- TRAINING: possibly 45 minutes on the elliptical if I feel up to when I get home (unlikely if this neck pain keeps up!)
- BREAKFAST: smoothie
- SNACK: Garlic & Herb All-Bran Crackers with Sabra roasted red pepper humus (mmmmm!)
- LUNCH: some leftover roasted vegetable and chicken soup a la Mom on Friday night (thanks for the leftovers Mom!)
- DINNER: not a clue in the world. Matt is supposed to be working tonight so I was set to fend for myself but if this snow keeps up, the detail is unlikely (yes he’s a police officer for those of you that haven’t figured it out)
So much to tell you, so little space, I think this may require several posts
Here are the highlights:
- I determined the root cause of my headaches! Yes after a trip to my PCP last Thursday, it appears my poor neck and shoulders are SO very stiff and tight that they are spasming, causing, get this, my scalp to contract and giving me headaches! Ouch! My neck is in impossible pain this week for reasons unbeknownst to me (couch surfing at Mom & Dad’s last week tops the list though) and she told me I need some serious physical therapy. As much as I like to think I know my own body, sometimes I haven’t a clue. Hmm.
- What did you do this past weekend? Well me, I spent my Friday evening (until very late, by my standards anyway) and saturday morning doing THIS:
YUPPP. Sugar cookies. It wasn’t as bad as I expected actually but when I got home from my meeting on Friday, my parents already there with soup no less, I was in a blind panick. I was able to roll, cut, bake, dam AND floor them all that night (Mom helped with rolling, cutting and baking!)! Not bad! Details were finished early Saturday AM and then they were packaged with a little help from Matt (he’s such a good sport) and delivered to the happy customer.
- Next, we decided to treat ourselves with a little (lot) of Bocado! 😉
Bocado is a Tapas restaurant in Worcester and probably one of my favorites. This marked our third visit and boy do I have a review for you!
We had 2 gift cards provided by my 2 lovely sisters for Christmas. We decided to use them. Now we figured ourselves old pros at this. This time we decided to go all out however as we were having trouble deciding and chose to do the Bocado Experience for 2. This was $75 which is a big splurge but we NOW know this experience for 2 is really best split by 4!!!
This consisted of the following:
CHARCUTERIA Y QUESO
Sampling of 5 Tapas Plates
PLATOS PARA DOS PAELLA
choose classic, vegetarian, meat, or seafood
POSTRES CHURROS Y CHOCOLATE
fried dough with chocolate dipping sauce
Wow. Excellent thought. No problem. For those of you that do not know, tapas is a series of small plates. It’s a WONDERFUL way to dine and we always leave here feeling satisfied but not FULL the way you find yourself after leaving most restaurants.
We started with the MANCHEGO EL TRIGAL (manchego cheese) & TENERA CURADA (house cured beef tenderloin) and a special sangria for me (pear and lyche!) and a Guinness for Matt. The meat is served with small slices of bread, a pickled pepida and some sweet fig type jam. It was DELICIOUS. We had ordered these before and they did not disappoint.
The beef is SO smoky with a nice hint of garlic, but you can tell it’s cold smoke. The manchego, well it’s my favorite. Nutty and smooth it was hard not eat it all on Matt!
Next were our traditional tapas plates. We were able to choose five of these. Now, here was our mistake. just 5 tapas plates would have been PLENTY. W soon found out we had bitten off much more than we could chew….
Our first tapas was CALAMARES CON AJO or “fried calamari with garlic, lemon, parsley & orange horseradish cream”. It was light and crispy but with a tad too much lemon for my taste. but overall very enjoyable.
Next was the BOLA DE ARROZ FRITO CON MOZZARELLA or “mozzarella stuffed crispy rice balls with basil aioli”. These? They NEVER disappoint. I made it a point to make eating this an experience; piercing it gently with my fork, hearing that amazing crispy crunch until your fork reaches the soft, creamy inside. You break it open and it’s like heaven. This is essentially fried risotto balls. They are crispy and light and the inside is tender and soft. WONDERFUL stuff.
Next, was probably one of our favorites, CONEJO DE BLANCO or “slow braised rabbit in white wine, garlic & fresh thyme reduction with rustic toast”. Now if you have never tried rabbit because all you can think is “oh! no little bunny fu-fu!!” then you need to change your tune. The rabbit used for culinary reasons is not the little fluffy “bunnies” your thinking of. They are lean mean, fast & breed like, well, rabbits! They are incredibly lean, especially wild rabbit and they taste surprisingly just like chicken! Only a tad gamier. It’s like, the way chicken would or should taste if it was “wild” and had no fat. This dish, was superb. fork tender, delicate, with a burst of wonderful mellow flavor from the white wine and herbs. The simply toast underneath soaked up all of the lovely sauce and made it heaven.
