June 01, 2013

Emilio's Tapas

So after our mini art tour of Chicago, my mom and I met up with Joe in the AIC lobby.  Earlier that afternoon I picked out our restaurant- Emilio's Tapas Sol Y Nieve on Ohio Street.  I decided to walk there, so we were a tad grumbly by the time we made it between our growling bellies and tired legs.

Our family loves tapas.  We've gone to a few different Spanish tapas restaurants (not to mention all the other small plates restaurants of different styles) in Chicago, but this was a new one for us.

First, we need drinks.  I had a glass of red wine, and my mom opted for the red sangria.  We usually do our tapas in a few rounds, so we picked out our first batch while we sipped.

The first batch was Queso de Cabra al Horno (baked goat cheese in tomato sauce with garlic toast) and Calamares con Ajo y Limon (grilled calamari). Both were fantastic.  Honestly, it's pretty much impossible for me to not enjoy a dish that's primarily goat cheese.

We got too excited by round two to remember to take pictures, but we had the Datilles con Tatino (bacon wrapped dates), Albondigas de Cordero (lamb meatballs in a spicy tomato almond sauce), and Patatas con Alioli (their "famous potato salad").

The meatballs were way hot for me- I'm pretty wimpy about that- but the flavor was fantastic and Joe was happy to eat more of them for me.   I settled myself with scooping up the sauce on my bread and was pretty darn happy with that.  Bacon wrapped dates are always fantastic- they're dates were specially huge and sweet compared to those I've had other places.  If you've never tried them (or want to again), they're worth it.  As for the potato salad, I read a handful of reviews all raving over the potato salad so I figured I'd try it since it's something they think if one of their best.  Personally, I'm not a potato salad person, and I generally don't like my food cold, so it didn't hold that much appeal to me, although the flavors were good.  It was a good reminder to stick to what excites you.

Speaking of exciting, holy moly that paella.  It takes a while to cook, so we ordered it along with our second round of tapas anticipating it would come as that round finished.  It's pretty pricey (close to $20 per person) so we got one person's worth and had it split on two plates for Joe and I.

We chose the Paella a la Valenciana- saffron rice with chicken, pork, langostinos, mussels, clams, and shrimp.  They bring it out in the pan and then redistribute it beautifully onto your plates.  This was my plate- just 1/2 of the dish in case you're concerned about portion sizes.

It was amazing.  I don't have the words or writing skills to do it justice, but if you like at least some of the foods in it- try it.  Delicious.

Don't believe me?  Just look at that happy face!

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