Come On, Let’s Do Tapas!

(This post is long because it has lots of photos, lots of food — so if you’re busy right now, wait to read it till later, and then dive in!)

In Spain, people don’t even THINK about sitting down to eat until after 9 pm. Restaurants don’t begin to fill up until 10 and 11 in the evening. I would perish of hunger if I did that —

Actually Spanish people get hungry earlier too. They just don’t have dinner until really late. In the meantime they go out to their favorite bars for wine and tapas. What are tapas? They’re what we’d call snacks, or finger food, or canapés, little tidbits ranging from the simple, olives and almonds, to elaborate concoctions of meats and vegetables and sauces, but always in small raciones, or portions. Don’t want to spoil the appetite for the big dinner! At lunchtime also people often take the opportunity to check in at a favorite tapas bar for a few bites to tide them over until the midday meal.

(Which won’t prevent them from doing tapas again later. What is perhaps the most amazing thing about this glorious festival of eating is that Spanish people in general are not only not fat, they are lean and fit. It must be genetics. Or something in the water.)

One of the best restaurants in Northampton is — you were waiting for this, weren’t you? — is the tapas wine bar called Ibiza. We just discovered it last month and have been there twice since:

We went with granddaughter and boyfriend, a good thing to do, not just because the young people are fun to be with, but with four people you can order twice as many tapas and get to taste them all! Tapas are for sharing. So I’d like to share these with you:

Jamon Serrano: Imported Serrano Ham from Spain

Tortilla de Patatas y Chorizo:  Spanish potato and onion omelette with chorizo sausage

Esparragos a la Plancha:  grilled green asparagus with a Cabrales blue cheese sauce

Albondigas de la Abuela: Spanish veal and pork meatballs with potato, pepper, white wine and saffron broth


Lomo de Cerdo Embuchado:  Marinated and grilled pork loin with Tetilla cheese, black olive, scallion, tomato and smoked Spanish paprika oil over Galician toast

Pimientos del Piquillo:  Wood roasted piquillo peppers stuffed with oxtail

Costilla: Braised short ribs in a caramelized garlic and oatmeal beer sauce with smoked bacon potato purèe

Paquetitos de Callos con Chorizo y Garbanzos:  Raviolis of chorizo, chickpeas, and tripe, with roasted red dry bell pepper sauce


Croquetas de Chocolate: Chocolate and almond croquettes with coconut foam and lemon gelatin

Torrija de Queso:  Bread pudding with fresh cheese, dulce de leche ice cream and sweet and sour strawberry sauce

Frankly just looking at the photos makes me feel calories settling in on my hips but it was WONDERFUL. And if any of you are ever in Northampton, besides parking in the unique parking garage, and visiting the Forbes Library, and strolling through Look Park (see lots of previous posts), we can go together to Ibiza and pig out on tapas. 

Let’s toast to the possibility with a favorite Spanish toast: Salud y pesetas y amor, y el tiempo para gustarlos!

And if your Spanish is a little rusty: Good health and money and love, and plenty of time to enjoy them!

This entry was posted in Cooking, Dessert, Food and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Come On, Let’s Do Tapas!

  1. Gilly Gee says:

    Divine, so beautifully presented.

  2. Looks delicious, like the ‘real thing.’ Makes me hungry so I’m ready to visit the Forbes library and taste.

    • Touch2Touch says:

      If you’re back from the miraculous Italian viaggio, come one over and do tapas with us —
      Ibiza opens at 5 in the evening — (and you can always stay at our non-profit B&B)

  3. reb says:

    What a feast … not only for the taste buds but for the eye too!

  4. They look amazing! And what a great variety of dishes. How do the Spanish move on to dinner? I would be stuffed from eating these 🙂

    • Touch2Touch says:

      Well, that is a very good question. Answer: I don’t know.
      When we were in Spain and went to tapear with a friend (they really do have the verb) we had a glass of wine and three or four tapas at each bar, not a whole grand parade like this one. But of course we had a real dinner later!!!!! Whereas at Ibiza in the USA (at 7 pm) this WAS our dinner.
      And another good question: how do they NOT get fat!!!!!!!

  5. Pauline says:

    “Salud y pesetas y amor, y el tiempo para gustarlos!” I’ll eat to that!

  6. What gorgeous displays, and OMG! Coconut foam! Ahhhhhh!
    (eloquently up, Gemma 😀 )

    • Touch2Touch says:

      What really got me (I’m not sure I actually TASTED the coconut foam becuz the oozing molten chocolate centers riveted my taste buds) — was tiny cubes of lemon jello implanted in the “croquettes” — amazing.

  7. wow, these look scrumptious.Had no idea what Tapas was!

  8. My mouth is watering! Which was your favorite? Could you pick just one?

    • Touch2Touch says:

      Revisiting the tapas, pleasant assignment.
      I would not order the jamon serrano again because I can buy serrano myself; or the tortilla necessarily, because I can make my own. Asparagus ditto.
      When it comes to the rest, it’s tough! All delicious. Maybe Grandmother’s Meatballs, a real favorite, and the chocolate croquettes. (Have to be able to pick one sweet and one savory 😉

  9. Stef says:

    With all of the eating Spanish people seem to do, when do they sleep?! 😉 [I’ll have to ask Jonathan that one…]

    The food looks AMAZING! You are a lucky gal to live in such a well-rounded locale.

    • Touch2Touch says:

      When I asked my Catalan friend that question, he looked thoughtful, and concluded after a while that they DON’T sleep.

      As for well-rounded — we consider Ibiza our reward for such a dearth of other good ethnic eateries, especially Chinese, our very favorite. Don’t ask! I’m reduced to cooking my own, a very poor substitute.

  10. A chef once told me, “First you eat with your nose. Then you eat with your eyes. Lastly, you will eat with your mouth.” Well, you have definitely fed me with my eyes displaying these wonderful pictures. Now if only I could taste it! It looks so delicious!

    • Touch2Touch says:

      The Internet is wonderful, but it hasn’t quite passed the taste test yet!
      (I really like this chef’s description, it adds a lot to the eating experience —)

  11. iaggelidaki says:

    I ‘m drooling……….!

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