Food Porn!

Last night Kristopher and I wandered down to Ocho for some snacks and drinks.  I was in desperate need of booze after my afternoon adventure, the highlight of which was pleading with a tow-truck driver not to haul my rental car away (he agreed, for a $30 “tip”…then had the audacity to ask me on a date.  Jackass.).

We sat at the bar, chatted with a couple sitting next to us (they gave us some very good suggestions, yay!), sipped our respective poisons, then proceeded to gorge ourselves.  

Here’s what we had:  

La Carolina – dates filled with blue cheese and wrapped in pancetta.  Luscious, silky, more sweet than salty.  My only complaint would be that the sweetness of the dates overpowered the blue cheese.  

Chorizo con Limon – sliced chorizo with olives and a fried egg in a pool of garlic and lemon.  AMAZING.  The acidity of the lemon juice perfectly balanced the delicious chorizo fat.  

Judias Verdes – green beans with frizzled shallots and portbello duxelles.  Another keeper.  The green beans were immaculately prepared – still emerald green and crisp without a hint of rawness. The shallots added a tinge of bitterness which contrasted brilliantly with the rich, slightly sweet mushrooms. 

Banderilla de Boqueron – white anchovy, roasted pepper, and artichoke heart on a tiny skewer.  Relatively unremarkable.  Not bad, not great.  

Mejillones – steamed mussels with ham and fennel in an ouzo broth.  WOAMG.  Even with the double-whammy of licorice flavored ingredients (sorry, but I think ouzo is vile.  Vile, I say!) there was only a delicate hint of anise.  Plump glistening mussels coated in slivers of ham…salty, buttery, juicy goodness.  I hope they keep this on the specials menu for a while.

Piquillo Relleno de Atun – roasted pepper stuffed with basque tuna and dressed with fried capers, allioli and minced egg.  Not as interesting as it sounds like it should be.  It was somehow lacking depth – perhaps more allioli would imbue it with some pow.  And moisture.  I thought the tuna was a bit dry.

Setas de Jerez – sherried mushrooms and arugula chiffonade on toast.  Another serious keeper.  And spicy!  Totally unexpected level of heat with this dish.  The sherried mushrooms were savory and decadent.  Combined with the peppery arugula and crispy buttered toast, this was a hit on so many levels – flavor-wise as well as visually and texturally.  

Ocho:  highly recommended.  It’s usually packed, I’d suggest going early (i.e. as soon as they open) or relatively late.  Also, props to the staff.  Attentive and helpful – what more can a girl ask for?  All in all, my new Ballard fave.

~ by angelarenae on August 12, 2008.

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