In the restaurant business mistakes are made; it is as inevitable as death and taxes. Hair falls into food, women lose, on average, 50-100 strands per day, orders get mixed up, loud patrons disturb us convivial customers and things get dropped. Smart managers know these happenstances can actually be a chance to make a lifelong customer. Food was cold so the food is free and here's a gift certificate for next time. A beer was dumped in your lap by the usually stalwart waitress so all the drinks at the table are on the house and the first bottle of wine is on us next time. Both of those customers will be back and chances are very good they'll tell someone how well they were treated!
While it is less fun to be the cause of another patron's stress, cameras and lighting are a lifestyle blogger's constant companion and can apparently sometimes annoy neighbouring tables, it was refreshing to watch how the situation was discretely handled; meals comped, drinks comped and a GC for their next visit. A common sense courtesy in a world where common sense is far from commonplace!
Our culinary adventure started with a couple of cocktails while we perused the menu. The Santi is a gin and sherry based cocktail with a refreshing cucumber garnish. It is a nice light, easy-sipping offering and worth a second visit. The Smoke on the Water is Laphroig and Aperol mixed with lemon juice and orange bitters. A definite smoky taste accented by the sharp orange bitters. You might breath a bit of fire after this one so make sure you have a safe ride home!
The Membrillo y Queso is an absolute homerun! Aged Manchego cheese with a decadent Quince Jelly on top. I could have eaten 50; no joke. The hyperbole police aren't coming after me, I could have. Our second appetizer was the Pulpo a la Parilla. Expertly grilled octopus with a Piquillo Romesco. The Piquillo is a robust pepper found mostly in northern Spain. It's got a kick and paired very well with the fresh, soft octopus.
With preliminary snacking over we moved onto the Paella Mixta. Have you ever had Paella? Good Paella? It's generally a melange of meats over rice. Thats oversimplified, but that's the general idea. Bodega wasn't satisfied with traditional Paella and elevated it starting with an incredible Saffron rice and tossing in prawns, clams, chicken, chorizo and pork. Worth a trip all on its own I give the dish a solid 8 1/2 / 10! And I never give 10's.
Followed close behind was their Pincho Moruno and Conejo Riojana; beef skewers and slow cooked rabbit. The beef skewers were lovely cuts of AAA beef and were tender and flavourful and the rabbit was yet another homerun! Swimming in a tangy Tomato and Wine sauce and hunched beside a small mount of roasted potatoes Bugs Bunny made his last stand. Yosemite Sam must have finally got his man and I got my favourite dish of the night! I'm a spice guy, I love Sriracha, I love curry and I loved this dish. Nowhere near the heat of the aforementioned weapons of mass deliciousness, but holding its own was the tomato and wine sauce. I am a little ashamed to admit it, but we ordered all our plates to share and I was unable to let this incredible rabbit out of my sight! I would walk an hour and a half to get it. In the rain. Uphill. Both ways. A near perfect 9/10!
A friendly battle erupted when the freshly made Churros with hot dipping chocolate and vanilla marscapone came to the table. 2 guests and 3 Churros... Whomever eats their first churro first will, by social convention, have first right of refusal to the third and final remaining delicious stick of dough and cinnamon. Usually. I was outranked and outgunned. The venerable Jenn Chan decided she needed that Churro in her life and who am I to deny her pleasure! Better than you'll find a the PNE or amusement park by a country mile!
Each dish came paired with a lovely white wine, most from the divine Okanagan Valley. Each was carefully considered and proffered by our incredibly lovely waitress who was the picture of decorum even as seat after seat started being snapped up and soon everyone was elbow to elbow as Bodega reached capacity. Happy faces, laughter and a lot of oooo's and ahhhh's. This room is electric, good for a drink after work or an anniversary meal; it is simply not to be missed!