Dear Food Diary:
El Colmado at Gotham West Market has been on my list from the minute they posted a photo of percebes. Before their Instagram post, I had only seen these intriguing sea creatures on t.v.
Last Saturday, I was all excited, only to be told they weren’t in stock. With that, I proceeded to eat and drink my disappointment away with tapas y vino. And boy, was I glad we stayed.
This took me back to my childhood in Buenos Aires. I would buy “fiambre” or cured meats by the gram. Couldn’t help but smile. While other kids bought candy with their allowance, I came home with 100g of matambre.
Watching her cut was beautiful and torturing at the same time. I had an urge to jump over that counter and take a bite, a big bite, like a hungry beast in the wild. StalkerBoy had to hold me back and calmed me down. As he looked up the cost of a whole leg on this phone (about $1000+), he promised to buy me one in the future. Until then, I’ll be getting my fix here.
What I loved about El Colmado’s serving is their side of wonderfully citrusy olives and a crusty tomato painted bread. The fragrantly bright flavors really brought it all to life. Some restaurants serve it sort of plain, which I could do at home.
Back to the Iberico… that distinct lingering salty sweet buttery finish – just plain sexy. The acorn diet and aging really creates magic in these black feet pigs.
Huevo al Diablo
StalkerBoy had one of their pretty deviled eggs with smoked bacalao and roasted peppers. I eat a lot of eggs at home, nothing as fancy as this of course, but I wasn’t eggcited enough to order a piece for $2. He enjoyed it though.
Beautifully fried baby artichokes over arugula, sage, and lemon. Finished with a garlic aioli. Creamy, fresh, tart, peppery, slightly bitter and crispy. If this is what you call a salad, then sign me up as a vegetarian please.
Unlike the hand cut cured version, this is prepared a la plancha. With just the right amount of fat and tender juicy smokey burst in my mouth. Crisp around the edges. There was an umami quality to it, probably from the smoked miso. And that roasted tomato paste cut it with a delicate sweet tartness. So good, StalkerBoy wanted another portion all to himself.
After this delicious high, our grand finale dish took a while to arrive. The staff were super apologetic. We were lost dreaming of Iberico and happy about the extra pour of wine.
A while later, our Arroz Negro finally arrived and because of the long wait, it was on the house (much appreciated).
The cuttlefish ink coated each grain of rice evenly. The rice was cooked right. Uni and avocado, a double creamy team. With chunks of cuttlefish mixed in. It seemed like it couldn’t go wrong.
Though it had that deep seafood richness, and bottom of the ocean feel (in a good way). There was a tart component I couldn’t shake off. Not sure if it was an extra squeeze of lime or something. Surprisingly, not a dish I would order again. It wasn’t bad by any means, but all together it just didn’t work for me.
Overall, I really enjoyed the tapas y vino lunch. Can’t wait to be back on a day percebes is actually available. And of course try the rest of the food at Gotham West Market.
600 11th Avenue