Barcelona Patio Party!

This post has been a long time coming!!! You may remember the BBQ & Vino Party I recapped earlier in the summer, which took place at one of my favorite CT restaurants, Barcelona Wine Bar. The restaurant group owns establishments in several locations, including West Hartford (also home to its latest venture, bartaco). I love the fact that at all locations, monthly events take place about the appreciation and creation of creative, local tapas.

On July 30, Barcelona West Hartford hosted a Patio Party all about summer fare. Chef Jason Welch, who prepared that fantastic pig roast dinner I wrote about last month, once again outdid himself and provided a group of CT locals with a generously priced (only $25!) tasting menu, and performed cooking demos for each course.

Quite the selection for just $25, right?! And all of my favorite things! Veggies…seafood…steak…feta…

Jason welcomes his guests.

I didn’t know much about Jason’s work experience even after the BBQ & Vino event, so I was glad he kicked off the proceedings with more about himself and his backstory as a chef. He grew up nearby in Farmington, CT and later, even spent time cooking at a legendary NYC restaurant, Gotham.

RIP that dress, it got ruined in the wash after this event :(

In the above photo I’m holding the first course, a watermelon martini (watermelon puree, Hangar lime vodka, lime juice) and watermelon & cucumber salad (watermelon, cukes, feta, mint, Pedro Ximenz Sherry Vinegar).  The martini was okay, but I am just so picky with how sweet my drinks are…AKA I like them best as old man drinks; I was disappointed that I couldn’t taste more of the cayenne pepper dash that was thrown in there. However I have plenty of girlfriends that would’ve gone mad for that martini. I more so enjoyed the watermelon cucumber salad. Watermelon and cucumber with feta has been done before, but I’ve never tasted a version with the sherry vinegar (which can be found at Whole Foods). The perfect unique touch to a summer favorite.

Jason took the time throughout the Patio Party to make sure every guest got a good view during each demo. He brought around the above bowl of the marinade for the striped bass ceviche, which contained peppers, red onion, cilanto, and citrus (those last two are always my favorite parts of ceviche). The bass itself was purchased from a local farmer’s market that very morning!

Meg…try not to freak out.

While not the best ceviche I’ve ever had, because I prefer mine a bit chunkier and with a “medley” of seafood, I still adored Jason’s version. The marinade in particular was fantastic. To go with our food, Jeff (are you really that surprised that he went to this event with me?) and I took the suggestions of our great waiter Derek and ordered two different sweeter white wines to share – a German Riesling (2010 Riesling, Max Ferd. Richter, Zeppelin) and a French Vouvray (2010 Chenin Blanc, Bourillon Dorléans). Both were wonderful, but I adored the Vouvray because of its less sweet flavor profile. So refreshing on a summer night and perfect as a seafood pairing.


White wine and ceviche (remains), ain’t nothin’ better in the summertime :)

The next course was dynamite – don’t be fooled by its veggie description. The roasted sweet corn & fennel was tossed with Manchego cheese, as well as a heavenly, out-of-this-world cilantro-lime BUTTER! Now I normally eat my corn plain, right off the cob. But I also can’t deny that when it’s coated in fancy cheese and shmancy butter, it’s pretty damn delightful.

The “red stuff” is an essential in Spanish cooking, similar to paprika, called pimenton.

Jason continued to give us a small demo for each course, while the plates for us were made back in the kitchen. He also passed around a list for us to write down our emails so we could get the recipes later.

As I mentioned in my Millwright’s review, I adore swordfish, and the next course met my excited expectations! It was topped with a fennel-orange vinaigrette (I love how much Jason incorporated fennel into the menu, since its local supply was so fresh and bountiful at that time). I have paired pineapple and mango salsas with swordfish before, but never orange! A new fruit/fish combo for me that I really enjoyed.

Jeff took this photo for me while I was in the bathroom!

To go with our next course, we ordered some fantastic red wines that all tasted, I must admit, delightfully boozy ;-) Jeff went with a recommendation I’d gotten from my a friend who bartends at Barcelona, Anna. He agreed that the Cesca Vicent was a) wonderful and b) very me. Both true! Evan and I each got a glass of Malbec.

Around this time things started getting a little more silly :-P

Oh hey!

Everyone must do this on his or her way to the bathroom.

Had to pass the time while waiting for the last course…

You think this is weird?

…well yeah, it just got weirder. FACE JUGGLER #creepy

…which consisted of skirt steak, garlic spinach, sweet potato fries, and chimichurri sauce.

Holy crap! The meat was not as underdone as I usually like (I like it moo-ing) but that’s fine because the sweet potato fries were INCREDIBLE. Often thick sweet potato fries are too limp but Jason’s recipe? So fantastic – thick fries that still had a body to them. The spinach tasted so fresh…I just know that it was local. I love when no telling is needed to have confidence in where a food came from. Plenty of garlic on that spinach for my tastebuds too. They can never get enough!