About now I was starting to think I was happily satisfied. I did not need anything else..and about now is when they sent out an onslot! I literally felt myself begin to panick thinking “no, there’s no way I can eat the rest of this food! And Paella too?!” We were looking at the gigantic pan of paella at the table behind us, speculating on whether or not ours would be that size (surly not!) when they dropped a special tapas off the menu of Lamb Sausage in a rich roasted tomato vegetable puree over biscuits with feta and the EMPANADAS CON CANGREJO or “baked crab & vegetable filled savory pastries”. This was a one-two whammy I wasn’t ready for. Both heavy and hearty and I was on match for their deliciousness!
The lamb was just one small disc of sausage that was MUCH more like an italian sausage/meatball than I was prepared for. It had heavy notes of oregano and basil. The sauce was wonderfully rich from roasted vegetables and the biscuits were a nice compliments. However, I was already having trouble breathing because my tummy was getting full.
The crab empanadas were like a rich buttery heaven (if you happen to still be hungry which I was very much the opposite of). The thick, buttery, tender flaky crust gave way to velvety crab blended wonderfully with mild vegetables such as peas and green onion. I detected a hint of old bay in the aioli served on top. I think I would have enjoyed this dish a lot more if I hadn’t felt as though I were running a marathon…a food marathon.
As I finished off the last bites of this (painfully) I was glad to have a breather. It was nice to sit and enjoy the atmosphere. On previous trips the lighting has been so dim, we have had to hold a candle to menu just to see it! This time we were there early (and without a reservation) at 5pm before the bar crowd and it was slightly lighter and with much fewer patrons. The restaurant is actually rather large, with 3 rooms. We ended up one floor up (just a few steps) but it’s very interestingly decorated with paintings of bull fighters and orange and red scarves as winder dressings. Our waiter was perfect (unlike the waiter behind us). He was attentive without being bothersome and didn’t talk down to us in any way. He didn’t offer suggestions without being asked (Which prefer, waiters sometimes have a tendency to treat everyone, especially a couple our age, as though they can’t know a thing about food) and he was fast and polite. The waiter behind us was the complete opposite, we was obnoxiously, over zealous and full of himself, too eager to show what HE knew and the dinners didn’t. We could tell he was driving the 2 tables behind us nuts so it was kind of funny (and sad) to watch.
Finally our Paella came out. We went with the PAELLA CLÁSICA or “saffron rice, chicken, calamari, shrimp, chorizo, mussels, little necks”. Now this alone is normally $28. So to say this meal wasn’t a bargain would be a lie even though our bill was well over $50 after using $70 in gift cards (I had my $9 sangria which was wonderful and literally lasted me the whole 2 hour meal and Matt his classic 2 Guinnesses) BUT I say it again, this really is best for FOUR people, not 2. Then it would be an excellent deal! Lesson learned.
The Paella was very good and plentiful. Nothing about it stood out to me, I tried a mussel which I work very hard to like but can never seem to manage it. The chicken was incredibly tender, as was the seafood and chorizo.Overall, I ate about 1/3 a cup and raised the white flag. The rest was packed into a heafty container for dinner (and lunch for Matt) the next day.
Finally, as full as I was I summond all of my reserves and indulged in dessert. Our options were an orange pomegranate flan (Which I don’t love) and POSTRES CHURROS Y CHOCOLATE, “fried dough with chocolate dipping sauce”. It was heavenly and not too much. 4 sticks of the most amazing eggy on the inside, light and crispy on the outside cinnamon & sugar “doughnuts” with a rich dark chocolate dipping sauce. The inside was much more dense (and yet airy?) than I had anticipated, much like a french cruller only better. The outside, well what can I say, these people understand how to deep fry. nothing I have ever eaten their fried has been the slightest bit greasy. It’s light and crisp the way it should be. The sauce was an excellent compliment. I’m partial to milk chocolate myself but they paired nicely. Overall, I pretty much rolled out of the restaurant after a glorious 2 hour meal feeling beyond happy and promptly fell asleep in my chair upon arrival home. You can see why when me sister asked what I wanted for Christmas, a gift card to Bocado topped my list.
When you cook for yourself, you often find most places a let down. It’s really not worth the money to eat out anyone, UNLESS of course, it’s at Bocado.
If you live in the area and have never tried it, give it a whirl. You can easily make it an affordable night out, but give yourself time! Don’t assume you need a million dishes as I think I’ve proved 4 or 5 is enough for 2 people. Order one dish only after having finished the first and be adventurous, you may find an unexpected love. 🙂