Bruno this week was a big snooze. He reviewed an Italian and a tapas in the ‘burbs, and we were skimming and wondering, why are these so long? And it turns out because in both articles, several paragraphs are repeated! The scary thing is, it was kind of hard to tell.
On the (thorny?) subject of tapas vs. small plates, Bruno writes:
The fact is, there is little or no connection between tapas and small plates. In most instances, small plates are simply appetizers with a higher price tag, while tapas have an identity and long culinary history.
Okay, but this isn’t a helpful distinction. Yes, small plates are pricey appetizers, but the way that’s different from tapas is not simply that one is new and the other is old. Tapas are bar snacks, and any given one is generally homogeneous. By that we mean, a small plate might have three or four elements going on, while a tapas usually has one or two - a bowl of olives, or a plate of chorizo or jamon iberico, or some aioli potatoes. The Spanish equivalent of a bowl of pretzels, improved to its logical conclusion. Of course, no one hews to tradition anymore, so you can’t trust the labels as far as you can throw them.
Moving on, Mike Sula does one of his customary visits to a small- to mid-sized artisanal junk food maker. This week’s is on Katie Das and her Das Caramelini caramels, with flavors like “lavender oil, lemongrass, citrus zest, coffee beans, dried Chinese plum, cardamom, ancho chile powder, star anise, and Szechuan peppercorns.” So caramel is just like ice cream and politicians - a sugary medium into which we mix our hopes and dreams, and then eat the results after dinner.