ALONE with Especias
Welcome to 2018! You would think the parties are over, but guess again…this is Spain, where there’s always a good fiesta and a good siesta! That having been said, I knew it would be a good idea to start the new year off with a bang, and Restaurante Cervecería ALONE in Guardamar del Segura sounded like an excellent candidate for such an event. I was also certain that Juris had something cooking up in the kitchen that would pair well with our Spanish Wine, and I knew it would be tasty and enjoyable — it always is!
We arrived and after the usual greetings, Oscar showed us to our table. As I looked over the menu, Oscar was looking over our bottle of wine. Our wine for the evening was a bottle of Bodega Casa de las Especias, Petit Verdot – Monastrell, Tinto 2016, from the wonderful Wine region of Murcia Spain: D.O. Yecla. I was thinking that a nice piece of red meat might be a good pair for our wine, but Oscar (being the rebel that he is) suggested we pair our Spanish Wine with a nice Sea Bass. Naturally, I thought that was preposterous! Red Wine with Sea Bass? Nevertheless, we had to test Oscar’s wine pairing prowess, so we kindly acquiesced to his outrageous guidance.
Our menu for the evening was a tapa consisting of ensaladilla and tomatoes with onions, served with a small slice of toast. Our entrée was Lubina a la Plancha, served with french fries and grilled vegetables. Our postre for our first foray into 2018 was a slice of Pastry Chef Natasha’s tangy orange cheesecake. Of course, to top it all off, we would be having the usual café con leche.
Oscar uncorked our Casa de las Especias and let it breathe while he got our tapas. After he placed our tapas on the table, Oscar poured our wine. The Tinto had a deep cherry red color and a nice body. It’s nose was the scent of fine light oak with burnt cherry. Our Petit Verdot Monastrell left a nice burnt cherry taste on the roof and the back of my mouth, the oak wasn’t overpowering at all; the flavors blended beautifully together on my pallet and I was looking forward to see how it paired with our dinner menu.
Once the wine got a little air, it really opened up; the rich aroma of the burnt cherries came alive with a hint of berry. The flavor was very pleasing to my taste bud’s and with a little potato salad along with the tomato, onion and garlic in Spanish Olive Oil it was very appealing. But I still had to wonder if Oscar’s Sea Bass suggestion would hold water.
It wasn’t long and Oscar arrived at our table with two great looking plates of grilled Sea Bass. Our Lubina a la Plancha was a delightful sight to behold, Juris really out-did himself this time! The Sea Bass was coated with the golden glow of olive oil, and it was flakey, tender and moist. Juris’ Lubina had a rich flavor that was incredibly delicious. However, as I skeptically reached for my glass, I wondered how the Casa de las Especias Tinto would pair with Oscar’s genius. Much to my satisfaction, the Vino Tinto paired spectacularly with the fish dish! Oscar came through again!
After I got over my initial shock and amazement at Oscar’s super-power display of wine pairing, I went straight for the fries and the grilled vegetables. My salted french fries were so perfectly crispy and golden, Juris must have fried each one of them individually! His grilled vegetables were the usual fantastic variety of flavors, but this time he threw in a few grilled padrón peppers, plus a little tomato and onion with the zucchini, mushroom and red & green peppers — I still think Juris uses sea salt on those grilled vegetables because they make my mouth water! I also liked the fine herb and olive oil sauce that was used for decoration and it added a nice flavor to the Sea Bass. That’s not to say the chocolate & vinaigrette swirl on the edge of the plate wasn’t also pleasing to the eye – it was.
Casa de las Especias’ Petit Verdot Monastrell paired wonderfully with our meal. Personally, I couldn’t say if the Spanish Wine enhanced the profile of the food, or vice versa; Oscar and Juris both did a first-class job, as did the Wine Maker Pascual. I have to admit, I wonder just how much that Red Wine would open up if poured into a decanter and left to breathe for an hour or so before dinner; I’m sure it would be an extremely pleasurable and palatable experience!
Well, our plates were empty and we were feeling just fine! So the only thing left to do was wait for our postre and café con leche. Oscar gave us a cunning grin as he picked up those plates, he knew as well as we did that his dinner selection paired perfectly with our wine.
When Oscar returned he had two of the most gorgeous slices of Natasha’s orange cheesecake. He set them down in front of us and got our café con leche. While it might be chilly here right now by the Sea, I felt like I was sitting someplace exotic like Florida as I gazed at that creamy orange topped slice of unadulterated deliciousness! The crust was like a solid cookie that crumbled as soon as it touched my tongue. Natasha’s cheesecake was creamy, fluffy and light with bits of orange: it was refreshing and savory. The Orange topping gave Natasha’s postre a zesty, tangy flavor that was a terrific ending to an outstanding dining experience, and as I finished my relaxing cup of café con leche, I sat back and smiled!
Our first wine pairing event of the year at Restaurante Cervecería ALONE on Spain’s Costa Blanca turned out to be a good start to what I hope will be a great year; our Casa de las Especias was delightful when paired with our perfectly cooked meal. On your next visit to historical and sunny Spain, don’t forget to include your own dining adventure at Cervecería ALONE in Guardamar del Segura, Alicante. When you combine Oscar’s uncanny ability to pair wine and food, with Juris’ talent in the kitchen, and Pastry Chef Natasha’s out of this world desserts – you just can’t go wrong and you’ll know why the people all say, “¡¡¡Gastronomía de Guardamar!!!” Call Cervecería ALONE!
Until next time, this is The Taste Bud saying adiós and…
Contact: 966 27 85 63
Calle las Viñas, 16
03140 Guardamar del Segura
Please Drink Responsibly – Don’t Drink & Drive
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