Sunday, April 1, 2012

Café Madrid - Dallas, TX

Tapas, tapas, tapas, Spanish tapas! For our readers who not sure what tapas are, let us show you a new world of amazing eats! For the most part, “tapas” now simply means snack or small plates with small portions. Restaurants have tapas for patrons in order to sample several delectable appetizer-size dishes of their choice. This way everyone can taste entrée samples to ensure a completely satisfactory eating experience. Tapas can be served cold or hot, just depends on the dish and the culture serving the plates. The most authentic ordering of tapas comes straight from the original--the land of España. In Spain, dinner is customarily served between the hours and 9pm and 11pm which means there is plenty of time to snack while you relax after your hard day of work. So Spaniards go tapas hopping! Tapas encourage socializing for those not focused on a full meal, and some cultures even stand while eating so it's easier to move around and talk. Instead of happy hour, the Spanish have tapas hour!
4501 Travis St.
Dallas, TX 75205
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The origin of "tapas" from old world Spain is derived from the verb "tapar", which means "to cover", and Andalucían drinkers would use pieces of meat or bread to cover their drinks in between sips. And of course, the more they drank, the hungrier they got, so tavern owners began to create dishes to satisfy their patrons. This has evolved over the years with the integration of other cultures farming methods, crops, and spices. Now many restaurants in Spain offer a complimentary tapa with your drink order or have a buffet-style serving of different appetizer options that you serve yourself. From that original slice of bread used to cover a drink of sherry, to the ever-changing tapa cuisine of today, the century-old tradition still stands and has become a defining piece of the Spanish culture.

But don't worry Dallas, you won't have outrun the bulls in Pamplona to try this fun meal, LYD has got the joint for you--Cafe Madrid in Uptown Dallas! Café Madrid keeps that Spanish tradition alive through their variety of tapas, a full wine bar, freshly made sangria, authentic cheeses, and homemade bread. Café Madrid is Dallas’s original Spanish restaurant, serving up dishes for 22 years in their cozy, intimate, atmosphere of a real Madrid cafe come to life. Walk on in and start with some wine or fresh Sangria made daily, or perhaps a Spanish cerveza for a treat! Do not let the large menu seem daunting; start with each designated section and don't be afraid to ask the helpful staff for assistance or questions about the dishes. You can also skip the tapas if you're particularly ravishing, and order the Paella as a full-size entrée. Cafe Madrid has a nice selection of cheese samplers to get your meal started. When the menu reads queso, do not think typical Mexican melted cheese dip, as that is not the case. Queso in this sense just means high class cheese, in any flavor, shape, and sharpness. Cafe Madrid also does an excellent job describing their menu options so diners know what they are about to eat in a language they can understand. Café Madrid offers a selection for vegetarians, meat eaters, fish connoisseurs, cheese snobs, bread lovers, fruit aficionados, etc.; there is something here for any eater!

Below is a list of a few tapas that LYD recommends:

• Croquetas de Manchego y Espinacas (cheese and spinach croquettes) are lightly fried, bite-size, savory pastries stuffed with a warm, creamy mixture of salty Manchego cheese and fresh cooked spinach. Perfectly flaky little morsels of deliciousness.

• Píquelo Relleno Con Queso de Cabra (piquillo peppers filled with goat cheese) is the Spaniards' play on stuffed peppers. They are tiny marinated red peppers, with a touch of spice, filled with soft goat cheese and browned in hot olive oil. A salty addition to your tapas selections.

• Tortilla Española is one of the most popular Spanish tapas with potatoes fried in exquisite olive oil, then mixed with eggs, chopped onions, and formed into a deep dish omelet! Those Spaniards really know how to make an omelet!

• Queso Frito con Cebolla y Miel (fried cheese with onions and honey) is the ultimate dish for that fried cheese craving. We are cheese’s biggest fan so this tapa was an LYD favorite! The chef fries up some local goat cheese with caramelized onions and drizzled with honey over the fondue. Sweet, salty, savory, to-die-for goodness all in one bite!

• Salmón a La Plancha (grilled salmon, hearts of palm, and shaved fennel) is a delightfully fresh grilled salmon tapa. The hearts of palm is considered a delicacy in Spain, derived from--you guessed it--the palm tree. The tree’s inner core is roasted to tender while the fennel adds a hint of sweetness to the perfectly cooked salmon.

• Vieiras al Romesco (seared sea scallops with romesco sauce) is another highly recommended LYD dish. The billowy tender scallops are sautéed in butter to create a crisp outer layer that will melt in your mouth with every bite--just delectable! Romesco sauce is traditionally from Catalonia, Spain, and is a cooked topping with hearty nuts, roasted garlic, olive oil, roasted tomato, red wine vinegar, and onions freshening up your seafood, poultry, or vegetable entree. This dish should be the centerpiece for the night!

• Queso San Simon (cow’s milk cheese from Galicia) that is not cooked, but then molded into the shape of a pear. A creamy dish that pairs well with hearty breads and is washed down well with your glass of Sangria!

• Rabo de Toro (Oxtail Stew) made from the traditional recipe of Córdoba. This ain’t no regular Oxtail Stew! The tender meat melts into the silky smooth broth with haricot beans, onions, tomatoes, and loads of smashed garlic cooked for hours until delicious.

• Paella is Spain’s most famous food import and for good reason, it is a powerfully filling dish that originated in Valencia as field workers would include any and everything left over to cook with saffron rice over a wood fire. The Spanish usually ate this filling meal at lunch and straight from the pan. Nowadays, Paella is made in every inch of the country and every family makes theirs a little different. Cafe Madrid describes theirs as a colorful mixture of saffron rice, chicken, pork, clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops, and vegetables. Every forkful will keep you coming back for more! It’s the perfect dish for sharing and with just the right amount of flavor and protein to allow those drinks and conversation flowing. Paella is a staple dish for most authentic Spanish cookeries and Cafe Madrid’s does not disappoint.

Tonight you can dine in España! The food is a spectacular blend of seafood and spices, and Cafe Madrid serves it up right with plenty of different ways to sample the country’s finest flair. Each person can eat about 3 or 4 different tapas to make a meal of it. Who doesn’t love appetizers as your entree? It’s like getting to sample four different entrees at once, which is a very nice feature when you’re visiting a restaurant that offers up so many delicious creations.

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