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Monday, April 30, 2012

[Chicago] Cafe Ba Ba Reeba

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2024 North Halsted
Chicago, IL 60614

Even before my visit to Chicago, I had heard so much about the great Spanish cuisine in the city. And after personally visiting the city, I can definitely see why. During a lunch time visit to Cafe Ba Ba Reeba (@cafebabareeba), I had the pleasure of tasting some dishes from their Spanish tapas menu, crafted by Chef Tim Cottini. If you're not interested in ordering small plates, they have regular lunch and dinner menus that offer classic Spanish entrees. Regardless of what you settle on ordering, you can be assured your meal is as close to Spanish roots as it gets:  the charcuterie, cheese, olive oil, rice and spices are imported directly from Spain!

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Cafe Ba Ba Reeba

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Left: White Peach Sangria -peach schnapps, absolut peach ($19), Right: Mango Sangria

These sangria were excellent! Refreshing, fruity, and went well with all our food. We ended up ordering another pitcher at the end because it was such a good summer drink! :)

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Meatballs with sherry tomato sauce ($6)

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Roasted dates with bacon & apple vinaigrette ($6)

Where to start with this plate. Okay, lets go with the one word : SPECTACULAR. I'm not particularly attracted to dates or bacon (I know I know, I'm a weird one), but this dish was an explosion of delicious. A good flavour balance from the honey sweetened dates, savory crisp bacon, and refreshing tart apples. My friend John (@j1kim) quotes: "Worth giving up your first-born child for. THEY ARE THAT GOOD." I'll let you decide how much of that statement is exaggeration and truth.

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Shrimp with garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes ($8)

If you like garlic, you will get a real kick out of this dish. Those thin garlic slices are extremely potent, but not overdone when added to the succulent shrimp.

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Spicy potato with tomato alioli ($6)

Nothing overly special about these potatoes, but the spicy mayo does give it a little extra edge.

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Sausage-fried paella rice with poached egg ($6)

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Serrano ham, salchichon, chorizo & manchego ($9)
By the time this plate of charcuterie came, I was really too full to try each one in its entirety, but in general it was a good plate of curred meats. I really liked that they weren't overly salty, which is a common characteristic of charcuterie I don't particularly enjoy. Cheese lovers will love the one with the triangular piece of manchego (a spanish goat milk cheese), so creamy!

Overall, a great experience! I do admit I liked some dishes a lot more than others, but it was a perfect lunch spot for our big group of eight. A place that makes you feel like you can never have too much tapas or sangria pitchers!

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba on Urbanspoon