Restaurant Week: Amada

There’s something magical about a week (or two) where you can go to a city’s best restaurants, eat a multitude of fantastic courses, and pay only $35 a person.  I call it a dream come true, or Restaurant Week.
Unless there is some kind of really important event holding me back, I always make it out to try at least one new restaurant for restaurant week.  It is just too good of an opportunity to pass up!  This year I was lucky enough to snag a reservation a month in advance for Amada, which I have been dying to try!!
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Not only was I excited to experience this foodie paradise and Jose Garcias’ brain child, but also to share the experience with Jay, my good friend Beth, now a food blogger (her blog is Its Good to be the Cook) and always a foodie, and her boyfriend Dahv.  There is just something about going out to eat with a true food lover and actually dining with people that “get it”.  Especially when you are frantically taking pictures of food before everyone dives in.080
Before we begin, let me give you a quick summary of Amada.  During any day of the week, diners can enjoy Spanish style tapas, inspired by the Mediterranean.  Having tasted tapas style restaurants in Spain, it is a very unique and different dining experience.  If you decide to visit, you can also try the suckling pig, which needs to be pre-ordered 72 hours in advance.  Garcias really makes every dish something you’ll never forget, using flavors that will be sure to make you return time and time again.

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During restaurant week each diner has the opportunity to order 2 first course tapas, 2 second course tapas, and a dessert.  So between the 4 of us there was a whole lotta tasting going on. 
So sit back, grab your fork and knife, and get ready to salivate. 
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Sangria:
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When dining at a tapas restaurant and the house drink is sangria (flavors are seasonal), you just have to taste it! 
Its Good to be the Cook: as a new wine drinker, I went with the Blanco Sangria. It was loaded with chunks of apples, pears, and oranges. It was sweet and so easy to drink. What was really interesting was there was a small sprig of rosemary floating on top.
All I Eat Food: I tried the Tinto, Spiced Red Wine with Orange, Apple & Cinnamon.  It was perfectly sweet and refreshing yet warmed me up with each sip!

First Course

Its Good to be the Cook: My favorite first course was the Garlic Shrimp. The shrimp dish is served in a little ceramic pot which is cooking the shrimp as the server brings it out to the table. Needless to say, the shrimp were PERFECTLY cooked- something I rarely do well. The broth was super garlicky and had a little kick with some red pepper flakes in there too.
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All I Eat Food:  I was actually surprised by the croquetas de jamon and how amazingly flavorful they were!  They were crispy on the outside and soft and savory in the middle.  I’m pretty sure there was mustard mixed in with the ham, which made it a little spicy!  Then it was served on top of a red pepper spread, which I was wishing there was more of!

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Its Good to be the Cook: the Serrano  Ham came with a side of Bread, Cornichons (those itty-bitty baby pickles), French Dijon, and Caperberries. Caperberries were basically giant capers so they paired really well with the sweetness of the Prosciutto-like Serrano Ham.

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All I Eat Food: Unlike any cheese you’ve tried at a restaurant, garrotxa cheese came out on a board with garlic dulce de leche, bread and sliced apple.  Yes, garlic dulce de leche!  This dish was simple yet the flavors all came together for a serious party in your mouth.

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Its Good to be the Cook: The Serrano Ham dish just wasn’t enough ham for us, so we had to choose the Melón Con Jamón plate. Not only does this dish RHYME, but it tasted fantastic! It is unusual for fruit to be the star of a dish, but this melon gave this jamón a run for its money! I was not suspecting such huge, fresh, juicy chunks of melon, let alone the sweet sauce that was drizzled on top. Sweet and salty is my favorite combination and the balance of the two were just perfect in this plate.

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All I Eat Food: Escalivada was fantastic.  It came with small toasted pieces of bread spread with creamy, tangy goat cheese and roasted veggies. I’m a sucker for roasted veggies and the eggplant was phenomenal!!

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Its Good to be the Cook: With all the protein we had ordered, Dave suggested we get something green… and green it was! The Ensalada Verde dish was a chopped green salad with asparagus and avocado. It was light and delicate but loaded with flavor.

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All I Eat Food: The tortilla espanola was probably the most unique dish we tried.  It was a small cake that had the consistency of a tamale and polenta.  It was very dense but once you took a bite it was creamy and buttery.

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Can you believe that was only the first course!?!  Yes I know, crazy.  Go ahead, go find yourself a snack because you’re starving and get ready for course( s) number 2!

Second  Course:

It may be hard to believe that we were still up for tempting our palates after all those delicious tapas, but in true foodie fashion we were ready for more!!
Its Good to be the Cook: The Madre e Hijo makes the ranks of one of my favorite chicken dishes EVER!!  The chicken was perfectly juicy, tender, and loaded with flavor.  What makes this dish even more special is that the chicken breast is locally farmed, which is true of many ingredients at Amada.  And what a great idea, putting a fried egg on top!  MMM!

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All I Eat Food: The chicken brochette was a decision that we kind of guessed about but it was a great addition to our meal.  I enjoyed the simplicity of the chicken and how perfectly it was grilled.  And of course I enjoyed the lemony sauce it came with.

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Its Good to be the Cook:  We just couldn’t resist trying both flatbreads… the Gambas Con Garbanzos Coca was so light and crispy!  The presentation of this flatbread with shrimp, chorizo, & garbanzo bean puree was simple yet colorful, with the shrimp cooked in a bright green pesto.  The unexpected cheese that wasn’t described on the menu looked so good that I had to break my month of “No-Cheese” diet to have a small piece.  It was worth it!

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All I Eat Food: The other flatbread we tried was Costillas de Ternera Coca, beef shortrib flatbread with horseradish, parmesan and bacon.  I’m a huge fan of flatbread because who doesn’t like crisp little bites topped with savory toppings!?  This reminded me almost of a cheesesteak with the meat and cheese and then the hit of horseradish at the end really left your taste buds dancing.

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Its Good to be the Cook:  The group thought this dish sounded so good that we decided to order TWO of the Lubina Al Pescador: a roasted Sea Bass with potatoes, arbequina olives, served with preserved lemon and salsa verde.  This plate was a great example of why Sea Bass is always my favorite fish!  I loved the light, fresh flavors that the lemon and salsa brought to the dish. 

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All I Eat Food: We had to sneak some more veggies in somewhere so we tried the setas a la plancha, or seasonal wild mushrooms.  I’ve been ordering mushrooms everywhere I go lately and these did not disappoint.  I loved the different textures and earthy flavor mixed with the zesty-ness of the sauce.

 

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After we enjoyed the plethora of tapas, we all saved room for dessert.
The choices were:
PASTEL DE CHOCOLATE
Flourless Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Ice Cream
& Chocolate-Hazelnut Caramel
or
CREMA CATALANA
Vanilla Custard, Caramel Veil, Ginger & Pine Nut

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Naturally I chose the Pastel de Chocolate.  I was so thankful that the portion size was small, although I probably could have ate everyone’s dessert at the table…it was that good.  The chocolate cake was rich, topped with the velvety ice cream.  My favorite part was the hot fudge-like sauce on the plate and the chopped hazelnuts.  I’m a true believer that chocolate and hazelnut should be the new chocolate and peanut butter.
While pictures may be worth a thousand words, I hope that our tantalizing meal descriptions made you feel as though you were right there dining with us during restaurant week.  And if you’re feeling like you missed out, then join us next time.  The more the merrier.  Because the more people dining with us… the more dishes we will get to try Winking smile 
Have a great weekend!!