I think I fell in back in love with food during the summer I spent living in Spain before my sophomore year of high school.
BACK in love? Well, yes. The previous year I'd begun to view breakfast, lunch and dinner as dreaded blocks of time during the day that I just had to get through.
But Spain changed me.
I marveled at the Spaniards' ability to sit and savor their meals. Eating wasn't just something that happened three times per day, rather,it was a time to commune with family and friends for hours--eating, laughing, enjoying--with no agenda to be had. It was in Spain that I let my inhibitions fly away (until I returned to the U.S., that is) and discorvered just how fun, delicious and satisfying REAL food can be!
My favorite part of the culinary scene in Spain was tapas time--the period between lunch and dinner when people gather for appetizers. Most nights of the week, around five-o'clock, my host family would take me to a little bar down the street where we'd enjoy tortilla, jamon and croquettas. It became a habit that I missed tremendously once I was home.
So naturally I'm a huge fan of the increasing number of tapas restaurants in the United States!
A few nights ago, I was able to try a new-to-me Spanish restaurant in Georgetown called Bodega.
And guess who joined me?
Alex from I Eat Asphalt!
Thank goodness she'd made a reservation, because when we arrived, the restaurant was bustling! We were immediately ushered to our table in the garden patio in the back of the restaurant.
After chatting for 15 minutes (fortunately our waitress--a Penelope Cruz look-alike--was patient!) we decided to take a look at the menu.
Everything sounded good! It was tough choosing just four tapas to share!
We started with this:
Escalibada Catalana Roasted Eggplant, peppers & onion Salad
Before you say, ewww, hear me out. The roasted vegetables--accented with coarse sea salt and adorned with full-bodied olive oil--practically melted in my mouth. The sweet onion (second from left) was my favorite of the four blobs. :-)
Next up was Espinacas A La Catalana.
Espinacas A La Catalana sautéed spinach with pine nuts, apples & raisins
This tapa can be found at most Spanish restaurants...and for good reason! The combination of sweet fruit and savory dressing is delicious.
We also ordered two seafood dishes:
Bacalao a la Bilbaina con Lentejas de León Sautéed Cod Filet with Olive Oil, León Lentils, Garlic and Parsley
The cod was just okay. It tasted like it had been soaking in a salty marinade for a bit too long. However the Arroz Melroso was INCREDIBLE! The rice was cooked with cream and saffron, creating a risotto-like consistency. Next time I go to Bodega I think I'll order three plates of this and call it a meal. :-)
Afterward, we moseyed our way onto M St., where we discovered a Haagen Dazs cart offering free samples! I tried the raspberry sorbet, which was one of my favorites as a little girl.
And then, as good bloggers do, we asked a fellow ice cream sampler to snap our picture.
I'm so glad I had the opportunity to meet Alex! She is just as sweet in person as she seems on her blog, and she shares my interest in nutrtion policy, dietetics and sustainable food.
A few days later we met again to peruse the produce offerings at Eastern Market.
HOLY (moldy?) PUMPKIN!!
Wait, what's a chocolate bar doing amongst the produce pictures? And a chocolate bar with BACON at that? :-p
Yep, I went there.
I'm a huge fan of the salty/sweet combination, so I thought this bar was quite tasty. However it was hard for me to detect the bacon flavor. The Vosgues Woolloomooloo bar is still my favorite!
Where else have I been going lately?
Edy's rolls out this delicious flavor only once a year, so I have to get my fix while I can!
Hope you're all having a fantastic week!
What food are you enjoying right now?