Parents with kids in college go to visit them, and take them out to dinner. It’s not home cooking, but it’s different than the usual dining hall fare. For my kid, this usually means something called the Mini Chicken Quesadilla. So I thought that checking out the tiny town’s tapas restaurant would be a fun departure! Funky, ethnic, Spanishy!
That show on PBS where Mario Batali and Gwyneth Paltrow traveled through Spain, eating and drinking and being in good moods all the time—it had colored my vision a bit, especially since they went to some world-class tapas place with Michael Stipe. What could go wrong?
On that show, they always enjoyed the most inspired and historically rich wine pairings for everything. This place not only had no liquor license, it offered one beverage: Pepsi. Granted, the menu teased that they carried “Pepsi products,” but, when pressed, our server made it clear that, no, there was Pepsi. Her tone implied that we should have known this somehow, and that all tapas places followed this custom.
HIGHLIGHT: Fabulous bread.
LOWLIGHT: All else pretty dull and yucky. I won’t go into details. Don’t order seafood.
There is one dessert on the menu. For 6.99, you can taste that traditional, creamy-sweet indulgence known as flan. Except that, no, we couldn’t. Which we also should have intuited. So we ordered the substitute dessert, which was equally pricey, but best described by my son’s friend who joined us for the hijinx: “I think it was leftover from someone’s office party.” It was very pink, and was served on pink paper plates, to boot! It was also reminiscent of the strawberry Zinger. Seven-year-old approved.
In retrospect, perhaps I should have taken as an omen the fact that, shortly after we entered the restaurant, a twelve-year-old appeared from behind the kitchen entrance curtain, brandishing a plastic pistol. Next time. For now, I’m chalking this one up to Memorable Dining Experiences in College Town. In the end, it will not soon be forgotten. Or repeated.