Barcelona Wine Bar: Pulpo Gallega

BWB Pulpo Gallego

A meal this weekend may have tipped the balance to the amorous side of my love/hate relationship with Barcelona Wine Bar. Trying to score a seat at this place had all but transported me back to those tough high school days of desperately trying to snag an invite to the after prom party. Hence, the hate.

Barcelona Wine Bar

It took FOUR tries (spread out over many months) to accomplish the impossible:  An actual table. With seats. With my name on it. It wasn’t on the patio or anything though; we’re not THAT cool.

What made me forgive being turned down so many times was the food. The tapas weren’t half bad, and were a fraction of the cost of Estadio’s renditions. The Best Thing on the Menu tapas title goes to: Pulpo Gallego with octopus, chorizo, fingerling potatoes and pimenton. There’s nothing worse than a rubbery cephalopod in your mouth. BWB’s 8-legger is cooked to perfection.

Traditionally this simple Galician dish is comprised of boiled octopus, potatoes, olive oil and paprika. Fortunately, BWB ups the ante with ground chorizo, adding heat and nuttiness. Slippery onions lend sweetness, too. Click here for more photos from the meal.

BWB Grilled Spring Onions

For those keeping score, here’s how BWB stacks up compared to its competition on certain dishes, in our humble tapas opinion (an opinion garnered from a 7-month study abroad experience in Spain that involved an ogre of a host mother who only cooked hot dogs).

  • Grilled Spring Onions: Estadio > BWB
  • Albóndigas: Boqueria > BWB
  • Croquetas: BWB > Estadio
  • Boquerones: Estadio > BWB
  • Charcuterie: BWB > Estadio & Boqueria

Disagree? Let us hear it in the comments section.

Oyamel: Breakfast for Dinner

Oyamel Fried Egg

Oyamel could be the underdog when it comes to ranking Jose Andres’ restaurants in DC.  Jaleo behaves as the flagship of the operation, minibar is elusive and mysterious and Zaytinya continues to produce memorable meals time after time.  It turns out that unassuming Oyamel is underrated. Sure, the butterfly decor is a little like a science museum, and the clientele seems to be mostly tourists. But, as is always the case with Best Thing on the Menu, it’s the food that counts.

A while back we double ordered the Best Thing on the Menu at Kapnos. Well, we had another repeat BTM order at Oyamel, and this time it was breakfast for dinner. The Best Thing on the Menu is most certainly Huevos Enfrijolados. This dish is composed of a fried organic egg with black bean sauce, house made chorizo, salsa verde and a corn tortilla. This brunch munch is perfectly balanced and delicately composed. We didn’t even know you could fry an egg like that.

Oyamel also knocks it out of the park when it comes to tacos. At most DC taco haunts you pick your protein: beef, pork, chicken or fish. But at Oyamel, there are four different types of pork tacos alone, plus adventurous folks can try Chapulines (grasshoppers!) an Oaxacan classic. Learn more about them here.

Don’t rule out Oyamel next time you’re in Penn Quarter. It’s a little easier to get a table, the food comes out fast and fresh and you can order two of anything.

Huevos Enfrijolados not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.