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Go BIG Or Go Home!

BIG flavors composed by BIG food-enthusiasts who are BIG personalities with BIG hearts and BIG ideas, which has led to BIG plans and BIG successes!

That pretty much sums up my thoughts on Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant group, which initially started in South Norwalk and have now expanded across the country at a speed that is simply mind-blowing.  From Connecticut to Massachusetts to Georgia to Washington D.C.!!!  One can only wonder what’s next for this winning team.

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Ever since I moved to Connecticut almost a decade ago, my eyes have been locked on Barcelona restaurants and its people.  In these years I have dined at their various restaurant locations around Connecticut. It’s the one place where I can always be certain of the quality of food and service…. so anytime I need to impress some visiting family or friends, dinner at Barcelona it is!   I have attended and LOVED many classes taught by their incredible team of chefs.  I admire them all… and have followed their shining careers and cheered them on when they appear on TV or at local foodie-events!  Of course I own their cookbook….. do you even need to ask?!!!

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So when my gal-pal Adeline invited me to attend a Vino and Asado dinner at Barcelona Fairfield…. I did not even think twice!  After-all, what was there to think about?  It was going to be an Argentinian-style BBQ with promises of great selections of grilled meats, paired with South American wines curated by the one and only Gretchen Thomas and supplied by Harry’s Wine & Liquor in Fairfield.  The outdoor patio at Barcelona Fairfield was to set the perfect stage for this end-of-summer celebration.  It was sold-out event… I guess there are lots of really smart people around here, besides me.  🙂

In true Barcelona-Restaurant-Group-style, there was tons and tons of food!  Meat-galore! Yeah!  They went BIG!  At one point the huge outdoor grill was piled with various varieties of meat.…  so much so that I was sure – some might fall off the grill simply because there as no more room.  Whole chicken, leg of lamb, variety of sausages, pork loin …. you name it!  I have no idea how the team of chefs managed to get all those meats cooked and cooked to absolute juicy perfection!  Wow!!!

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I loved the crisp and tangy flavors of the chimichurri with the lamb.  And the lamb… oh my gosh….it was perfection!  Then there was this super juicy and tender chicken topped with an  incredibly creamy sauce. It’s creamy texture made me swear that it had ripe avocados in it. I HAD to ask chef Darren Carbone about it and he said, “No avocados!  The sauce was made with garlic, parsley, chives and was emulsified by olive oil”.  Delish!

There was an assortment of sausages grilled for our meal.  Of course there was Morcilla i.e.: blood sausage!   Barcelona restaurants are the only place, around here, where I have seen this item on the menu.   It tasted exactly like how it tasted when I was in Barcelona, Spain earlier this year.  The lamb sausage was packed with BIG flavors!!!  (ha! ha! did you see how I did that?)

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The wines and the grilled meat were the star of the show.  They were beautifully complemented by some starter courses which tasted like summertime on a plate.  The Watermelon Salad with feta, almonds and hibiscus vinaigrette was a perfectly balanced dish.  I could eat this salad everyday – if folks at Barcelona would let me!   The Fresh Corn Humita was very close to a tamale in flavors and texture.  My favorite thing on this plate were the heirloom tomatoes… so incredibly succulent and sweet.   With the main course of grilled meats – we enjoyed a Swiss Chard Gratin and some Cous Cous with late summer vegetables.  These were the perfect sides adding the right amount of creaminess and tanginess to each bite of grilled meat.  And they allowed the grilled meats to take the limelight as they deserved.

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Arroz con Leche was the sweet finish to a fabulous meal.  It wasn’t my most favorite of the night – but still pretty good.  I really enjoyed the brittle and berries in it.

Everyone I spoke with that night said that I MUST attend the Pig roast next summer.

I simply said OK.  🙂

Barcelona Wine Bar | http://www.barcelonawinebar.com/index.htm

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