Tapas and Tempranillo
In 2013 I made a business trip to Barcelona. It was an extremely short trip, but it was long enough for me to fall in love with the city, its people, and its food. Barcelona was the first place that I was introduced to tapas or small plate food. If you are unfamiliar to the concept it is pretty simply, the table orders a bunch of food, you share it and talk and drink, if you run out of food or things to talk about, you order more food and the cycle continues. It wasn’t uncommon for us to sit and eat for hours. Some of my most enjoyable eating experiences happened on that trip.
I tell you that story to preface the next. I was feeling nostalgic about Barcelona so we jumped on the internet to find a local tapas place. We found a relatively new, local restaurant called Casa Roja in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Casa Roja not only specializes in tapas but also in wines from Spain and Latin America (Chile and Argentina). I’m a pretty big Cab and Zin drinker, but decided that since we were on a little evening adventure I’d step out of my comfort zone.
I started the evening with a Piedra Negra Pinot Grigio, from Argentina. I have to admit on a warm night the chilled Pinot Grigio was pretty great. It was exceptionally light, but very flavorful. It balanced tropical notes with crisp apple and pear, and had a nice mild acidity that kept it fresh. It was a fun wine that started a fun night of eating.
Round one of tapas
- Chorizo stuffed peppadew peppers
- Croquetas of potato, ham, and manchego cheese
- Charred octopus with citrus and paprika (this one was way outside my comfort zone and tasty).
Next up for wine, I enjoyed a Marque Vargas Crianza Tempranillo, from Spain. If you aren’t familiar with a tempranillo grape it is a varietal that originated in Spain. It can often times have a leathery/earthiness mixed with a cherry or plum fruit taste. This one had an earthy aroma, but it was a nice medium to light body that mixed cherries (maybe even a cranberry tartness) with a ripe red apple flavor. Exceptionally drinkable wine, and it paired pretty nicely with our second course of tapas.
Round two of tapas
- Patatas Bravas – Spicy fried potatoes with paprika aioli
- Mussels with chorizo, white wine, and parsley (these were pretty awesome)
- Smoked artichoke and chicken flat bread
I can honestly say that everything I enjoyed about my meals in Barcelona I found in my own backyard; the food, the wine, the conversation, the amazing company, you name it, it checked off all the boxes.
It goes to show you travel doesn’t always need to be long epic trips, sometimes it can be quick 30 minute car rides to towns you’ve never experienced and restaurants you’ve never eaten at before.
Regardless, enjoy the adventure!
I’ve included a link Casa Roja, I’m a big supporter of eating local. If you get a chance take some friends enjoy the food and enjoy each others company, and don’t forget about the wine!