One of my favorite outdoor patios ever. I feel like I take this same photo at the end of every Barcelona event.

The crowd was even surprised with dessert! It wasn’t listed on the menu, but I was pleasantly surprised to get another chance to indulge in Barcelona’s homemade churros with chocolate sauce. To go with them, Jeff and I ordered one of our new favorite wines – sherry. Just like port, I love me some old-man style sherry.

Just looking at that photo makes me crave a dessert and dessert wine combo while I’m in MA this weekend for the Healthy Living Summit…yup that’s right more recaps are coming your way next week! I am making the most of my summer and that is OK! And amazing :)

My bartender friend Anna and I – she is a West Hartford expert!

So thank you Chef Jason, Derek, Anna, and the rest of Barcelona’s talented staff (including Exec Chef Adam Greenberg) for hosting an affordable evening to remember of local summery foods, delicious drinks, and silly photos on your beautiful patio!

Barcelona West Hartford is closed in August for renovations,  but check out bartaco in the mean time!

Which of these dishes would you want to try most?

What’s your favorite part of summer nights?

Am I the only fan of sherry out there?!

0 Responses to "Barcelona Patio Party!"

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  1. Ali

    August 16, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Not a fan of Sherry, sorry ;). But, if I lived in CT I would def visit that spot! Looks like great food with a relaxing atmosphere. Maybe if I visit….

  2. forloveofcarrots

    August 16, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    I want that ceviche, corn, swordfish and sweet potato fries and all of that wine! Everything looks and sounds soo good. Swordfish is my favorite, I haven’t had it in a long time though. We need to dine together sometime, we would have the best time!

  3. livepassionatelytonight

    August 16, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    That looks like so much fun! I wish they had things like that in my area. The watermelon martini looks to die for.

  4. runwiki

    August 16, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    When I saw the roasted sweet corn & fennel my mouth watered… looks like a really fun event!

  5. PavementRunner

    August 16, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Don’t do it. — that is what I was thinking before I started to read this. I knew the food was going to look amazing and I knew I was going to want to try all of it. The ceviche is one thing I would try if I had to have it one, but I want everything. No seriously. I want to eat the photos.

    • Caitlin

      August 17, 2012 at 10:49 AM

      Noo then my post will have holes in it!

  6. betterwithsprinklesblog

    August 16, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    I’d love to try that dessert – I love churros!

    I’d be all over that steak dish as well. Steak and sweet potato fries? Perfect combo, in my opinion.
    Although I’m the same as you with my steak – much prefer it rare!

    • Caitlin

      August 17, 2012 at 10:49 AM

      Steak and sweet frites! ;)

  7. Alex @ therunwithin

    August 16, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    Um I want to be there! Loving the first few dishes, starters like that are my favorite.

    • Caitlin

      August 17, 2012 at 10:49 AM

      Same here! Sometimes I make them a meal.

  8. Eva @ committed2nutrition

    August 17, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    I LOVE barcelona!! We should totes go to the stamford one…or even fairfield one, as that is probably half way between both of us :) You take such awesome pics and write such good reviews.. great work! I love their wine :)

  9. Sarah

    August 17, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    Looks so fun, and delicious! The detail you put into your recaps make for a super fun (and drooling-inducing) read! Love it!

    • Caitlin

      August 18, 2012 at 7:34 AM

      That means a lot to me! I get detailed so I always hope that doesnt translate to boring :D

  10. talkavino

    August 18, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    Looks like great fun! I like Barcelona restaurants very much – I have a few around Stamford, my favorite been Barcelona of Norwalk.
    To answer your questions: I love tasting menus, so I have no preference – I would love to try all the dishes. And sherry is a great wine – we definitely don’t drink enough of it. There is a store in NYC, called PJ Wine, they have a great selection of Sherry ( or Jerez as it is also called). Here are my notes from one of their Sherry seminars:

    • Caitlin

      August 18, 2012 at 2:44 PM

      Thanks! Yes I agree to many people in America fear the sherry. Not cool!

  11. Luv What You Do

    August 18, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    That sounds like an awesome meal. Count me in for some of the corn for sure and a glass (or two) of wine! I love eating outside in the summer. We just got back from vacation in Wisconsin where I think we had every meal except for one outdoors, My other favorite thing to do is to sit out back and listen to music, checking out the stars!

    • Caitlin

      August 18, 2012 at 2:45 PM

      Ahh that sounds so relaxing. One of my fave things too.

  12. Meg

    August 19, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    Too late. FREAKING OUT. That swordfish would have been ALL mine just so you know ;)

    Great recap, sweetheart :) I love your love for GOOD food :) So interesting to hear your reviews and thoughts <3

    I love you

    • Caitlin

      August 20, 2012 at 9:29 AM

      :D more to come! i appreciate you always reading babe.

  13. Pingback: Thanksgiving Eve at Barcelona « Cait Plus Ate

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