Thirteen years is a long time. Thirteen years being married to the same person is even longer. Yet, the time moves like a bullet surging out of the chamber of a gun. One day the vows spill forth from our lips and the next – thousands of days have passed, friends have been made and have gone, children have been conceived, born, and grown, and loved ones have died. Thirteen years is indeed a long time, yet still is not long enough. This is why we celebrate these momentous days – to mark progress and to stop, think, remember, and welcome the future.

Cafe SevillaThis evening, my wife, Kimberly, and I decided to celebrate this day by going on a date alone. Alone is the key word in that last sentence. In a house with two kids and a sister filling our abode, alone is not a typical state of being. Considering that anniversaries are kind of like birthdays but worth a third of the value, I think the day calls for some time divorced from the usual fan club clutter. We’d discussed over the last few weeks what we’d do this evening and it came down to my seeing an advertisement in the San Diego Reader for Cafe Sevilla. It said plainly this: half-off tapas and drinks before 6:30pm. BINGO! How’s that for old and married behavior? Old husband antics aside, I’ve been delving into Spanish food as of late (as if you couldn’t tell with all my entries!) anyway, so I figured, since it’s been almost a decade since I’ve had genuine Spanish food (and at that point in time, I was still afraid of unfamiliar foods), why not share some tapas, drink some sangría, and have a nice date with Kim? It seemed pretty fool-proof.

Fool proof it was, indeed! Our evening out was a journey through some absolutely delectable dishes from the Iberian peninsula. From their tapas list, we chose:

  • Paella Valenciana: Saffron rice, seafood, chicken, and sausage
  • Shrimp Ajillo: Sautéed in white wine and garlic
  • Fabada: Asturian dish of large white beans, sliced Morcilla and chorizo sausages
  • Seafood Crêpe: rich clam, shrimp, and scallop filling, light lobster saffron sauce
  • Country Loaf: bread with alioli and tomato dipping sauce

We also had a tall glass of refreshing sangría (fruited red wine) each. The bread arrived first served on a bread board. The perfectly crusty loaf lent to an amazingly tender and warm bread inside. The bread came scored, so it was easy to just rip off a small chunk and dip it in either the alioli or the tomato sauce, both of which were bright and packed with flavor. When the warm tapas arrived, three were served on a tiered, iron-framed serving platter with the fourth situated in a wooden board.

Which was my favorite? Although each tapa was beyond good, the Paella Valenciana was my favorite. Why? Well, because the flavor was a mouth-watering mix of seafood, chorizo, saffron, and spicy heat. And, I had fun eating it – the calamari, the mussel, the clams, and the little octopus – I loved eating it all. Kim appeared to be having fun watching me, as well, declaring several times, “Oh, man, I can’t wait to tell Delphina you just ate some something with tentacles!” It made me chuckle and at the same time made me feel like I was in the middle of a school-yard dare that I was absolutely relishing. Another stand-out was the Fabada. Not using fava beans in any of my dishes is a big mistake, and I’ll be sure to correct that sometime soon (and probably blog about it right here!). This dish was sublimely good. The smooth, tomato-tinged sauce and the soft beans lent well to bed the sausages. Interestingly enough, we ordered this tapa being excited for the sausages in the mix, however neither Kim nor I knew what Morcilla sausage was. I Googled it a short time ago. Yeah, Morcilla is the Spanish version of blood sausage. I loved telling Kim this, considering she ate it and liked it! It didn’t phase me at all – but we should all remember that I was a child brought up on duck’s blood soup (czarnina) and a Polish blood sausage (kiszka). The Fabada, nonetheless, was exquisite.

We topped the evening off with a sampler of five of their desserts: chocolate espresso crème brulèe, bread pudding Xerez, Andalusian apple tart, walnut tartlet, and flan. The bread pudding was a little lifeless, the apple tart was crisp and sweet, the walnut tartlet was smooth, rich, and crunchy, the flan hinted of almond flavor and had the perfect texture, and the chocolate espresso crème brulèe might take the award for the best dessert I’ll have this year. The sampler (of which we brought a lot home…for the kids) was a great cap for a wonderful evening – it was exactly what we wanted: relaxing, enjoyable, delicious, and…cheap! Here’s to the beginning of our fourteenth year!