Two Fridays back L. texted me and asked if I might like to join her and BC for dinner at Bar Ferdinand. I wasted very little time and replied in the affirmative, which then gave me something to look forward to while I tried to tidy my generally cluttered bedroom existence. I cabbed it on over to Northern Liberties and within moments of getting to the door, met up with L. We went inside to claim our reservation and to wait for BC at the table. As the hostess was looking up the reservation we stood peaceably. Another member of the staff came up to the hosting table (podium? what is the word for that dang thing), and it turns out that this individual and I recognized each other; we were both graduates of Bard College. Bard is a funny place, and I can't rightly tell you that I actually ever spoke to B. So while I recognized him I couldn't be like 'oh remember that time we had a class together/had that conversation/had mutual friends!?' That said, we are friends on Facebook, so I know he likes to make a good stock from time to time. Turns out he's the sommelier at Bar Ferdinand, so soon after BC arrived, he came out and offered us complimentary glasses of sherry, as well as olives and salted marcona almonds. The sherry was Guiterrez Colosia's Oloroso 'Sangre y Trabajadero.' While I think we can all attest to my love of many different forms of alcohol, sherry hasn't been quite on my radar at the same level as, say, bourbon or gin, which makes anything I would say about the sherry pretty basic. And now I will go ahead and say something. What struck me most about it was that it didn't have that cloyingly sweet thing going on that I associate with the fortified wine. A little more mellow, though not without that kick that such beverages generally deliver to their imbiber. It was a really nice gesture and a great start to the meal. The olives and nuts were also tasty little treats to munch on while we got down to the business of cocktails and larger food decisions.
Our server told us the specials and I immediately found interest in the flatbread of the night, which was a mix of chorizo, shrimp, arugula and a few other ingredients I can't quite recall. The solution to this, as I know, is to actually write the stuff down as opposed to expecteing myself to remember things two weeks later...but that just means that the whole 'actually getting to eat the food' part of the meal will take longer...between my subpar photography and lapsed memory, I often wonder what I'm doing in the first place.
For my opening cocktail I was drawn to the Barcelona: Bulleit bourbon, Licor 43, bitters, and brandied cherries. This I liked very much. Nicely balanced. Smooth. Also, I am a sucker for the relatively new (to me in my limited circles) trend of fancy cherries in drinks, and these cherries were nice and fancy. A nice sweet note to go with the bourbon and bitters.
We chose to try two kinds of empanadas, the chicken and mushroom variety as well as the bacon, date, cream cheese variety. The chicken was nice and tender, and there was quite a lot of it. I wasn't really blown away by the resulting dish, but I wouldn't complain about it either.
And how can you really go wrong if you're including cream cheese in a pastry? You really can't. But I did really like how the sweetness of the dates melted with the creamy ridiculousness of the cream cheese, and the bacon did a great job of rounding out and uniting the two.
L. said that the calamari was good here, so we went ahead and ordered that as well. Definitely nice and tender, very crispy. I actually got a bigger kick out of the little fried peppers that mingled in with the calamari.
At some point we asked our server to tell us which of two of the less expensive sparkling wines would be a winning choice. He went and consulted with Bardian B., who then came out with a third option...which we a) enjoyed very much and b) were inspired to drop diamonds into. Well, L. is the only one with a diamond, but I think BC and I both got a thrill. Heh.
This was a nice Cava. B. gave us a little description of its qualities, which, again, I should have written down. What I can say with confidence is that it was bubbly and didn't have that weird thing that some sparkling wines can have. Some strange back throat lingering in a negative way. Wow, and I wonder why no one will hire me as a critic.
And finally, the cheese plate. The running theme of the evening continues here, as I cannot tell you anything about any of the cheeses, their paired accoutrements, or anything else. Failure alert. All I can say is that I liked the manchego and the creamy mess of a cheese that L. and BC weren't quite as enamored with.
By this point we were certainly giggly messes. Switching seats to have different combinations of us photographed...fixing each other's hair...knocking over chairs in our excitement over said photo combinations. But I don't think we were too out of control. Also, apropos of nothing, as I was walking to the washroom at some point, a man was walking in the opposite direction...and as he walked by me he slapped my ass and kept on going. I was both very offended and flattered at the same time. This is not a good sign for me: when what truly is sexual harassment makes you feel flattered, then you have not been getting enough ass slaps in your life. Let's move on from that thought, shall we?
Fun with photos! L. has some more good ones with BC.
A lovely and unexpected evening. A great thanks goes out to Bardian B. for the extra treats!