Macedonia to Catalonia in one night

Holiday weeks can be longer and shorter at the same time.  I spent a couple of days in New York City with family and returned to full-bore autumn and a brief but intense two-day work week.  Celebrating exceptional September results, half the company headed off to Sabur for drinks and apps. We enjoyed a bottle of Macedonian Vranec and the chef’s whim of appetizers, notably grape leaves, pickles, hummus and polenta.  I can’t believe that I haven’t been to Sabur since July, but I got the text from J that she was 30 minutes from a table at Toro, so I had to split.

Entertaining former Bostonian K and his new wife L, J had managed to hold down some seats at the packed bar until we all arrived and eventually got seated at the communal long table.  Toro is dark beyond trendiness so I couldn’t get the photos that I might have wanted, but I agreed to use the flash just once to capture one of J’s favorite dishes, which I’m sure will be written up on her blog soon enough.

We enjoyed a fine bottle of Albariño (they have several, we got the cheap one and didn’t mind a bit), borquerones (anchovies!), erizos en suquet (sea urchin, lobster and crab meat stew in tomato sauce), smoked beef tongue with lentils, grilled cauliflower, brussels sprouts with sea salt, and maiz asado con aioli y queso cojita (the house special, grilled corn with aoili, lime, and cheese – messy and delicious).  Small without being stingy, none of these dishes cost more than $13, and we did not leave hungry.

And then we got one more dish, the one that I had been thinking about since I started my fall game kick, the conejo cocido, cava braised rabbit with carrot marmelade and burgundy snails.

Honestly I could take or leave the snails.  Maybe they were there as a play on the tortoise and the hare, but they orbited the main part of the dish without really participating.  The rabbit and carrots (another cheeky combo, but one that works here as it did at Rino’s) were perfectly done.  The mildly gamy rabbit fell apart under the fork and the carrots were prepared with an offsetting sweetness, like a slightly crunchy tzimmes.  The official start to rabbit season is still a week away, but so far, the signs are very positive.

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