For lunch the other day, a co-worker of mine suggested a spot in Five Points, La Mesa Grill and Cantina. Thinking I was agreeing to Mexican food, I was happy to go….
After our delicious endeavor, I thought the benefits of such small plates should be pointed out.
1) Eat as much (or as little) as you want: this is perfect for those slight girls who often insist on ‘just a salad,’ or hearty boys who might order 4 plates. It’s flexible!
2) Variety: I often choose dishes based on the variety I see on my plate; with tapas, you can actually choose and design that variety!
3) Experience new things without ruining your entire plate: I regularly want to try new things, but don’t want to waste an entire meal (or the money spent on that meal) on something that might be disastrous. Tapas restaurants enable you to try new as well as tried and true dishes. It can be a safety net.
4) Picking and choosing everything you want: If there seems to be an interesting entrée, but the side items that accompany such dishes look …well… unappetizing, I am often deterred. Or vice versa. I have been known to order dishes based solely upon mashed potatoes accompanying them. The art of tapas enables you to design your perfect meal. That option is a sure hit.
For future cocktail parties (and to impress dates), the history of tapas dishes should be noted as well. It was rumored that King Alfonso the Wise was ill and began eating small dishes, rather than large meals, during his recovery. Later, he ordered such small dishes be served with alcohol to legitimize drinking. Tapas eventually evolved into a practical measure—while dinking sherry, pieces of bread were used to cover glasses in-between sips to avert the flies (the word ‘tapas’ actually drives from the Spanish work ‘to cover’). Now, the ‘tapas tradition’ has sensible uses again. In European culture, dinner is often served after 9 or 10 PM, and people often go out and socialize at the end of the day. Tapas dishes serve as both as some thing to hold you over until dinner and a way to soak up alcohol, since dinner is so late.
Although this is not meant to be a restaurant review, I will note that we tried the Black Bean Hummus w/ Sweet Corn Relish, Spinach Con Queso with Pico de Gallo, Chorizo & Queso Empanadillas and the Jalapeno Mac and Cheese at La Mesa Grill and Cantina. All were fantastic.
Where to Find Tapas Bars in
Sol Y Luna
The Wine Loft