“I’ve gotta bowl!!”.
Probably the most commonly used phrase a couple of weeks ago when my friends and I got together for a Spanish dinner at Chesa, sister restaurant of Ataula and owned by one of my favourite chefs, Jose Chesa.
I’ve talked about Ataula in a blog post before (linked above) and I mentioned some of Chef Chesa’s delicious food in my recap of the Feast events last year. Needless to say, I have never ever been disappointed with any of the food that’s come out of his kitchen and this was no different. I mean, you guys, I even ate octopus. And liked it!
A group of 8 of us got together for a night of good food, drinks, laughter and conversation. We did this family style so everyone would be able to try everything if they wanted to – here’s what we ate (& drank!):
Sangria: It’s impossible for us to go to a Spanish restaurant and not order sangria. We split two liters between the 8 of us and it hit the spot!
Bravas: Potatoes, but probably the most delicious potatoes you’ll ever eat, even though they’re billed on the menu as the second choice bravas (we asked, Ataula has the #1 bravas option).
Pop: Grilled octopus with a green romesco sauce and seaweed. I’m not much of a seafood eater and I’d never had octopus before but I liked it.
Tortilla: Eggs and potato. You really can’t go wrong with this choice. It’s something so simple but it tastes better than any Spanish tortilla I’ve ever tried to make.
Xeese: I can honestly say, hand on my heart, that this is the best goat cheese I have EVER HAD. I would truly come back just to eat this.
Paella: We had 4. They are apparently designed for one person to eat them, but as we were all wanting to try everything we ordered 4 and split them between all 8 of us. Worked like a charm!
- Chesa Paella: This is where the bowl mentioned above comes into play. This paella is a rabbit and Iberico ham variation and the rabbit is served bone-in – the bowl is for your bones! I’ve made a chicken and rabbit paella before and I was super excited to try this one. Delicious.
- Mallorca Paella: A pork shoulder based paella. I thought it was great, no complaints here!
- Mar I Montaña: I guess you’d call this the equivalent of a surf and turf paella, this has braised oxtail and shrimp. The texture of shrimp weirds me out so I didn’t eat that, but the paella itself was YUM.
- Vegetal: Vegetable paella; one of our group members is a vegetarian so we ordered this paella so she’d be able to partake in some essential paella eating 😉 I didn’t personally try this one, but those that did really liked it!
Guys, if you live in Portland or ever find yourselves coming to Portland, do yourselves a favour and go to Chesa. And then go next door to 180 and round off your evening with authentic xurros (churros). It’ll be one of the best food nights of your life!