During the hours between lunch and dinner, it is common to go searching for a snack to sustain one’s appetite for four to five hours. Sometimes we satisfy our cravings with simple foods such as milk and cookies, fruit, or popcorn.
In Spain, the hours between lunch and dinner are usually far longer, but the midday hunger is welcomed by several small dishes known as tapas.
Tapas are small appetizers in Spanish cuisine that can range from something as simple as aceitunas (olives with a red pepper filling) to something as distinct as chopitos (small squid, battered and fried). Tapas serve the purpose of satisfying midday hunger and as food to enjoy while wine tasting or bar-hopping (a typical activity between work and dinner).
Last year, I made a trip to a Spanish restaurant in Fullerton, California, called Lizarran. At Lizarran, I was able to have a unique food experience in learning that this was no typical afternoon snack. While I was there, I sampled a few tapas, and my favorite was the Albondigas con Tomate (Spanish-style meatballs in tomato sauce). It wasn’t the most adventurous of choices, but the Spanish-style meatballs introduced a flavor different from the typical Italian meatball.
However, I do encourage going out on a limb and trying the tapas that leave your mouth watering, or make you cringe just by the description.
The pulpo a la gallega graciously awaits your arrival.
– Gabrielle Castillo