SPANISH INSPIRED WEEKEND BRUNCH AT BAR CASA VALE

Bar Casa Vale

215 SE 9th Ave.

Portland, OR 97214

www.barcasavale.com

Weekend Brunch: Satruday + Sunday 10a -3p

Closed all day Monday

Week day Dinner: 5p - midnight. Friday: 4p - midnight.

Saturday: 10a - midnight. Sunday: 10a -10p

SPANISH-INSPIRED BRUNCH AT BAR CASA VALE

Portland's favorite place for colossal sized Gin + Tonic's, an assortment of sherry and fortified wines, tapas, and wood-fired raciones is now offering Spanish-inspired brunch starting Saturday, February 10th.

Located near the busy bar and restaurant heavy area of SE portland is Bar Casa Vale, easy to miss and hard to find but the extra effort to locate is rewarded with delicious toothsome dishes and boozy cocktails. The space is beautiful, sun-filled, cozy, and a real breath of fresh air while most places are shrouded in dim lighting. Interested in just a drink, hop on a bar stool and sit amongst like-minded company. Want to dine al fresco but covered from the elements, perfect, head to their patio seating near their wood burning fire pit. 

This past weekend I attended a media brunch preview of Bar Casa Vale's new morning offerings, and I wish I could have stayed put all day. The menu is sheer perfection; from the boozy brunch cocktails to the artisanal toast offerings,  no plate was left uncleaned. If you're in the mood for a traditional breakfast you're check out the wrong spot. At BCV you will certainly not find a short stack of pancakes with bacon or a carafe of o.j. to build your own mimosa's. Instead, you will find hearty cuts of bread hiding underneath toppings like Chicken Liver and Pistachio with chocolate, warm cazuela's filled with drippy hearty bites, and please order that warm Cinnamon roll doused with a sweet tangy tangerine curd, it's everything familiar about brunch but better. 

Scroll below to see a few of the dishes I sampled:

Brunch Cocktails: Sparkling Sangria with cava, white port, and citrus in the background, and Agua de Valencia with gin, vodka, citrus, and cava. Both drinks carried citrus notes, ice, and, of course, booze. A perfect balance for all of the savory dishes we were about to try.

Warm Cinnamon Roll: Fluffy, yeasty, topped with tangerine curd and chocolate shavings.

Chicken Liver Toast with thinly sliced apple, endive, parsley, and browned butter. This is one huge hunk of toast and possibly one of my favorite dishes I had tried from their brunch menu. For pete's sake the plate comes with a steak knife, this toast means business!

Chocolate Toast: Crunchy, yet fluffy bread topped with pistachio butter, a generous dose of chocolate and olive oil. This toast isn't your basic coffee shop toast, t

Fried Chicken with churros, honey, and manchego, and chocolate toast with a nice sprinkling of flakey sea salt. 

If seeking a hearty toothsome dish do not skip any of the Cauela's, specifically the Rotisserie Lamb Cazuela baked with artichoke, chickpea, topped with salsa verde, and poached eggs. Have a hangover and need something hearty to fill your stomach, then order a Cazuela. Served piping hot and fresh from the hearth, these round dishes come with perfectly poached eggs, ready to rip and spill open  at the slightest tug. The only thing missing was crusty bread to mop it all up. 

Aside from Bar Casa Vale's Brunch menu is their hearth-centric dinner plates featuring Charred Octopus, Grilled Spot Prawns, and my personal favorite, the Lamb Cazuela. If only in the mood for cocktails and a few small bites, this is your spot. The bar program features many cocktails with a new twist like the PX Old Fashion with Mt. Gay Rum, Pedro Ximenez, and Angostura. And, there are plenty of small plates known as Tapas and Pintxos to nibble one while enjoying your libations. 

What dish are you excited to try?


disclosure: I was invited to attend a media preview of Bar Casa Vale's newly launched brunch offerings. While there I received complimentary cocktails and plates of my choosing. My invite was not in exchange for a positive review, all opinions shared are my own.

