Six weeks ago I attended TechCrunch Disrupt in NYC. While browsing through “Startup Alley,” I noticed a company called EatWith and spoke with this guy Joel who runs the business in Spain. Essentially, EatWith is like airbnb, but instead of connecting locals and travels for a place to stay, this connects them for a place to eat. This was very fortuitous as I would be going to Spain in a few weeks time.
My initial thoughts were:
- I can’t wait to do this in Spain
- I can’t wait to meet up with Joel in Spain after we’ve experienced an EatWith meal to tell him what I thought
- When can I host a dinner in Brooklyn (more on that later)
Two weeks later, we were leaving Lisbon for Barcelona and getting excited for our EatWith meal that Joel recommended with Raki’s best friend (+ boyfriend Ryan), Yves (pictured below to the right), his wife, and his two boys.
Our 5-hours of preparation, meal, post-meal chat, and 2am wild boar hunt (more on that later) began at 7pm when Yves picked us up from the metro station to drive us to his house. At this point, I must reiterate: we had never met or spoken to this man before, but if you trust the filtering process EatWith has as well as your ability detect crazies online, there should be nothing to worry about if you’re considering this.
We started off the meal with some San Miguel beers and sangria.
For me, the most excited part of the meal was the paella. To kickstart the process we made a fish stock from large/small crabs and about 5 different kinds of bottom feeder fish that you wouldn’t normally eat regularly.
On the side, we cleaned mussels, squid, cuttlefish, and prawns (not pictured). For the squid, it’s important to note that we kept the ink sack to color a side sauce and we sauteed the egg sack just to have on the side (it tasted like egg).
While I was prepping everything for the paella, Ryan was on Romesco sauce duty for the salad. I had never heard of or tried Romesco sauce before, so I had no basis for comparison, but the one we made was delicious. It’s a combination of nuts, paprika, garlic, tomato, and anchovies.
To go along with the sauce was lettuce, olives, tuna, rehydrated salted cod. As for the latter, I had always seen it at markets, but never knew what to do with it, but it’s exactly as one would think. It’s salted for preservation and to rehydrate it for cooking use, you simply soak it in water overnight.
Back to the paella. While the stock was simmering, I toasted the pasta (correct. not rice) in a pan to brown it.
Then I placed the pasta on the side and sauteed the squid and cuttlefish in sofrito sauce.
Once the seafood was cooked enough, I added fish stock.
And then you add the mussels, prawns, and pasta.
Once the pasta absorbed most of the sauce, it was ready to eat.
But the meal wasn’t over because we poached pears in lemon, wine, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, clove, and orange peels. Very very very tasty way to end the meal.
After we were done, we were chatting with Yves and his wife for everything from how they met to life in Spain and politics. As I always say, nothing brings people together better than good food. Around 1:30am, Yves walked us out and helped us find a taxi at which point we noticed the below sign and got intrigued. Don’t feed what pigs???
Apparently in Yves’s neighborhood there are a lot of wild boars. These wild boars are the exactly opposite of Babe, so we began wondering around the neighborhood with precaution to track one down. We found one after 10 or so minutes. It was over 100 pounds easily. Camouflaged in the darkness of a bush except for it’s bright eyes and large teeth. Needless to say, we kept our distance and made our way back to find a taxi and PASS OUT.
EatWith was a huge success. Also, it’s important to note that they’re launching in NYC. As soon as I get my act together and submit all the paperwork, I’ll be hosting a few meals at my place for travelers throughout the world to see what life and people are like in Brooklyn as told through out food. Very exciting!