Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Good Time at B44

Went with some work peeps for a Spanish-themed celebration at B44. I'd been to the tapas resto more than half a dozen years ago, but only for drinks so I had no idea that the place puts out some really fine food. One of my fave mags, The Economist, says, "B44 offers a refreshing break from all the nouvelle nosh." And how. IM, our resident Barcelonan, gave it her seal of approval in terms of authenticity and flavor. Here she is demonstrating how to drink vi ranci out of a porro. She was so fast swooping her arm out and back as she poured the sweet wine in a steady stream into her mouth, that I could barely get a shot in. We all gave it a go, but most of us managed to dribble and spew the stuff all over our sheepish faces.

This wine—La Planella 2005—was divine.

A little bit of this, a litte of that: escalivada—warm roasted onions, sweet peppers and aubergine with manchego and sherry vinaigrette.

Dubbed the "five-hour braised in wine" oxtail, this dish was a bit disappointing in that the meat wasn't fall-off-the-bone tender—something I was certain a five-hour braise would ensure. "Hmmm, this is more like a two-hour braised oxtail," I opined. Oh well, it did have some good flavor, and the mashies were deelish.

A little piece of Exxon? No, this ain't no oil sludge. It's a really tasty dish of tender baby squid stuffed with a crumbly fennel sausage, cooked in its own ink.

We had around a dozen toothsome dishes, from the nibble-worthy cheese and charcuterie plates to the vivacious "paella B44" bursting with well-seasoned and spiced chorizo, chicken, mussels, shrimp, squid, clams, peas and peppers. Good stuff, especially when it's on the company bill.

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