Dinner at Mercat A La Planxa: A Play By Play

Mercat a la Planxa is one of the hot restaurants in Chicago. It highlights the cuisine and cocktails of Catalonia, and while it’s a tapas restaurant, its price point is quite a bit higher than other spots serving small plates. But believe me, it’s worth it.


Last night I attended a media dinner, where they encouraged us to bring our computers and live-blog the experience. I mentioned last night that I would “tweet” the evening. As promised, here’s the Twitter stream from the dinner. As you read along, I hope you’ll see what an amazing evening it was.

  • With @alexisbutters of @goodforparty at Mercat. Just tried first cocktail – Fusil Humeante. Apricot-infused tequila w blackberries.
  • Just served the first
    course(s). Server likened bread service to a Mexican bruschetta. Also
    served goat cheese (Cana de Cabra) and…
  • “Truita de patata con espinacas” – Spanish Omelette with spinach, potatoes & saffron aioli and…
  • Escalivada – roasted baby bell peppers, cipollini, rstd eggplant & confit tomato
  • Fellow blogger and a few of our courses

  • BTW – when I typed “rstd” for rstd eggplant from my iPhone, it wanted to change it to “rats”. Glad I caught that one!
  • One of the managers is new to Chicago. Good thing I’m here!
  • Just ran into another manager, who I used to work with at Sullivan’s. Oh, how far we’ve come!
  • Enjoying my Cereza de
    Verano – bing cherries, hibiscus lavender syrup, & sparkling
    muscatel with Ultimate Vodka – who wouldn’t like that???
  • People are walking by and looking at this table full of computers like who are they and what are they doing?
  • Holy goat cheese batman! This Cana de Cabra is awesome!
  • Croquetas de Mariscos – shellfish croquettes – good, but not my favorite. The Jamon Iberico de bellota? Ham Heaven!
  • Our server said this next
    dish was the best in the house: Pelotas de calabaza y cordero –
    butternut squash dumplings with lamb ragout. MMMMM
  • Very tasty; personally I
    prefer Pulpo con patatas – Spanish octopus, confit potato, smoked
    paprika. Little bit o’ smoke, little bit o’ spice
  • Next cocktail: El Bolero.
    Their version of a margarita, with muddled avocado. Avocado, in a
    cocktail? Yes – and it works, surprisingly!
  • Mercat probably not a
    good 1st date restaurant. Unless you’re comfortable with your eyes
    bugging out at each course ’cause it’s so good.
  • That last tweet was in response to the Cepes Y Butifarra flatbread: porcini & catalan sausage, rstd garlic & manchego
  • Note: this is a very odd
    experience. I’m of the mindset that when you’re with people, you should
    be WITH them. Here we’re buried in tech.
  • I’m sitting with @dccrenshaw, who’s tweeting also, and Shreyas Shah, who’s posting to @nbc5street, and @AlexisButters.
  • In rapid succession:
    espinacas a la catalana (best spinach I’ve ever had!), arroz con morels
    (morel risotto – can’t go wrong!)…
  • and langostina a la
    planxa (prawns with lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley & sea salt)
    & Colorado rack of lamb. I could move in here.
  • Add to that a mojito a la planxa, which is a mojito made with grilled pineapple and no simple syrup, and my bags are packed!
  • The grilled pineapple in
    the mojito reminds me – a bit – of the pineapple-infused Knockout
    martini at Sullivan’s – with more attitude.
  • And now…the Shoko Cocktail: Peach Vodka, Fresh Sour, OJ, Cucumber, Basil Leaves. Spring in a glass on a summer’s eve.
  • Dessert. Yes, 6 different types of sorbet

  • Just ate what @AlexisButters called “the world’s most perfect dessert”
  • Chocolate croquette stuffed with choc granache over banana marshallow, caramel, fried rosemary, & virgin olive oil
  • I could seriously curl up in a little ball with these little balls of chocolate spice heaven. And cinnamon too? Oh. My. Word.
  • sorbets: mango, berry, & carrot. If you like carrot (I don’t), this sorbet’s great. If you don’t like carrot, you’ll still eat it!
  • Of the others: cheesecake
    (delicious!), pea, & olive oil/rosemary. Of the last 2 – taste like
    real flavors, & actually decent)
  • The flan was also good. Not normally a fan – too wimpy – but this one has some texture and weight and “yea, it’s worth it.”
  • The final course: absinthe.
  • 2nd step: lighting the sugar cubes on fire
  • Next you add chilled water

  • Then stir it until it’s a milky green and drink! (trust me, better than it sounds)






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