I can’t get enough of these flavors of ArgentinaDining Thursday, January 19th, 2012
With all good wine must come food and Argentina has diverse food just like the United States, especially since they are strongly influenced by Italy and Spain. San Diego has three restaurants featuring the flavors of Argentina with an Argentinian steakhouse scheduled to open in the Gaslamp later this year.
This week I am very excited to recommend Cueva Bar on Adams Avenue near Alabama Street. I had no idea this cute tapas place even existed until last week. A friend of mine, who is a chef from Argentina, actually turned me on to the place and since then I can’t get enough.
Cueva Bar is a family affair, owned and operated by Oz and Joanna Blackaller both of whom designed the menu, cook in the kitchen and wait tables with brother-in-law, Corey. Oz, a native of Mexico, was inspired by the large Argentinian influence in his hometown in Mexico.
I started with the Papa Aplastada, a roasted red potato topped with a green and black olive tapenade ($4). The recipe comes from the southern region of the Andes and I paired it with a Charred Beet Salad, with goat cheese, mixed greens, garlic chips and balsamic dressing. A good Argentinian wine pairing is the Postales Del Fin Del Mundo Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2009, grown in the fertile soil of Patagonia, ($9 per glass).
I was served Flat Breads with roasted poblano chile peppers with chimichurri, romano and mozzarella cheese ($11). The made to order Empanadas, originally from Spain, are a staple of the Argentinian diet and a specialty of the house. I had the ground beef with onions, hard boiled egg, olives, spices and tomatoes. A very flavorful, yet simple alternative is the spinach and mozzarella ($10). Both the Empanadas and Flat Breads can be paired with a 2008 Del Fin Del Mundo Pinot Noir ($9 per glass).
A unique Sunday brunch is served 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. I enjoyed the bacon stuffed Oatmeal Pancakes. They sound odd, but in reality are quite delicious ($8). The house-made Chicken Tamales with black beans and two eggs were exceptionally good ($10). I paired the brunch with a house-made hibiscus juice mimosa ($5).
2123 Adams Ave.
San Diego, CA 92116
4 sheets of paper towel to smash the potatoes
4 small red potatoes (not too small)
8 cups cold water
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon pepper
1 pinch sea salt or kosher salt
4 tablespoons olive tapenade
1 cup green olives
1 cup black olives
1/4 cup EVOO
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon lime zest
Juice of two limes
Place potatoes in saucepan with water, vinegar and spices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until tender. Take potatoes out of pan and set aside to cool down.
Chop olives and place in medium bowl. Add spices, lime zest and lime juice.
Mix and add salt and/or fresh ground pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 450F. When oven is ready, smash each potato individually, spread 1 tablespoon of tapenade on each potato, place on cookie baking sheet and into the oven for approximately 10 minutes.
Take out of oven (be careful! Don’t get burned) and place individually in a separate plate for each of your guests. Garnish plate with a balsamic reduction, or Cueva’s own red wine reduction. Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley and serve.
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