Friday, August 29, 2008

Sometimes it's just not worth it to cook

Some nights you just cannot bring yourself to cook.
Tonight was one of those nights.

I met MF at his place in the LBC and we decided to go out to dinner.

We have gotten into a bit of a restaurant rut. Not just in the South Bay, but over the bridge in Long Beach, too.

Which is a shame since there are so many great places in both areas.

We decided to skip our usual places, which include the Yardhouse, the Pike and Gallagher's Pub and go for some tapas at Sevilla on Pine Street in downtown Long Beach.

I have driven by dozens of times and had friends recommend the place.
But Pine Street can be a zoo on weekends and even later in the evening on Thursdays.

This night I finished work a little early since I had gone in early. So it was a great time to try Sevilla.

It was warm out, with just a perfect breeze so we decided to sit outside on the patio.

Our waiter brought us a little dish of briny, spicy olives and explained the menu to us.

There were a series of tapas, which he said were a good size for two people to sample.
He said the tapitas on the other list were smaller, more bite-size.

They also had brochetas, or skewers, that included shrimp, beef, chicken and lamb.

A selection of sampler plates looked interesting.

They also had some entrees, but we opted to do a grazing sort of dinner and get a selection of things from the tapas and tapitas lists.

First order, drinks: sangria royale for me and the signature mojito for MF.

For our grazing menu MF was brave and, after a little discussion, left the ordering up to me.

I chose:

French bread with homemade aioli and Andalusian tomato sauce - This was a nice loaf of crusty bread, about eight thick slices; the tomato sauce was tangy and sweet; the aioli is basically a super garlicky mayo type dip.

Tortilla Espanola - This is not a tortilla like what you use to make a burrito or a taco. This is similar to a frittata, but with more potato. Since this was from the tapitas list, I was thinking it might be small, but the portion would have been plenty for me to have as a breakfast. It was thinly sliced potato held together with egg and cheese.
MF said this may have been his favorite dish.
It was so simple, but so very tasty. It came warm, not hot with a little portion of marinated mushrooms.

Crabcakes with a blood orange sauce - I liked that they served these cakes with the sauce on the side. Some places drown a crab cake in sauce to the point that you don't taste the crab.
These were thick with crab meat, but still had a light, airy mouth feel.
The flavor of the cake was nice and clean and the sauce, which was just a touch on the sweet side was an excellent choice.

Steamed black mussels in a lobster & seafood cream sauce with saffron - Yeah, this was my favorite. I have come to prefer the smaller black mussels over the big green lip mussels. They seem to be more tender and have a less gritty texture to them.
The sauce was like a super-rich almost bisque-type concoction. Like bisque but thicker and richer. The bread was a good dipper for this once the mussels were gone.

Cold marinated tapas sampler - This came with artichoke hearts with ham; piquillo peppers with oil and garlic; mushrooms in balsamic; and spicy octopus. This all was excellent. The octopus may have been my favorite on here because the flavor was so good and the preperation was spot on. It had a chewiness that I expect from octopus, but it was not like chewing on a rubber band.
Really though, every thing on this sampler was worth getting again.

There were a good number of items on the tapas and tapitas menus that were listed as vegetarian so it is a good choice for non-carnivores, too.
They had a few mojito options and a few sangria choices, including a white sangria. I may have to try that next time we go.

And yeah, there definitely will be a next time.

I have my eye on some meatballs in a garlic and sherry sauce.

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