PINTXO HOUR AT URDANETA

URDANETA

3033 NE Alberta ST.

Portland, OR 97211

503-288-1990

Pintxo Tour: Tues - Fri, 5-6p

urdanetapdx.com

Lots of things excite me, a dozen donuts, fresh bed sheets, surfing, new shoes, and sunny days. The list is extensive, but few excite me quite like happy hour plans and basically all things involving Spain -you know, the place where I eloped and honeymooned summer of 2014. With that little story spewed at you, let's just say happy hour and Spain-anything send me over the happiness edge! Imagine my face when I heard that there was a new 'Pintxo Hour' happening at Urdaneta, a Spanish restaurant located on the busy, yet hip, Alberta street -be still my heart.

Last month I was invited on a media preview to scope out the newest addition to Urdaneta's current offerings, a pintxo-inspired happy hour menu featuring traditional tapas-style eats, influenced from the northern Basque region of Spain.

One question, I and many others had, "if these are tapas, why are they called pintxo's?"

Well my friend's, pintxo's and tapas are very much alike, they are small bites, or, rather drinking snacks that are commonplace all over Spain. The main and rather perplexing difference with pintxo's or pinchos (depending on regions in spain the spellings are different), is that they are found in the northern part of Spain, the Basque region, and often have a toothpick or skewer through them to keep the toppings from falling off of the bread foundation. 

Pintxo's come from the spanish verb, 'pinchar', meaning 'to pierce.' Tapa's come from the spanish verb, 'tapear,' meaning 'to cover.' Does that make more sense? Tapas are typically found in the southern parts of Spain while pintxo's or pinchos are from the Basque regions.

From my personal, albeit short experience in northern Spain, pintxo's are often very hearty, complex in flavor and very satisfying. At some bars the the skewers are not to be tossed until the end of your meal as they are tallied up and used to determine your bill, much like sushi plates at a conveyer belt sushi joint.

Urdaneta is a Spanish restaurant in NE Portland founded by Owner and Chef, Javier Canteras.  Urdaneta captures the true essence of Spain with a bustingly open-style kitchen where patrons can cozy up to the counter, right next to a leg of iberico ham, and watch their meals be expertly prepared by the master chef himself. By and large Urdaneta is a tapas-style restaurant constructed from Javier's Spanish heritage, with the newest addition of pintxo hour highlighting the Basque style of tapas -where Javier's roots in spain lay- each pintxo is inspired from traditional basque offerings but presented with a Pacific Northwest twist. And, the iberico ham on the counter is not for looks, it is to be enjoyed, or rather melted in your mouth, a pork candy melt if you will, between sips of sherry. 

Upon arrival we were treated to a cocktail off of their regular menu, the bermeo.

  • Bermeo: fino sherry, orange liqueur, fresh orange juice, cardamom bitters, allspice dram. 

The drink was named the bermeo, after the city where Javier's family is from

Now for the pinxtos, which we now know are cousins to tapas or did I confuse you more?

  • The Gilda: house made boquerone, Basque piparra pepper, green olive.

If you like strong briny, salty, and savory flavor profiles, this is the choice for you! Plus, this is perhaps the most traditional style of pintxo on the menu.

 

If you're looking for a traditional experience, they offer plenty of sherry, vermouth, spanish-region wines, and of course cava! Seen above is:

  • Sidra: a tabanco basque cider, a very dry, yet slightly effervescent cider. 

The above pintxo was my full-time favorite of the ones we tried. The juicy sausage on toasted bread, just comfort on a skewer.

  • Morcilla: grilled blood sausage, dad's marinated peppers, piquillo jam, piparra, and toasted bread

A close runner-up favorite was the Huevo Diablo, think of the heartiest deviled egg, jam-packed with a semi-sweet tuna filling, served on top of romesco, on top of bread, heaven!

  • Huevo Diablo: confit albacore tuna deviled egg, romesco, mustard seed caviar, and toasted bread 

For the image above:

  • Alcachofa: artichoke gratin, idiazbal, jamon, and fermented radish on bread 
  • Crudo: hamachi, sidra compressed pineapple, cucumber salmorejo, marcona almonds, and dill

The above items is seasonal and currently a part of their regular menu offerings.

So next time you have yourself questioning what's the difference between tapas and and pintxo's don't go to google for your answers, head to Urdaneta and experience the difference for yourself!


disclosure: i was invited to attend a media preview of Urdaneta's newly launched pintxo hour, while there i received complimentary tastings and beverages. i have previously eaten at Urdaneta on my own dime and will continue to do so. all opinions shared are my own and not in exchange for a positive review.

BUEN PROVECHO!