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Sunday, September 12, 2010

TAPAS























There isn't anything that I enjoy more than great company and delicious food. Sunday dinner as a child was hours spent around the dining room table with cousins, chatting and eating all afternoon. It seems that now, people are so rushed when they go to restaurants, or dining at home. Soccer or baseball games mean either a late night dinner, or a "grab and go" dinner. Yes, I had some days like that when my sons were younger. My youngest still prefers the grab and go quick meals in front of the computer, but my oldest will linger at the table. Hopefully, that will change as youngest gets older. What's wrong with hearing a story for the 100th time???

Last weekend, my cousin told me about his favorite restaurant, Eclipse di Luna, located in Atlanta. Since there are very few foods that I dislike, I told him I was game for anything unless it involved liver! His favorite restaurant is a Tapas restaurant. We met at 8:15 and chatted until our 8:30 reservation time. The restaurant was huge, with a large outdoor patio if one chose to dine outside (I've learned that "al fresco" isn't used in Italy for dining outside.... but that's another story in of itself).

The menu was vast with two sides: one side for the carnivores who like meat, pork, fish, etc... and the other side for vegetarian meals. I only eat meat about 3 times a week as summertime brings on cooler salads, fish and lighter meals. On this evening, we went "whole hog" and tried several things. After you see the list, please don't go thinking that I have a huge appetite. I'll go ahead and let you know that I have a huge appetite and can eat and eat and eat and eat!! The servings were small plates of items. Here is what we had:

Fried calamari with fresh tomatoes, onions in a sauce of vinegar and a "kick" of something (cayenne?).

A plate of 7 different kinds of Spanish cheeses with honey in one of the sections. Cheese and honey? Believe me, it works!!

Different marinated olives served with oven baked whole almonds. These were the best olives I've ever eaten. So delicious...

My cousin also ordered the skewered chicken and pork ribs which he graciously shared with me.

Hearty, crusty, country bread with an olive oil dipping sauce.

You would think that would be enough to last a week wouldn't you? Not for my cousin and I. Nope, we HAD to have dessert too. Unfortunately, we couldn't decide, so we shared TWO desserts!! Flan with caramel and a tres leches cake. His mom makes the best flan in the world, but this was a mighty close second. I had never had tres leches cake before, and I will say that it is my "new" favorite cake of the month! I've never had a cake that was so moist and delicious.

Being a coffee drinker, I had to have an espresso coffee to compliment the sweet desserts. The coffee was served with a piece of lemon zest, which I twisted to get out a bit of essential oil, and put in the coffee. No sugar needed as the desserts were so sweet. The coffee was as smooth as velvet (if that can be defined for a coffee). Not bitter in the least, but rich with flavor and just a wonderful accompaniment to the dessert.

Our 8:30 arrival time seemed so long ago...and it was!! We looked at our watch and discovered that it was 11:45! Yes, there were many other tables that had sat there just as long as we had; eating plates and plates of tapas and listening to the live Latin music. It was a night I will always remember. I will return with friends, family, and anyone else that wants to give Tapas a try. You won't be disappointed! I'm ready to go back today.

Labels

Ingredients I must have in my kitchen (It's a long list, but I try and have these items on hand)

  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cheese
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh Bread
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Greek Oregano
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Lemon ( At least 3 or 4 ALWAYS)
  • Peppers (Wax, Jalapeno, banana)
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Regular Olive Oil
  • Rice
  • Salad Ingredients
  • Sea Salt
  • Spanish Olives
  • White Balsamic Vinegar
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