Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba celebrates 25 years

January 12, 2011 11:43:01 AM PST
The Hungry Hound says a legendary Spanish restaurant is gearing up for a lot of partying this weekend.

Whenever a restaurant reaches a milestone, such as five or 10 years, it's cause for celebration. So you can imagine how big of a deal it is to reach 25 years.

Over the past few years, Spanish food has become "hot," with some of the world's best restaurants claiming homes near Barcelona and San Sebastian. But in the winter of 1986, before tapas became commonplace, Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba was born in Lincoln Park.

The restaurant was known for its sangria, of course, as well as its vast assortment of those small, hot and cold plates. They introduced Chicago to the pleasures of Serrano ham, goat cheese with tomato sauce and the occasional live music performance. Its goal has been to promote Spanish food and culture over the past quarter century, and part of that means paella.

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!
2024 N. Halsted St.

Celebrating 25th Anniversary from January 13th - 19th

Happy Ba-Ba-Reeba Birthday: We're 25. You're 25.
Anyone turning 25 in 2011 can celebrate their big milestone at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba, and receive a $25 gift card for a return visit (proof of birth date required with valid ID). Anyone turning 50 in 2011 will receive a $50 gift card too.

Paella Cooking Class: Saturday, January 15, 10AM - 12PM
What better way to kick start the New Year than by learning a thing or two Top Chef-style (New Year's resolution, perhaps?). Roll out of bed, grab your chef's hat and head to Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba for a Paella Cooking Class with Executive Chef Tim Cottini. While learning the savory secrets behind the award-winning Valencian staple, guests will curb their cravings over a five course winter tapas lunch and top notch paired wines. Guests will receive a tapas recipe booklet and paella cookbook to recreate the comforting goodness at home. The event is $30 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

Happy Ba-Ba-Reeba Birthday Party Sunday, January 16, 11AM-10PM
As Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba adds a 25th candle to the cake on January 16, they're inviting all to partake in the celebration. From toasting a glass of Cava Sangria upon arrival to sharing in the tower of cupcakes prepared by Pastry Chef Michel Briand (both complimentary); Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar during brunch also. Every guest that dines at the Spanish spot on January 16 will receive a $10 Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba gift certificate (for future use).

Flamenco Dinner Show: Sunday, January 16, 5PM
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba presents a special Flamenco Dinner Show. Take in the traditional music and dancing of Spain by 'Cuadro "El Payo." Reservations are taken at 5PM and the show begins at 6PM. Event cover is $10 per person, plus tax.

Yields: 2


1/4 cup Pomace olive oil
1 6oz chicken thigh, boneless, skinless and diced 3/4 inch
1 6oz pork shoulder, diced 3/4 inch
1/4 cup Peppers and onions julienne
1 tsp Garlic, chopped
1/3 cup Grated tomato
1/2 tsp Pimenton
8 to 10 Saffron threads
1 tsp Salt, kosher
2 1/2 cups Chicken stock
2/3 cup Paella rice
1/2 cup Green beans
1 Rosemary sprig, 2 inches long
1/4 cup Green onions, chopped

Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a 15 inch paella pan and add chicken and pork. Cook for approximately two minutes. Add peppers and onions and saute briefly. Then, add garlic, tomato puree, pimenton, saffron water and salt to pan and reduce heat by 25 percent. Next, add chicken stock, rice, green beans and bring to a simmer for approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Place a rosemary branch in the center of the paella and place in the oven at 425 degrees for 23 minutes, or continue cooking on stovetop at a gentle simmer for 25 minutes. Remove and sprinkle green onions over the top and return to oven and cook for an additional minute. Finally, remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.