Simply put, a Tapas Night is a unique opportunity to indulge in a WHOLE lot of food under the guise of what the Spaniards call a "Tapas Night."
But what the hell is a tapas night, anyway? Well, some folklore stories would suggest that tapas originated in the outdoor bars of medieval Spain where patrons would cover their drinks with small plates (a.k.a. "tapas" which literally means "covers") in order to avoid flies from landing in their drinks. That's the moment when an ingenious chef decided to put some food on these "tapas", which could then be sold to his 'well-hydrated' patrons.
Others would have you believe that there was a more intentional purpose for these little dishes, but I couldn’t find much evidence to support that theory. Today, tapas have evolved considerably. For those with undecisive palettes who want to experience a little bit of everything on the menu, well, this is as euphoric as a food experience gets.
At the core, what defines a Tapas Night is its intrinsic fun and carefree approach. Sweet dishes are often served in between savory ones. Hot and cold tapas take turns in the lineup. There are no rules. And there are no "rights" or "wrongs." Unlike the rigorous French cuisine that requires a consistently precise execution every time, or the years of experience that
it takes an Italian Sfoglino (psst... that's a pasta maker) to master the right structure and elasticity of hand-rolled pasta, the laid-back Spaniard approach of serving dinner in small plates welcomes the pure enjoyment of sitting at the table to eat a lot of different kinds of food; albeit in small quantities.
To restrict oneself to the traditional norm of how food should be served is simply blasphemous at a Tapas Night. So, forget what you know, throw caution to the wind, pick up whatever fork is closest to you, and as they say in Spain,"buen provecho!”
SAMPLE TAPAS NIGHT MENU
Ajilimojili Roasted garlic and red pepper hummus
Patatas Bravas con Ajo
Fried potatoes with garlic aioli
Pinchitos de Tomate y Sandia
Tomato and watermelon skewers
Croquetas de Jamon y Pollo
Ham and chicken croquettes
Aceitunas al Aceite Naranja
Olives in orange-infused oil
Pollo Español al Fuego Lento
Slow-cooked Spanish braised chicken
Queso de Cabra Frito
Fried goat cheese
Guiso de Verduras de Otoño
Fall vegetable stew
Sarten de Chorizo y Patatas
Chorizo and potato skillet
Langosta con Clementinas
Clementine and lobster salad
Pan con Chocolate y Aceite Bread with Chocolate and Olive Oil