Sunday, October 11, 2009

Good Times at Tia Pol

Tia Pol was the last of my top 3 NYC old fave food haunts that I absolutely had to hit before my 2-week trip came to an end. And so, I made plans to go with my 3 fun-fab foodie cousins.

We had a blast. All of us have been to Barcelona, MC2 and YJP more recently than others (just this past summer, in fact). My trip was in 2006, a good 3-plus years ago, but I still maintain that Tia Pol's tapas are the best ever ... better even than a lot of what I had in Spain.

Tia Pol, originally run and owned by a husband-wife duo hailing from Catalunya, is now under new ownership. But the food remains as exquisite as ever. Based on the oohs and ahhs resounding at regular intervals around the table, I think it's safe to say my cousins agreed.

What follows comprises maybe a quarter of the parade of plates that came to our table—and which we inhaled with great gusto.

Gambas a la plancha (head on shrimp) — a lot of work, but well worth the trouble.

Uni special — creamy fresh and ultra-smooth. A little scoop of sea urchin on the crusty bread with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of salt = a sweet taste of the sea.

Croquetas de jamón y croquetas del día (ham croquettes and croquettes of the day) — the latter being croquettes filled with potato and blue cheese. We ordered these crispety-crunchety, heavenly deep-fried cakes at least 4 times.

A pile of blistered peppers generously covered in large flakes of sea salt.

Tortilla española (potato, egg and onion omelet) — Tia Pol's version has a super creamy texture. It's almost as good as a version I've enjoyed made by an accomplished Barcelonan home cook that I know.

Pulpo la ideal — Galician-style octopus terrine doused in paprika-spiked olive oil and served with small potato balls. Pretty good, but probably one of my least favorite dishes.

Chorizo con chocolate — palacios chorizo with bittersweet chocolate, then topped with sea salt and saffron. A must-have when I go. Incredibly simple and incredibly good.

Taquitos de atún relleno de boquerones — tuna stuffed with marinated white anchovies. Nice but nothing too special, truth be told. But then again, we'd been wowed by so many of the dishes preceding and following this one that it didn't really matter too much in the grand scheme of things ...

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