Imagine this: two posts in one day where Todd and I went on a totally nonsexual man-date and had a blast. Take that, women. So yeah, we were hungry again, and shopping at KOP, so we decided spur-of-the-moment to try to snag a table at the tres chic Amada, an Old City tapas favorite that we'd heard a lot about....I called, we got a table. Easy as that. Please take note: if you need a table at some restaurant, just ask Drew Coursin.
Aaaanyway. Amada. We sat and perused the menu - small print + lots of options = confusion. We opted for the first-timer special: the Chef's Choice. Forty-five bucks a person (plus a few bones for delicious red sangria, which tasted dangerously like fruit punch with a ton of fruit in it) got us three courses of tapas that seriously blew our minds. I'll just list everything we got and you can take it from there:
-Salty flatbread with a tuna and caper dip - seemed pretty unadorned, but hit the spot to start.
-Olive platter - large olives, small olives - definitely hit that salty area on the tongue that needs a good warming up before an enormous meal. Also, bonus points for being able to use the fondue skewer provided to poke at what seemed like innumerable olivey delicacies.
-Spanish tortilla with saffron aioli - Spain's response to the traditional Mexican potato and flour dish, I'd imagine. Was a dense pastry-like creation that slid down the gullet in a few nibbles thanks to the deep yellow-orange of the saffron aioli. Yum.
-Serrano ham and fig salad, cabrales, and spiced almonds - arguably one of the best items on the menu - dark green leaves of spinach wrapped in Iberian cured ham and presented with sliced drunken figs, marinated red onions, and salty-sweet almond clusters. Utterly delicious.
-A platter of bread, crisp Granny Smith apple slices, a medium-dry goat's milk cheese, and garlic dulce de leche. Altogether a sumptuous treat - each item individually tasted great, and even better in concert.
-Flatbread with artichokes, black truffles, wild mushrooms, and a slice of aged manchego cheese. Todd commented on how similar manchego is to his favorite - parmesan. I agreed as I munched on the succulent pizza.
-Albondigas - lamb meatballs with shaved manchego that melted in our mouths as we skewered and tossed them down. Another favorite of the meal - a Spanish twist on the Swedish meatball with infinitely more delicate flavor and that wonderful lamb aroma.
-Crab stuffed peppers - sweet red peppers with shaved almonds overflowing with a bubbling cheese and crab filling. Again, hard to say what was the best about this meal, but this may have been it.
-Beef Tenderloin with an aged gorgonzola/bleu cheese and foie gras cover. Words really fall short, to be perfectly honest. We didn't have a steak knife to carve this bad boy, but we didn't need one; the butter knife sawed through the ever-so-tender flesh with remarkable ease. I can't describe the taste. Purchase your plane ticket for Philly now. In hindsight, I should have stabbed Todd and popped the whole tiny filet into my mouth to let its flavor dissolve while I waited for the cops to haul me away.
-Scallops on skewers with parsley, olive oil, and garlic. Unremarkable, to be honest, compared to the tenderloin and other accoutrements, but still tasty, especially with the...
-Chick peas with spinach - the garbanzos were cooked to the point where they were almost crispy (the way I love them, which really reminds me of Barcelona); they tasted almost like the sea, but the spinach set them off in a delicious almost-diavolo sauce.
-Patatas bravas - both Todd and I had experienced this Catalan delicacy in its native land, and really were hoping it didn't come tonight. It did, however, and at that point we were just too full of delicious food to enjoy the couture tater tots and repeated saffron aioli.
-Todd: seven layers of chocolate. As awesome as this sounded, it was a bit scant and not all that tasty. I can't recount what the layers were, exactly, which pretty much sums up the experience.
-Drew: avocado mousse, fresh pineapple, green tea meringue, Meyer lemon ice cream. In a word: amazing. Just like dessert should be: refreshing to the point that you forget you're full and want to eat more.
We finished everything off with a tipple of Ximenez muscato dessert wine and then ambled out into the Philadelphia evening, stuffed and completely satisfied.
Bless you, Amada. You are truly loved.
217-219 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106