Tired of the Same Old Night Out?
People typically go visit one restaurant and indulge in several courses over one or two hours. Are you looking for something more fun and adventurous for your evening? Try tapas hopping! It’s a traditional pastime in Spain. Consider spending an evening out testing local delicacies from three or four restaurants in one night in Portland, Oregon, now rated one of the top three food cities in America. To begin your evening, I recommend Oba as a first stop. The easy listening jazz music drifts through the windows of the orange-stuccoed building inviting you inside. Opening the door, the scent of cumin and chili envelop you as you step in off the street.
The boisterous open bar is alive with busy waiters, giving the impression you have just arrived at a party. As you take a seat on a tall bar stool, a friendly bartender asks, “What can I get you?” The prickly pear mojitos and habanero mango martinis are spectacular. When the brightly colored drinks arrive, you are instantly transported to another place and time. Your shoulders relax and you begin to breathe slower as you sip on the sweet and tangy or spicy and sweet cocktails.
You and your friend peruse the happy hour menu, and your mouth waters simply thinking about what’s next. Tapas hopping is always a tasty adventure. Sharing several plates throughout the evening at a few different restaurants allows you to savor sweet, salty, familiar and undiscovered dishes.
Oba is a Latin fusion restaurant offering an array of delicious and beautiful items to devour– www.obarestaurant.com. The vote is cast and you agree on trying the Yucatan arepas and Empanada de Res. The arepas arrive–two lovely disks of corn cake topped with braised pork shoulder marinated in citrus-achiote. The meat is tossed with habanero
mojo and cilantro adobo and crowned with a touch of cabbage and pickled onion. The taste is a mix of spicy, sweet and savory. The mojo marinade and adobo give the dish a bite while the corn cake offers a touch of sweetness. The cabbage brings a crunch, and the savory meat melts in your mouth. The pickled onion tops off the dish with perfection, adding a speck of acidity. Moments later the empanada arrives.
A single empanada lies naked on the plate adorned solely with a lime and dipping sauce contained in a small white bowl. Forced to slice the empanada in half for sharing, you cut through the crisp corn pastry. The braised beef and Oaxaca cheese ooze onto the plate. You refill your half and dip the corner into the huacatay-chipotle creama and take a bite. The combination of crunch, perfectly seasoned beef, gooey cheese and slightly spicy creama explode in your mouth.
Immediately you are transported to a warm Latin country, listening to Spanish conversations. As you relax and enjoy your cocktail, you realize you have left the cold and rain of Portland and arrived in paradise. This beautiful moment is surpassed only by the thought that this is just the first stop in your evening of tapas hopping. Why not try Italian or French food? You have at least two more places to explore. Where will they take you? I recommend walking to www.piattinopdx.com where you can design your own decadent cheese and salumi plate and drink a luscious pistachio martini. The Diva or fig martinis with the grilled corn are excellent choices at www.bluehouronline.com. Don’t repeat the same old night out. Grab your significant other, or a small group of friends, and give tapas hopping a try tonight!