Wonderful Tapas…

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I have run out of superlatives to describe the plate upon plate of tapas that we all enjoyed over the course of our week in Madrid. There is something so convivial about the concept of pinchos/tapas, drinks and friends that seems so much more civilized than just having a beer at a bar. On our last evening in Madrid, we were able to catch up with some friends and diplomats who were once posted to Manila, and with whom we enjoyed many a meal over the years. Despite all of the technological advances and Facebook, YM, etc., I am still old-fashioned in that real FACE TIME is more appealing, and seeing old friends, even if only occasionally, is always worth the effort. Their kids were classmates of the Teen, so with four adults and four teens, we headed to a tapas bar not far from our hotel.

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We had a spectacular plate of fresh anchovies, photo up top, pale and subtlely flavored served with salty potato chips and even saltier olives. Tapas are salty because they taste good that way, but more importantly, because they encourage you to drink more! Our friends also ordered a dish of cured beef, Cecina I think it was called. Healthier than jamon, it was also denser but also incredibly flavorful. A pleasant alternative, but I guess I am more used to the jamons…

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This dish of canned sardine fillets was also gorgeous and utterly delicious, very salty but the solution was to order another beer. :) After these tapas, we headed to a fairly popular restaurant (can’t recall the name) nearby for dinner and we dined on rabo de toro or oxtail stew where only the meat was shredded and served in an incredibly dense wine-based sauce (it was spectacular!), steaks, octopus, fish, etc. A fitting last meal with friends before we headed to Morocco.

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Back at home several weeks later, we decided to have a Spanish themed dinner so that’s why I made the gazpacho the other day, the potato omelette, and here a selection of tapas that we put together. We sat around the television watching a CSI episode and had a relaxed meal at home for just the three of us…

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Some cubes of potato omelette, thinly sliced prosciutto (not Spanish, but the closest we had in the fridge!), spicy chorizos, and not in the photo, some local tawilis in olive oil that were particularly good, almost like the bottled sardines in Spain… Several kinds of olives, some roasted peppers, artichokes, manchego cheese…

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Chilled bowls of gazpacho, lots of bread on the side…

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And some hastily made gambas with lots of garlic. Yum.

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24 Responses

  1. hi marketman! your top picture reminds me soo much of the boquerones that my aunts make when we have parties in bacolod. YUM! we eat it on top of saltine crackers.

    they make it by marinating fresh anchovies in lemon juice and a little salt for 2 hours, similar to a ceviche. then rinses it well, and puts new lemon juice to the fish, with fresh garlic, salt and pepper and good quality olive oil. :D

  2. Lovely spread especially my favourites, the fresh anchovies and gambas! I love the teracotta bowls,too!

    Have a good day,MM! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi MM,
    Never got to thank you for the wonderful tip of brining shrimp before frying ’em up into gambas. Best cooking tip I have received in years!
    Cheers!

  4. Your friends must have gathered you are already too well acquainted with jamon iberico that’s why they ordered cecina for a change. It is similar to bresaola. Both are slow dry cured and aged beef but either can be made from horse meat in which case they can be regarded as fast food.

  5. quiapo, yes, you could be right… how nice to see such delicious vittles could be GOOD for you…heehee. Footloose, you are correct, they had inquired into our recent meals and decided we needed to try the cecina. It was good to try it. F, yes, the brining makes a big difference. linda, how’s the weather down under, mid-winter? thea, yes, they are very similar to the ones in bacolod.

  6. Some family friends of my lola included this passionate Galician woman married to a batangueno who loved to cook. We usually started off with appetizers of ham, salami, olives, anchovies, cheese, probably some jam and crackers thrown in – and she would demonstrate which paired with what. Then came dinner.A potato and meat dish, bacalao, seafood, paella – and once an egg dish wherein only eggs and mayonaise were used. She would cook so well that diners in Spain came off as bland. Whenever I left, I felt like i was swimming in olive oil, olives, and tomatoes

  7. MM, you mentioned octopus. I heard some restaurants in Spain have already taken octopus out of their menu – in honor of Paul. Viva Espana!

  8. Hi Marketmanila,

    We’re planning to have the 2010 FIFA World Cup theme for our organization’s celebration. Can you recommend caterer/restaurants which we can tap?

    Thanks in advance for your help! :)

  9. was there any connection between our pulutan to Spanish tapas? looks like Filipinos love for pulutan came from spaniards

  10. white anchovies—boquerones —are the best! you can buy them here by the pound.

  11. Good living, only if more of our kababayans would see it the way you see it. Then it’ll be a better Philippines, for your taste will make them better, or wanna do better in life. How else could they afford it hehehehehe.
    Salud! MM. Un gran saludo desde Norte California!

  12. Yes, it’s mid-winter here and we’ve been having lots of sinigang,nilaga,munggo,hearty and chunky soups served with country bread rolls,vietnamese pho and roast dinners. We’re averaging 14 degrees with rainy days,but I love it! Not bad for mediterranean Adelaide!

  13. How lovely to recreate good food. Best place you can have it… at home, no scrimping on ingredients, kick off your shoes and just enjoy the meal with your loved ones!

  14. hi mm, footloose, quiapo, just got back from my summer break, and this post and your comments make me miss the lomo iberico de belota which i got addicted to during this trip. tried some from the deli in the food halls of harrods near that sushi bar manned by filipinos, and couldnt stop returning after that first encounter. even resorted to skipping meals only to have these (kinda expensive for me at 140 quid per kilo) and must have gained 7 pounds in the end. would you know where to find the lomo locally?

  15. franco, try Terry’s Selection on Pasong Tamo or I think they also have a store at the Podium in Pasig for the iberico de bellota.

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