In the Kitchen: Lobo Iberico
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away from the main drag and the hustle and bustle of big box chain restaurants is   
a new restaurant called Lobo Iberico. Slow down, come on in and take a trip to Spain; order a pitcher of sangria and a few tapas plates and enjoy an evening of Spanish culture and food.
The intimate restaurant, tucked in off Leslie Street, north of Davis Drive in Newmarket, is the joint creation of owner Trish King and consulting chef Carlos Tomas, originally from Madrid, Spain.  
“My mission is to keep the restaurant authentic to its Spanish roots, to serve food that is top quality and provide excellent service to my customers at all times,” King explains. “Because of the restaurant's size, the staff and I are able to spend more time with each customer and provide them with a full experience, answering any questions they may have about the cuisine or its history.”
Tomas gets credit for naming the restaurant: Lobo means wolf in Spanish and Iberico is a region of Spain as well as the name of an endangered species of wolf that is important to the Spanish people.
Lobo Iberico offers many popular and tasty Spanish dishes. The kitchen prepares four types of paella fresh each day – vegetarian, chicken, seafood and “mixta” (which combines vegetables, chicken and seafood into one paella).  Lobo uses only bomba rice, imported from Spain, for its paella. An “open” variety of rice, bomba absorbs the flavours of the spices, vegetables and protein used in the dish.
The restaurant also has an extensive tapas menu, with offerings such as flaming garlic shrimp, Serrano ham and stuffed piquillo peppers, sweet peppers stuffed with a cod and bechamel sauce  and nicknamed “the licking plate” because you won't want any of the amazing sauce to go to waste.
On a recent visit, I spoke with patrons Jake and Mieke de Boer.
“It was our first time eating here tonight, but I'm already thinking of who I want to bring back,” Mieke said.
“The staff were very friendly and the sangria we enjoyed at the beginning of our meal was excellent – a taste of the Spanish dishes we were about to enjoy,” Jake added
Lobo Iberico is a perfect place for couples, a great spot for friends to gather and an interesting venue for business lunches. Presenting live Spanish guitar on Friday and Saturday evenings, available for private functions on Sunday and offering paellas-to-go, there is no excuse for not discovering this new hidden treasure in Newmarket.

Lobo Iberico
17766 Leslie St., Newmarket

Serves 4

425 mL (1-3/4 cups) rice (preferably bomba but conventional white rice will work)
1 L (4 cups) chicken broth
300 g (10 oz) shrimp, peeled, deveined
225 g (1/2 lb) mussels, in their shells
225 g (1/2 lb) squid, cleaned and cut into rings
225 g (1/2 lb) chicken on the bone, such as thighs, skinless
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 very ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
pinch saffron
30 mL (2 tbsp) olive oil
black pepper and salt

Heat oven to 420 Fahrenheit.
Clean all seafood under cold running water.
Heat olive oil in paella pan over low/medium heat.
Sauté vegetables for approximately 10 minutes, adding the tomato after 8 minutes.
When vegetables begin to soften, add seafood, chicken and black pepper to taste. Cook thoroughly.
Add rice and stir well.
Add saffron and chicken broth and stir well. Test for taste and add a bit of salt if desired.
Take pan off the stove element, cover with tinfoil and continue to cook in oven for 27 minutes if using bomba rice or 25 minutes if using conventional. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes still covered.
Do not stir the paella; it should be served as it was cooked and from the paella pan.
Serve with a fresh salad, crusty french bread and lemon wedges.

Lobo Iberico offers paella pans imported from Spain, complete with care instructions and a recipe card. It's a perfect gift for a foodie friend or it can be used to order paella to go.


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