Sunday, February 10, 2008

Anniversary weekend... sans photos...

I intended on posting a recap of our weekend, with photos, but since the photo part isn't going to happen here it is... I brought my little Sony Cybershot with me. I can throw it right in my purse so it's a bit more inconspicuous than the Canon. But upon returning home I realized that I don't have the cord needed to get the photos off the camera onto the computer. Dang. I'm not sure if it's somewhere in the abyss of our basement or if it was left behind during the move. It's lost. So no photos.

We got to the city early on Saturday and they allowed us to check in, even though check-in isn't actually until 4pm. Go Omni Hotel, we're off to a good start. We unloaded our bags. The room was comfortable and clean. And a great view of Olde City and the river in the distance (which looked awesome on Sunday morning as the fog rose). We did a little exploring... we didn't really have anything planned, so it was just wandering and taking in the rare winter sun. Our hotel was in an ideal location... within walking distance to many sites, squares, and restaurants. I have to admit, it made me a little nostalgic of my college years when I went to school in the city. Everything is just so convenient. Except traffic. Traffic in Philly is often a nightmare, made worse by the fact that 1-way streets are the norm. Our search for the hotel's parking garage included 3 circles in order to get back to the street that we needed. I guess it's a trade-off.

After our walk, we got ready for dinner at Amada. For those that don't know, tapas are small portions of food that are served along with drinks at a bar. Here is the tradition of tapas, as written on Amada's website...

According to legend, the roots of tapas goes back to the 13th century Castilian King, Alfonso The Wise, who attributed his recovery from illness to his custom of taking small bites of food with wine between meals. Eager to promote his people's health, he decreed that tabernas in Castile could not serve wine unless accompanied by something to eat.

Because it was as enjoyable as it was healthful, the custom quickly caught on. And today you can still go into a bar in Northern Spain, order a glass of peleon (young, "peasant" wine) or sangria, eat some bites of jamon curado and settle up by telling the bartender how many pieces you had.

With its unique position as between Africa and Europe and its dual Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines, Spanish tapas dishes incorporated a wealth of flavors, from charcuterie to bean casseroles, vegetables, calamari and other fruits of the sea. This tapestry of flavors along with 800 years of tradition give Chef Garces ample opportunity to create dishes that excite his guests no matter how many times they return.

Oh.My.God. It was beyond my expectations. The chef is a genius. I came across a review site beforehand that persuaded me to try some things that I probably never would have picked on my own.

We both had the Sangria, naturally. We started out with some cheeses that each came with a side to dip them in. Kev's favorite was the fresh queso de cabra, which came with a side of balsalmic strawberries. Mine was the aged manchego with a side of truffled lavendar honey. Who would think that cheese would go so perfectly with honey? Wow. We loved everything that we tried... after the cheeses we had piquillos rellenos (crab stuffed peppers), alcachofas a la paremsan (artichokes covered in a warm parmesan sauce), setas (grilled seasonsal mushrooms), cordero relleno (lamb chops stuffed with goat cheese, herbs, and romesco sauce), and cocido (shortrib ravioli, consomme, braised cabbage and grilled sausage). We ended our meal with Olas de Chocolate, which translates to waves of chocolate. The menu describes it as Godiva liqueur cake, chocolate mousse, milk chocolate ice cream... how could we resist?

We then headed to a brewery down the street... Triumph Brewing Company. Kev made a wise choice with his Honey Wheat Ale. I made a choice that led me to drink the most horrendous beverage ever created. No joke. It looked completely harmless... Jolie Blonde. Sounds like a pale, light, girly kinda beer right? Not so. It tasted like hot peppers. Think about hot peppers mixed with beer. I'm gagging right now. To recover from that fun experience, we went to a wine bar, Positano. I had a fruity drink to clear the hot pepper taste from my palate. And after our drinks we finished the night with a walk around the city...

It was a perfect weekend. Quite the contrast from how we celebrated last year, but still perfect. And after all our reflection on the past year, I'm pretty convinced that we have even more to look forward to...

7 comments:

Sarita said...

OMG that cordero relleno sounds amazing!

I love how the Amada website makes tapas sound so romantic...the version here in Sevilla is that a plate was used to cover ("tapar", hence tapas) the drinks to keep the flies out and over time cheese and jamón were added as a way for the drunks to sop up their liquor...hahaha

Feliz Aniversario, guapa!

Stacy said...

Happy Anni! Can't wait to see the photos too!

Mary said...

Happy Anniversary! Glad you had a fantastic weekend!

Anonymous said...

Tapas - I am ready to go.
Cheese with honey, chocolate, it all sounds so wonderful. I am glad you got to go and enjoy.

Love
Mom Rose

Christine said...

Put some pictures up hoochie! love you :)

3 Parrots Island said...

Hey there, found you tonight during my blog-jaunt and had to tell you how AMAZING your pictures are!! Photography is a new interest of mine, and I enjoyed looking through your past entries.

I'll be back :)

shelby said...

Happy Anniversary!