E&M: FunFoodThursday: Tapas!!!

2 11 2009

wouldn’t ya know it… little james went to spain and now she wants to talk about ¡¡~TAPAS~!! [note: i’ve included pictures of my random tapa experience throughout. don’t mind me.]sangria + fun fish things on toast!i knew tapas were big over there, especially in the town of sevilla, where i spent my first week. what i didn’t realize was just how awesome the culture of tapas was. one of the great things about doing a language school over there was the optional ‘culture classes’ we had every day. these were classes we had the hour before our actually language classes where we did something culturally related; for instance, worked on pronunciation or read poems or something like that. well, the last day of culture class we learned all about the glory of TAPAS. there’s actually quite a history to it. those of us who live in the states know what tapas are, know which restaurants have them, know how tiny they can be, and know that they go reallllly well with a mojito or caipiriñha. which, at this point, i must stop and say: dearest cachaça, i forgot how much i loved you. i have rekindled my love with caipiriñhas and will be seeing you again very, very soon.

caipirinha
caipirinha

so, back to my story. apparently, tapas come from the spanish verb tapar, which means ‘to cover.’ back in the day, when españoles would go out for a drink, they would use little pieces of bread or meat (from whatever was on the table) to cover their wine or beer glasses to keep flies out of their drinks. brilliant, right? eventually these little pieces of bread got fancier and got toppings and evolved into the glorious array of tapas that we’re familiar (or not-s0-familiar) with today. wikipedia has a wonderful little article on the subject as well, if you want to know more…

croquettes (usually with ham & cheese... like a hammy mozzarella cheese thingy)
croquettes… usually with ham & cheese (like a hammy mozzarella cheese stick… kindof…)

another thing about tapas here in the states: here, we know which restaurants to go to, and we go there specifically to eat tapas, and eat a full meal of them, right? places such as loca luna, eclipse de luna, and noche are quite popular for their tapas cuisine in atlanta, and when we go, it’s for dinner… you know, the whole meal. in españa, tapas is a normal part of daily life, and the eating of such yummies occurs only during a certain time of day. here’s how it goes over there: after work, or after school, a group of, let’s say, five friends or co-workers want to go out for a little something. it’s around 4 or 5 in the afternoon. they pick a spot, usually one of many in a certain square or on a certain street. one person buys a round of drinks and tapas for the group… they each may pick one tapa and everyone shares everything. just one round. then they move on to the next bar. the next person buys a round of drinks and tapas and they all share. and so on, so that each person ends up buying a round at a different place. how awesome is that?! and that’s not even dinner. that’s late afternoon. people in spain don’t even eat dinner til 10 or 11 at night 🙂 i love that.

mussels
mussels

another thing– no one sits down for a formal tapas session. usually as you move from bar to bar, you stand up; either at the bar, or at a table with barstools. everyone all together. just having fun and eating and drinking. sounds like a *fabulous* way to spend an afternoon, to me… i wish we had something similar here. i have no problem going to a place and ordering a bunch of tapas for a table and sharing, but like i said, that makes it a meal. and that can be kind of expensive, depending on where you go. at really good, local places in spain, tapas are pretty cheap… between 1-3€ for the cheap ones. of course, in touristy places they can reach the 7-8€ range, but i tried to avoid those.

yums!!!!
yums!!!

while i was in spain, i tended to stick with tapas i recognized, but they had some pretty interesting ones. plates of olives, fried seafood (calamari was verrrrry popular there, and talk about massive!! calamari rings there are as big as the onion rings we eat here at home. loved it!), mussels, ceviche, different types of ham and other cured meats, manchego & other types of cheese, empanadas (favorite!!), and many other things. those were just the ones i found to be favorites. not to mention the bottomless sangria, cerveza, vinto tinto (red wine), and other such libatons. most places, during tapas time, you could get cervezas for 1€. can’t beat that. i actually miss it; i could survive off tapas and sangria if i had to… *sigh* we should all get together and make a huge tapas place with cheap drinks and food. who’s with me? 🙂

crazy big calamari!
crazy big calamari!

now i’m hungry. let me go reminisce about my trip and start getting my pictures together. see y’all next week for TakeOnlyWhatYouNeed.

peace,
james

IMG_1159
that’s me!
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