Archive for the ‘small plates’ Tag

Tapas and More   2 comments


Carrying an umbrella in case of rain is almost a sure sign that it won’t be needed. Upon arriving in Barcelona we worried that the final weekend of our European vacation would be wet and dreary. For the first hour, it was. So, I unpacked the umbrella and the rain in Spain stayed mainly away.

Although, I’m sure we would have enjoyed the sites and food no matter what, the blue skies were an exclamation mark. We marveled at Barcelona’s beauty while also taking the opportunity to sample Catalan cuisine such as tapas, paella and other dishes that expanded our waistlines.

Tapas aren’t only only found in Spain, but that is certainly where they’re an art form. Following a walking tour of the Gothic quarter we wandered into a small tapas bar. Our server spoke wonderful English, which she said she was happy to practice.

We ordered jamon (paper thin slice of cured ham big on salty flavor), tomato bread, a cheese plate and potato balls. There is nothing like Spanish ham (jamon) and as much as I loved it, the potato balls were my favorite. Golf ball-size rounds of mashed potatoes were quickly fried creating a crusty, non-greasy exterior encasing creamy potatoes. Each had dollops of aioli. I could have eaten several platefuls.

chicken tapas

My tapas-sized order of paella at another restaurant was uninspiring. The flavors were fine, but the abundance of shellfish made it difficult to eat. I suppose, in retrospect, that wasn’t a bad thing.

My favorite meal was grilled chicken and French fries topped with roasted pepitos. These mild, savory peppers were smoky. The crispy chicken skin, which I ordinarily would have discarded, provided contrast to the juicy meat.

We enjoyed pastries at breakfast and gelato for afternoon/evening snacks.

We did a lot of walking in Barcelona; we had to!

Molte Pizza   Leave a comment

Mozza pizza-1

It’s obvious before entering the doors that Pizzeria Mozza isn’t a typical neighborhood pizza joint. The valet parking stand gives it away.

The menu is another clue; there’s also the fact that the owners are Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. Not surprisingly, their marks are everywhere: Silverton with the baked goods, and the men with their rustic Italian flair evident in everything, and all of them, of course, in the menu.

Our server would have happily explained the unfamiliar items, but it was fun studying the menu in advance. For example, Arancine alla Bolognese. I will eat almost anything with Bolognese, but it’s nice to know that at Mozza it’s served with rice balls made from creamy risotto, rolled in bread crumbs and fried. The texture is a marriage destined for bliss.

mozza tapas-1

Although I don’t recall the sequence of arrival, each dish seemed to be better than the one before. The Fried Squash Blossoms filled with ricotta looks like an ugly duckling on the plate, but the burst of flavor reveals the literal inner beauty. The Bone Marrow al Forno is rich, beautifully plated, and decadent. It’s served with roasted garlic and toasted bread, and oozes fatty beefy flavor. The Chicken Wings alla Diavola, Prociutto di Parma, and Mozzerella di Bufala, and the Bianca pizza completed our meal. The latter, served with crispy fried sage and sottocenere, is just the kind of upscale pizza associated with valet parking. By the way, sottocenere, is white cheese with truffles.

Mozza marrow-1

Pizzeria Mozza
Four-and-a-half Plates
641 N. Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, Calif.

Small Plates Fill Big Appetites   2 comments

Small plates don’t mean little flavor; and a tapa here a tapa there while din-
ing at Nosh make it impossible to leave hungry. In fact, it’s easy to eat dish
after dish, just because they’re smaller portions and served separately. It’s
also possible my husband and I simply over-ordered.

To start, we selected the tempura Calamari served with tart, spicy dipping
sauce. The menu changes frequently at Nosh, but I was glad to see a long-
standing favorite still available: Roasted Cauliflower with caramelized onions
and cashews, enhanced with fresh basil. We also had the Nosh Burger, Fried
Chicken with Waffle, Housemade Potato Chips, and dessert – I’ll come back
to that.

We overheard our server describe the fried chicken and waffle as a “breakfast-
for-dinner kind of thing,” and then add, “And guys seem to like it more than
women.” Hah! It’s nothing like breakfast, especially since the syrup drizzled
around the plate was flavored with smoked Serrano. As for it being a guy thing,
I’m amazed at sexism in women. I thoroughly enjoyed the combination of an
airy Belgium Waffle with a crispy fried chicken; the honey butter was overkill
though. The burger is a slider on steroids served with wisps of fried onions on
a bun made in-house.

Desserts are exceptionally small: think shot glasses with baby spoons. This is
good and bad. It’s bad because it makes Chocolate Pot de Crème, Crème Brulee,
and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pop seem like controlled substances, and
good because we’d already over-eaten.

Four-and-a-half Plates
121 S. Tejon St.
Colorado Springs, CO