On Thursday we drove out to Pacific Beach for a Tapena's meetup at Costa Brava, not knowing what to expect. What we found was a bustling restaurant, their outdoor patio filled with chattering patrons. The wonderful Ruben and Ghali, part of the restaurant waitstaff, were pouring samples of Tapena wines for tasting.
Dennis and I were able to try six of them, introduced by number only. I liked #2 the best, which turned out to be Gloria Ferrer Va De Vi, a sparkling wine made of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with just a trace of Muscat. Dennis enjoyed #6, which was Tapena Garnacha, a red wine. The others included #1 Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut, #3 Tapena Rose, #4 Tapena Verdejo and #5 Tapena Tempranillo. The Tapena wines are part of the Ferrer family. We also met with Janet and Cindy from Tapena's Wines to hear about their company and what the culture of Spain was like. It makes you want to move to SPAIN to enjoy the good life (or live it out here). Their website also has some fun facts about Spanish culture if you are interested!
Costa Brava restaurant is the perfect example of Spanish culture. The waiters were more intimate, as if talking to close friends or family and really made the restaurant feel personal. It definitely gave us a craving to visit Spain for future travels!
We were super excited when the tapas came out for sampling:
Jamon Serrano (Serrano Ham)
Apparently this thinly sliced dry cured tapa is peeled from the plate, sometimes rolled up, and can be fed from above like grapes to a greek god/goddess. How fun and tasty!
Caracoles al Alioli (Aioli Escargo)
We're still a little new to escargo so hopefully we'll develope a taste for this...
Pinchitos Morunos (Lamb Skewers)
These could have been a little more tender but it was still a nice dish to try.
Potatas a la Brava (Spicy Potatoes)
Usually when you get potatoes it is just filler food but Dennis thought these potatoes are addictive! These have a really nice crispness and hot steamy insides, plus the sauce itself was not so crazy rich mayo based but had subtle spice to it. You can just keep eating it constantly.. until they are ALL GONE!
We couldn't remember the name of this one but there are only three chorizo appetizers on the menu so just pick one or describe to the waiter for these sliced minis. These were so easy to pop into the mouth and the sear on most of these made the taste stand out. We just might have to order this every time we come!
Queso Manchego (Manchego Cheese)
It's a nice firm cheese that you can eat by itself and doesn't require companions like bread.
Pulpo a la Vinagreta (Marinated Octopus)
This one was surprisingly not so chewy as most octopus that we've tasted and left us with a better impression of what could be done with this type of seafood!
We also tried the Champinones a la Vinagreta (marinated mushrooms) which were cute as a button (mushroom), a soft kind of firm and fresh simple taste. No picture though, sorry!
These tapas range between 3.95 to 12.50 each and were delightful! We can see why the restaurant gets so busy and even the people we met at the meetup raved about how they loved coming here often. I think we'll have to come out again for wines and tapas with some of our friends for a nice evening out!