Chez Madeleine

Monday, August 14, 2006

I'm a tapas dictator


On Friday night, I nibbled a lot. I had worked through lunch to get a big project done, so when I picked up a friend who was in town for the night, I took her directly to whole foods to pick up some snacks. We gorged on an apple--which Debbie had safely traveled with to Atlanta--feta and roasted garlic dip, and black bean hummus on everything flat breads.

Then we moved our feast to Kathleen's--where she dazzled us with incredible cheese, champagne truffles, buttery bread rounds, and chocolate covered almonds (which she tried to hide from us unsuccessfully).

Eventually, us 5 chicks walked over to Pura Vida.

Now-here's where the night got dramatic. It has been a while since I had eaten tapas, but I had been saving up some thoughts for a while. I've been trying to figure out why I don't really like tapas, and I had finally gotten to the root of the problem. What I determined is that I like to taste food--more than once. I like to have consistent bites of one item to allow that item's flavors to develop in my mouth...marinate, and machinate, and roll over the tongue, teeth, tummy. I don't like to get one bite of something--if I wanted one bite I would go to Costco or Whole Foods on the weekend and eat with a tiny taster spoon.

So--promptly after sitting down with my companions I apprised them of the fact that I was not indeed open to splitting our tapas. I told them, of course, that I was more than happy to watch them quibble over a tiny square of tuna, but I was going to order my dishes, feast on them happily, take multiple bites, and be completely content. I wasn't going to long after their small plates, ask for bites, or have difficulty deciding.

Debbie, always a conflict-solver (she has had quite the career in res life and student services), suggested a plan. Each person could have a tapas buddy. A person with which they could share several tapas in less miniscule quantities. Eileen and Liz jumped at the opportunity to buddy up and they were seen here poring over choices.


I chose chilean salmon ceviche-lemon cured salmon, tobiko caviar, dill espuma and yuca chips. It was divine. The lemony salmon and the crunch caviar.


I also had duck layered with carmelized sweet plantains that was my best dish of the evening, but it didn't photograph well.

The tapas buddies split an empanada that I can't find in my notes:


Kathleen ordered the hangar steak skewers with a chimmichuri. They were unbelievably tender:


and the tilapia ceviche with lime juice, aji, onions nad cream topped with cilantro. It was lighter than my salmon ceviche.


Debbie, our local vegetarian, had the tortilla espanol withh pearl onionn confit, gold potatos, peppers and goat cheese:


and the yuca croquettes with avocado aioli


the buddies also had a special-exploding potatos that I didn't write down the exact name of:


and a burrito that came last along with a squirter of green sauce


Last, Kathleen ordered the piece de resistance--golden window panes of tuna ceviche with an ahi amarillo foam.


We finished off the night with three chocolate desserts: Polvorones de chocolate fragrante-chocolate cookie nibs with candied ginger, orange zest, and toasted sesame and s spiced white chocolate fois gras ganache:


Churros al coco con leche-churros with chula de coco espuma and a chocolate cappucino for dipping:


and chocolate and ancho chili flan brulee with liquid kahlua caramel:


And then I let my tapas compatriots go back to their lives of sharing and harmony. I released them from my harsh no-sharing rule. I'm curious to know if they will take my deep-tapas thoughts with them on future journeys. I will have to ask them and find out....


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