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A Bocado Experience

Pollo asado con naranja y aceitunas

Pollo asado con naranja y aceitunas

This month we went to one of my favorite places in Worcester – Bocado. Spanish tapas and drinks need I say more?

I started the evening with my favorite.. Sangria. While they have numerous flavors to choose from I usually go with the traditional red sangria which is a little fruity but not too sweet on the palate. Very refreshing! Tonite we were not ordering from the menu but being presented with a sampling of their menu that we would share family style at each table.

BoardOur first offering was a board of dry cured spanish serrano ham (jamon), 6 month old manchego cheese served along with quince paste and sweet red peppers. I just had to sample it all together on warm baquette bread slices. The nutty but firm cheese combined with the slightly salty silky jamon, sweet quince paste and sweet red peppers was a very pleasant experience for my taste buds. I could have eaten this all night but knew we had alot more food to go.

Next we started our Tapas round. First up was tortilla espanola which is a traditional dish of thinly sliced layered potatoes cooked with eggs and onions that came with red pepper creme fraiche and side of olive tapenade. I remember ordering this in Spain a few years back and thinking I know what a tortilla is (spanish tortillas are not like the mexican tortillas we are used to in quesadillas).. but it is not what you expect as it looks more like a layered apple pie. But this time I knew what to expect It is served cold so it throws some people off… but very traditional. The tapenade was a great add to give it some additional flavor and I was so glad it was not too salty as sometimes tapaneda can be.

Our second tapas was Pollo asado con naranja y aceitunas which was slow roasted chicken thighs cooked with orange, fennel, rosemary and olives. Normally I don’t eat dark meat but was willing to try it and I was not disappointed and actually pleasantly surprised. The chicken just fell off the bone with flavors of orange, fennel, rosemary and olives.. all being blended well together. Loved the warmness of the olives which mellowed the orange flavor as I am not one for overwhelming citrus flavors.

Our last tapas before our main dish was Calamares con ajo (fried calamari). Love these every time I go as they just melt in your mouth. Lightly fried with a slight lemony garlic flavor and only a slight taste of salt. You don’t really feel that you are eating fried food at this point especially when you take a bite with the orange horseradish cream sauce that was drizzled over them. My only wish would be to have a dipping bowl of the sauce versus just being drizzled on the calamari.

Just when we thought we could not eat anymore, they brought us the main dishes – 2 different types of Paella. Normally I just get the vegetarian paella so I was excited to try a different version. First I tried the Paella Clasica which had so much meat/seafood in it from chicken to calamari, shrimp, chorizo, mussels and little necks all nestled in a pan of slightly crispy saffron rice that was cooked in a seafood broth to wrap in all the flavors. I wish the paella was a little more crispy – that is usually what you expect to get – crispy rice at the bottom of the dish. Not that I could eat anymore but I did try the Paella de Carne which is very similar but varied in its ingredients – this one included chicken, chorizo, veal, duck confit, peppers and onions with a topping of spiced onion rings. Again it was all mixed with saffron rice but this time cooked in a beef broth. I know most would not complain about having too much meat/seafood in the dish but I would have liked to had more of a balance between the meats and the rice.

Finally out came dessert – Postres churros y chocolate. It may just be fried dough but these were sticks of light and fluffy fried dough that were lightly sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. It came with a chocolate dipping sauce. I am not a chocolate fan so I passed on that but the churros reminded me of when I got them at the local street vendor on a trip to Seville, Spain.

Overall,great meal and I should say experience since it was more than just a meal. Our meal was actually very similar to their Bocado Experience for 2/4 people so be sure to check it out when you go. I know I will be back again but this time to try some new tapas as they always have some interesting new tapas and wines to try. -MM

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Paella Classica

Paella Classica

Paella ClassicaThe January Foodie’s event broke from the normal structure as we were welcomed at Bocado Tapas and Wine Bar for a special meal where the Bocado team replicated a communal dining experience for us. The menu was extravagant and included four courses and a total of seven unique dishes, as well as having the Executive Chef educate us on what we were about to enjoy!

The atmosphere in the large dining area at Bocado is beautiful, with an attention to detail not found in most restaurants. The room is dimly lit with rich deep, warm colored paintings set against the red brick interior. The high wooden tables allowed for us to be seated in small groups and encouraged everyone to share the food which was served in a traditional, family-style manner.

The evening started with a choice of Bocado’s outstanding white or red Sangria which was enjoyed as our group mingled. When we were seated at our table, we began the night with a Cheese and Charcuterie platter with that consisted of a sheep’s milk Manchego cheese (Spain’s most famous cheese) and a dry cured Serrano ham, both of which had a deep, satisfying flavor.

The Tapas course began with a Tortilla Espanola which was described as a potato, egg and onion omelet topped with a red pepper creme fraiche. The dish was unusual and had our table perplexed as it consisted of more potato than egg, but was delicious nonetheless. The red pepper fraiche had enough heat to stand up to the potato and egg combination.

Next came the Pollo Asado Con Naranja Y Aceitunas, an outstanding combination of chicken thighs with orange sauce and olives. The dark meat chicken and salty olives proved to be a flavor combination worthy of a second helping!

The final Tapas we enjoyed was Calamares Con Ajo, a dish that seasoned Bocado visitors know is a signature dish of the restaurant and one that must be ordered. This extremely light and flavorful offering of Calamari was the perfect ending to the Tapas portion of our meal.

By this point of our meal, most of my fellow diners had eaten enough and were completely satisfied. I on the other hand was looking forward to our main course, the Paella Classica and Paella De Carne. Paella is a staple in the Spanish diet and is made from rice seasoned with saffron and then mixed with just about any other meat, seafood or vegetable. The Classica Paella was made from calamari, shrimp, chorizo, mussels and little necks and the Carne Paella had chicken, veal and duck. The combination of flavors in both dishes were truly outstanding, very different and ultimately very satisfying. Paella is truly the comfort food of Spain!

And finally dessert…as if any of us needed it! Postres Churros y Chocolate are fried dough pastries, topped with sugar and served with hot melted chocolate dipping sauce that you absolutely must order. They were the perfect ending to a very memorable meal.

From sharing food with friends, great flavors, outstanding service and a rich, but comfortable atmosphere, the dining experience at is one that was thoroughly enjoyable.  -JG