Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sanctuary! Sanctuary!!!

About a week ago, my wife and I went out for a nice night.  We decided to try a tip from a friend and see if Sanctuaria really was as good as he said it was.  My conclusion: it is.  We went there after making a reservation and ended up with a large booth in the corner. What is great about Sanctuaria is that it is supposed to be a tapas bar/restaurant.  Instead of these tiny or small plates, at Sanctuaria you get these large plates, with enough food for several people.  Along with this, the prices are not that high, so my whole meal was less than $60!

So, we started to order food and we were thinking that the two of us needed to order about 2-3 tapas plates each, so that we would have enough food to eat.  Neither of us were expecting the plates to be large, however.  So, the first thing we ordered was the "black beans stuffed piquillos".  Which were roasted peppers stuffed with black beans and mozzarella cheese.  These were very tasty and I'd give them an easy 4 out of 5.  The beans and cheese mixed perfectly inside and the peppers were super tender and juicy.

It was time to order the meat and my wife chose the "Carne y Maiz", which was pieces of grilled steak over hominy and chilies with shallot rings.  These were perfect.  Usually when people serve small pieces of steak, it is too tough, because I think people are worried that they will overcook them so they basically under cook them.  These were awesome.  They were juicy, full of flavor and very tender.  The hominy that they were on was very tasty and the shallot rings were great for onion ring fans, such as myself.  I'd give this dish a 4 out of 5 as well.
We also ordered an item that wasn't on the menu.  This item was a special and was lamb and some vegetables, in a cream-like sauce, inside sweet dough tarts.  The idea sounds great but we both had one main issue with it: the dough was way too sweet.  It was a good idea for a meat pie, but the saltiness of the lamb mixed with the sugary sweet dough didn't blend as well as I think the chef wanted it to.  I'd give this dish a 3 out of 5.
So, while my wife tried one of everything and gave the rest to me to finish, she orders something else: Posole, which is traditionally a been and meat soup.  Well, this version was much, much more thick.  In this one you have pork and poblano peppers and hominy in a thick and chunky tomato sauce base.  It was like a really thick and very flavorful chili.  It was good, really good and was worth it.  I'd give it a 4 out of 5.

So, finally it was time for desert.  Why look at the same old things when you can order something different and fantastic?  What caught my wife's eye, was the Havana Bread.  It was listed as $7 on the menu and had a small annotation that mentioned that you need to give them at least 20 minutes to prepare it as they are made to order.  So, how cool is that?  Ordering a desert which is made to order. So, the Havana Bread is a spiced cake made with rum and raisins.  So, as we wait, my wife and I think of what it could be like.  A spiced cake, made with raisin and rum, sounds way too good and and less than 20 minutes later, we have it delivered to us, so hot that the topping is still boiling.

So, what is this and what did it taste like?  Heaven.  They should replace the name "Havana Bread" with "Heaven Bread".  No, really, it was really good.  After waiting about 10 minutes so it was physically safe to eat, we ate most of it.  It weighed almost 5 pounds, it wasn't huge but sure weighed like it was.  Very tasty and very fresh, and soft and moist and very good.  I'd give it a 4 and 1/2 out of 5.

Now, I highly suggest that if you are in the Grove or anywhere near it and you want a good selection of food, then you should stop by Sanctuaria.  The whole location seemed to have many tables, so it wouldn't be an issue of not finding a place to seat inside.  Maybe finding a place to park outside though, may prove to be difficult.

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