more.)