Justin K. and I met for lunch yesterday in SoHo, where his new office is located. Our lunch venture started off quite poorly but ended up amazing. I spied L’Orange Bleue a bit east of his office; we walked over and found it to be closed… at lunch. Sad. So then we continued east, passing a little shop called Despana, on our way around the corner to Hoomoos Asli. I hadn’t been there in years, but their food was always good.

Nearly ten minutes after being seated at Hoomoos, Justin and I had to specifically call the waiter over to order. 35 minutes later, when another customer walked out due to the hour long wait for his food, we knew the prospects were bleak. I asked the waiter for an estimate and he said it would be at least another ten minutes — for two shwarma sandwiches. We left. I recall now that the reason I stopped going to Hoomoos Asli was because of horrible service. Looks like it will be another few years before they get another chance.

So we walked back to Despana Despana, which looks like an upscale, small Spanish Grocery. Inside, one first passes a case of cured meats, then a case of cheeses. In the back, there is a small area with a few stools and a counter to order quick bites. At said counter, Justin and I each ordered a bocadillo (a sandwich prepared on ciabatta bread) and a tortilla Española. Justin had the tortilla with manchego cheese; and I had the pintxo tortilla with shrimp salad. Both were delicious and surprisingly filling for no more than three bites of food (for about $5 each). It probably was the perfectly cooked potato in the omelette. We were impressed.

As we waited about five minutes for our sandwiches Justin sipped his orange drink, I perused the meats and tasted some of their samples. It rapidly became obvious that I’d have purchasing to do after I ate.

Our sandwiches arrived warm and fragrant and large. They were $8.50 each and well worth it. Justin found his Bocadillo Picante (chorizo picante, mahon cheese, basque guindilla peppers, tomatoes and olive oil) a bit too spicy, so he cleared off most of the peppers. I thought it was perfect. My Bocadillo Mallorquin, a simple spread of chorizo (sobrasada) drizzled with honey del Brezo (which I believe is a honey from heather flowers), was fantastic. We were stuffed.

I figured it was safe to start shopping (they say, never shop hungry). I was wrong:

I ended up spending almost $50 on a handful of items. After tasting samples, I couldn’t resist:

  • A jar of Nucilla Duo – I discovered this Nutella-competitor and was amazed! The jar I picked up has half original (hazelnut spread) and half Nucilla Leche. Yum. I brought it home and spread it on a dessert Jessica made.
  • 1/4lb of Tortita de Barros – This raw sheep’s milk cheese is very rare and extremely delicious! It’s an award winning cheese that is sensational. I shared some with the folks in my office and everyone loved it, even though it’s strong and a bit salty on the after-taste. However, I really brought this home for Jessica who knows her cheeses. Her review: “yum, yum!”. More info here.
  • Despana-brand Mini Chorizo – I was advised that these tangy treats are great when served slightly heated or used in a soup.
  • Palacios Dry-Imported Chorizo – A delicious chorizo, that is more tangy than spicy. I’ve had this before.
  • Morcilla de Cebolla – A dark, rich looking blood sausage with onions. The clerk informed me that this was another wonderful ingredient for stews or soups. I’m looking forward to tasting this. The last time I had Spanish blood sausage was at a great restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen (I forget the name), and was in love.
  • Montegrato Fino Wine – A 26-year old sweet vinegar made from Fino Wine.

Ok, lot’s of detail here, so let me sum it up — go to Despana! Bring a wallet. Bring an appetite. Look for me there, because I will certainly be back.

posted by Lon at 09:12 AM Filed under Latin, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.