Sherman's Food Adventures: Paella Experience by The Paella Guys

Paella Experience by The Paella Guys

Believe it or not, I'm walking on air...  Wait, no what I meant is believe it or not, I have not ever tried out the Paella Guys before.  Hey, it isn't as if I haven't seen all their giant and tasty-looking paellas on social media though.  I guess, there is just too many places and things to eat in the GVRD to get to everything.  I really do enjoy paella and I actually own a paella pan (which I've used on several occasions to make my own paella.  So when I got invited to their commissary kitchen to participate in their Paella Cooking Class, I didn't need much convincing to go!

Upon arriving at their facility near the Production Way Skytrain station (which makes it convenient for those who want to transit), I took a seat at the large table.  I put on my apron and proceeded to write my name on the supplied name tag.  We were presented with a variety of Meats and Cheeses including loin, salami, Serrano ham, manchego, truffle and black garlic cheeses.  We also found some olives and marcona almonds as well.

Onto a quick lesson on how to make an authentic Red Sangria, we learned that adding sugar gives it the necessary sweetness.  No use of any sweetened sodas such as ginger ale or lemon-lime, rather we used club soda.  Also, we diced up 3 types of tree fruit including apples, pears and oranges.  No rinds were added due to their bitterness.  Normally, this would be prepared 7 days in advance or minimally 4 hours prior to consuming.  This was truly refreshing and went well with the paella.

So to the main event, we were going to be split up into 2 teams to make on Seafood Paella and a Traditional Paella each.  The ingredients for the seafood included bomba rice (since it is good with high heat), diced onion, red peppers, saffron, salt, EVOO, sofrito (tomato paste, garlic, olive oil), scallops, prawns, squid, mussels, clams and a stock made from whitefish tomatoes and leeks.  For the traditional paella, we found bombo rice, green pepper, green beans, chicken, EVOO, salt, sofrito, rosemary, saffron, paprika and stock made of artichoke leaves and chicken bones.

We began by heating up some EVOO and then adding salt.  We seared the scallops first on the seafood side and browned the chicken on the other.  Then we added the peppers and onions and cooked them until translucent.  We cooked down the squid on the seafood side and then the green beans on the other.  Broth was added to de-glaze the paella pan. The rice was added shortly after.

During this time, there was a platter of Tortilla coming around for us to munch as we anxiously awaited for the paella to be done.   For those who are aware, Spanish tortilla is not a chip.  Rather it is an omelette of sorts with onion and potato. I've had this on numerous occasions, usually during a round of tapas.  This particular one was loadded with potato that made it quite hearty.  This was served on a bread.

So when it was all said and done, the Traditional Paella looked like the picture you see above.  The rice appeared to be slightly underdone, but that was intentional to keep things al dente and also the rice would continue to cook from the residual heat.  Underneath that, there was a socarrat (rice crust) that had formed being nutty, caramelized and slightly crispy on the edges.  This had a robust flavour from the chicken and was very tasty.

As for the Seafood Paella, it was topped with prawns, clams and mussels where they finished off cooking with a tin foil tent.  The rice on it was also appealingly chewy with a nice socarrat on the bottom and edges.  The seafood was perfectly cooked while the flavour was briny and slightly sweet.  As a group, we all agreed that the seafood was our favourite and there was plenty of it to go around.  We even had leftovers!  Oh and it wasn't pictured here, but we got a healthy dose of aioli on the side of our paella.

Onto dessert, we were served small Tarta de Santiago aka Galician Almond Tart with plenty of butter and a hint of citrus.  These were sinful but ultimately delicious with a noticeable butteriness with the unmistakable taste of almonds.  The top and edges were crunchy while the inside was soft and warm.  A fine finish to a fun evening of drinks, cooking, friends (meeting new ones) and eating.  There are several more sessions available in November.  They sell-out quick, so be sure to book online!

*This Paella Cooking Experience was complimentary for this post

The Good:
- You really do learn some new things
- Fun and interactive
- Delicious!

The Bad:
- Only a small class, so limited seats, but also keeps it intimate
- Limited parking



Nicholas @VancouverStudentEats said...

I am from around the area and had no idea about this place. I will check it out in the future!

Sherman Chan said...

@Nicholas Yah, it is so good! Please do check it out!

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