While on a press trip with Kansas Pork Association, I experienced the Spanish inspired food of Mercat a la planxa restaurant in Chicago. They say they offer a culinary tour of Barcelona – and they are located right on Michigan Avenue. It was amazingly memorable!
Enjoy these photos. I will attempt to explain exactly what they are – although sometimes I wasn’t entirely sure. I just know every single thing I devoured was heavenly.
PAN CON TOMATE
Grilled focaccia, fresh tomato, roasted garlic and sea salt. This was by far my favorite. The tomatoes tasted fresh from the vine!
DATILES CON ALMENDRAS
Bacon wrapped dates stuffed with Marcona almonds. When I bit into these, I had a culinary moment. Time stood still. The crispy, salty bacon was wrapped around delicate, sweet dates. Then my tongue wrapped around the nutty almonds. I have never experienced anything like them before.
TRUITA de PATATA CON ESPINACAS
Spanish style omelet with spinach & potato, saffron ailoli. I was not thrilled with this one. It tasted fine, but didn’t have any flavors that stood out to me.
Mixed greens, asparagus, green beans, avocado, shaved ideazabal cheese, sherry vinaigrette. The dressing is what made this salad outstanding. I adore vinaigrettes and this one was tart, sweet, and delightful. The different textures of the variety of veggies was fun too – from the soft avocado to the crunchy green beans.
CEPES y BUTIFARRA COCA
Seasonal mushrooms and Catalan sausage flatbread, roasted garlic, manchego cheese. I really enjoyed tasting this one – but sadly by the time it came out, I was nearly full. So I wasn’t blown away by it, even if I was impressed by the flavors.
This is part of what they call the “Pig Out” reservation. A chef comes out to carve the pig belly right at your table. The, you can even ask him to take the head back and prepare the brain (as a pate served on crusty bread) or cut off some fried skin and cheek. It is an unforgettable experience…if you know what “suckling” means, it really changes how you view that face up there.
ROASTED FINGERLING POTATOES
By this time, I was seriously full to the brim. I wasn’t sure I could eat another bite. But I tried the potatoes and they were soft and enjoyable.
I was not impressed by the beans. I’ve had pork and beans before and these seemed like the same thing but with rosemary in it.
CROQUETES de XOCOLATA
38% Cacao Barry Milk Chocolate Croquettes, Banana Marshmallow, Rosemary infused caramel, Arbequina Olive Oil. What a delightfully intoxicating way to end our meal! Dark chocolate with banana marshmallow and caramel! I ate my piece very, very slowly. Letting all the flavors roll onto my tongue individually. It was like heaven on earth, as though every taste I adore was rolled into a circular delight.