I rarely go to happy hour, but my book club suggested it for our recent book discussion of The Vacationers by Emma Straub. I chose the Spanish restaurant, Barlata, primarily because the book takes place on the island of Majorca off the coast of Spain, but also because it had been a while since I had visited. A word of note: the happy hour only takes place in the bar area, so be aware that the seating is backless bar stools, not the cushy booths in the restaurant section. We started off with the house red which was $5 a glass. The 2012 Bielsa Garnacha was earthy, dry, yet smooth. There were five in our party and we wondered (after the first round) if the best value was by the glass or by the bottle during happy hour. Our very patient and sweet server confirmed that in this case by the glass was the more economic option, but a few minutes later she brought out a bottle of the house and decided to give it to us for the same price as the per glass happy hour cost. We ordered a large selection of appetizers which were each small in size, but were, for the most part, very shareable amongst a small group. We had many favorites, but the hands down winner for me was the Braised Oxtail served with garlic mashed potatoes and red wine sauce. I remember having this before; it is comfort food taken to the highest level. Creamy, smooth and fragrant potatoes layered under the tender meat that was served with at complex sauce that binds it all together. We also loved the Shrimp and Octopus Ceviche (I think we ordered that one twice), the tapenade (which came with the complimentary bread) was perfect (not to salty or overpowering), and the Chorizo Rioja style with garlic mashed potatoes was another hit. Luckily we saved room for dessert. We found the standouts were from the ice cream selection and ordered two. Dark Chocolate with marcona almonds, olive oil and sea salt was rich and smooth, with an ample butterfat roundness complimented by the almonds and salt. The other was Saffron (spelled with a "c") candied orange and pimenton. A most unusual, sweet and exotic flavor due to the highly prized saffron. Muy delicioso! Happy hour at Barlata happens Sunday-Thursday 5:00-7:00 p.m. I think I will need to return for a weekend brunch in the future.
The love of food and how it can bring people together led to the creation of this blog. As a mother of two grown boys, who have left the nest and occasionally return, I noticed a common occurrence-- there is usually someone at home who is hungry.
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