Friday, April 23, 2010
A Pleasant Surprise
Even though I'm constantly researching new places to eat, I'm always pleasantly surprised when my friends make suggestions of where to go. One of my best friends (and fellow food lover) took some time out of her busy nursing school schedule to slow it down with me over dinner and drinks this week. She suggested Rambla since we could bring our own wine and because their menu is designed for sharing. After reviewing their menu online, I replied to her suggestion with an enthusiastic "Yes!".
Located on Camp Street off of Canal in the Central Business District, Chef Kenneth LaCour's Rambla is a unique blend of Spanish and French cuisine inspired from the popular tapas bars that line the streets of Barcelona, Spain. Both the food and the atmosphere have been designed to inspire conversation and relaxation, using big wooden tables, antique mirrors, candles, and decorative ironwork to create the right aura.
I arrived earlier than my friend and received a very detailed overview of the menu by the maître d’, who was incredibly helpful, so by the time my friend got there with the wine, I had already decided on what we should order. We started with the Medjool Dates which were stuffed with blue cheese and a Marcona almond, then wrapped in smoked bacon. The combination of the chewy date and bacon mixed with the creaminess of the cheese and crunch from the almond made this small plate an instant favorite. Next we had the Applewood Smoked Salmon, served with a dill crème fraiche, corn beignets, and sliced grape tomatoes. We both really enjoyed this Petits Plats (small plate). Smoked salmon and dill are a classic combination and the corn beignet was both unexpected and wonderful. It was crunchy on the outside, sweet and fluffy on the inside, and dotted with plump corn kernels. The sliced tomatoes, though not many, added a nice tang and splash of color to the dish. Next our waiter brought out the Stuffed Piquillo Peppers, one stuffed with Tuna Confit and the other with Herbed Chevré, and the Patatas Bravas. We found the Tuna Confit to be slightly fishy and agreed that sweet pepper paired with the creamy herb cheese was much better. The Patatas Bravas were cubed pieces of potato, much like hashbrowns, that were cooked to a golden brown, rolled in paprika, and then topped with a garlic alioli. Coming from a person who doesn't even like potatoes that much, these cute little carb cubes have my vote for "Most Delicious Potato Put in My Face in 2010". Last we had the Churros with salted caramel for dessert. Let's just say that when my two churros were gone, I definitely dipped my finger in the caramel sauce three... okay, four times.
We finished up our glasses of wine, paid the bill, and thanked our waiters for an excellent meal. It was the perfect amount of food for the two of us, though next time I'm definitely going to try the Galacian-Style Octopus and Rambla Shrimp, which sound too good to pass up a second time. Even with our busy schedules and monthly money saving attempts, my friend and I still manage to get together often to enjoy a nice meal. Food always tastes better when enjoyed with best friends.
We drank our own bottle of wine, but don't these specialty drinks sound delish?
My friend and I both agree that a dinner party around this big table would be so much fun
Applewood Smoked Salmon with Corn Beignets and Dill Crème Fraiche
Stuffed Piquillo Peppers with Tuna Confit and Herbed Chevré
Patatas Bravas with Paprika and Garlic Alioli
Churros with Salted Caramel sauce