Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Around the World in 80 Dates: Uruguay

For more on the 80 dates challenge, click here.

So two weekends ago was Dine In Brooklyn. It’s kind of like restaurant week, but for fun places in Brooklyn. As soon as I got the email, I knew I wanted to at least go out once, I mean, 3 courses for $25 is a pretty good deal, especially at some of these fancy pants places.

A bunch of the places listed were on our list of places we’ve been wanting to try, however when I saw the little Uruguayan place listed, my curiosity was piqued. I googled it to find to the website, and was immediately entranced, it looked so cute, and apparently the reviews on yelp said it was amazing. I figured we could try a new place, and get something for our 80 dates challenge, double win.

I actually made a reservation, which we very rarely do, and we were off to Tabare on a Friday evening. We ended up driving as the restaurant is in Williamsburg, which, though an area we frequented lots living in Bushwick, it’s now a super pain to get to from Cobble Hill. Alex dropped me off at the door and then went to park, and ended up finding a spot right around the corner, nice.

If you haven’t yet been to Tabare, you must go. It was awesome. It’s a little hole in the wall on an otherwise unremarkable residential street, but once you get inside, it’s beautiful. Candlelit, beautiful wood, gypsy kings/Buena vista social club type music playing at a reasonable volume (seriously, what is with NYC restaurants and their freaking loud music over dinner? I’m looking at YOU Bar Tabac) We were seated promptly and picked out a lovely Uruguayan Tannat for wine and looked over the menu. For special price deals, usually restaurants have a prefixe menu set up, but our server said nope! Just pick one appetizer, one entrĂ©e and one dessert from anything on the menu for each of you! Awesome. (Alex seriously felt bad about this, like we were ripping them off or something.)

For an appetizer I had the empanadas and Alex had the Caserola De Pulpo (Octopus casserole). Both were outstanding. When deciding what to make at home, I thought about the Caserola, but then I thought, I have absolutely no idea where one even buys Octopus… For our main course, we both went for steak. Which, as a side note, Tabare is great as they source everything locally and sustainably, and all of their steak is grass fed, hurray!

I had the Churrasco, a ridiculous amount of fantastic steak with chimmichurri sauce and Alex has the Chivto complete. Which, was also ridiculous. (Super good, but SO much food.) Alex put it best when he described this sandwich as “eating an entire farm at once”. Literally, this sandwich included steak, bacon, eggs, cheese and all kinds of vegetables on crusty bread. I was told I couldn’t make this at home, as it was his cholesterol intake fill for the year. :-)

With barely enough room left, we ordered dessert, and again awesome all around. Alex had the flourless chocolate torte, and I went for the Alfajores Rusticos. Flakey cookies with Dulce de Leche and Chocolate Ganache. MMMMM. So much goodness!

The at home version!

Yummy wine from our favorite local shop.

Though I thought of making steak, I realized that all of our worldly meals pretty much have oddly involved red meat thus far, I decided to go for something different. I've always wanted to make empanadas, but never managed to get around to it. I figured this would be the chance. I wanted to make the same kind we had at the restaurant since they were awesome. Thus, I made half chicken and red pepper with onion and half fontina/gruyere with onion. Both turned out great!

I'm so proud to actually have successfully made dough that was flaky and delicious, one: without a mixer of any kind and two: without a rolling pin. (I really should just invest in a rolling pin, but an empty wine bottle did the trick! And I don't have to store it anywhere!)

I used this recipe from epicurious for the empanada dough. This was really easy and worked great.


As I said, I made two types. I didn't really use a recipe, but basically, I fried up some chicken breasts spicing them with Moroccan 35 spice and garlic then shredded the meat. I added this to the empanada along with caramelized onions and garlic with oregano and sauteed red pepper.

For the cheese ones, I grated fontina and gruyere and then added some of the fried onions and garlic.

Once your empanadas are filled, fold them over and crimp the sides. Brush with egg white and bake at 400 for about 20 minutes.


(Sorry this focused a little too soft, opps!)

I also made the alfajores rusticos for dessert.

These are basically like lemon sugar cookies topped with dulce de leche (kind of like caramel) and chocolate with coconut and walnuts. The cookies in the restaurant were a bit lighter and flakier, but these still worked great and tasted delicious.

I followed Recipe Girl's recipe for alfajores. Then, I discovered after reading the comments that you can make dulce de leche super easy! Step one, buy condensed milk. Step two, boil the can in water for about 1.5-2 hours. Step three, eat! For the ganache, you just boil 1 cup heavy cream then add one cup chocolate. Done. Easy peasy! It sets up better after you leave it in the fridge, but still yummy when it's warm.

Buen Provecho!