Friday, February 7, 2014

Tapas Thursdays

Yesterday, I had dinner at a restaurant that really achieved something that most establishments do not do well.

And that is creating an atmosphere that really feels like you are eating dinner in a place that does not feel like home.  As if you are literally stepping into another block of an entirely different city.

This new place in Agana, called Tapanade, really does give off that vibe. I have never been to New York City, but this Tapas and Sangria place is what I imagined some sort of middle-to moderately high class joint would look like in that city. It’s just that so much media takes place in New York City, and there is so much preconceived notions etched in our minds. Heck, one particular story I wrote, takes place in that very city. It’s the home of the Marvel Universe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,  60% of American movies, and you get the idea.

It’s like the place too you see people eat in Sitcoms. So clean, shiny, and new looking.

But some of its decor really did sell the set. In one side the place, there are three paintings crammed on the wall. The pieces, while not original, which I commented to my girlfriend that just substitute those copies for the originals and it be a high “class” restaurant in a big city, had that 20th century pop art style that hip and trendy restaurants tend to have. It even had a chandelier, which made it feel like a place that served only Champagne and the soundtrack of the room is the clicking of the wine glasses and the murmuring of humans. Which kind of happened, but not as loud because the limited capacity.  

Though what probably reminded me the most of a fancy diner in a big metropolitan area is the fact that it was a very compact and crunched place horizontally but vertically was very spacious (there’s a bottom part which is the bar/lounge area, and the top part which is purely the diner part). The tables were small, the seats were minimalistic, and the actual capacity of the whole joint was probably no more than 60-80 people.  

While those were my initial observations about the restaurant, the actual substance part was another story. The food and drinks were nice. I mean , they didn’t blow my socks off, but it was enjoyable. Their Pretzel Burger and fries hit the spot, but the sangria was way too sweet for me , I’m used to drinking just beer and straight liquor, I only know a handful of mixed drinks and their particular content, because I don’t mind the sting of alcohol. Better to face this particular poison head on, rather than hide it in some bearable way. I have some old fashioned tendencies (probably got from spending so much time with my grandparents) so simplicity, especially with food and beverages, is a solid philosophy to live by.

I enjoy drinking wine because it really attracts my Italian side, and the Trombone player in me as well. Numerous of composers have cited that no section can outdrink the Trombone players, where our Italian forerunners would drink red wine so heartily. I feel that very same connection.  

The food was good though, but my taste pallet is pretty easy going, I can feel the same satisfaction with healthy or simple budget home cooking. However, was it as good as the 20 dollars of food would get you for some appetizers (or tapas)? My wallet might not think so.  

Also the place definitely has that entitled and wealthy vibe, which I am not a big fan of because it is not me. However, I try to make the most of the situation, and just observe and learn to the best of my abilities.  The leftist in me really makes me aware of what kind of places I go into and ask, what social class is attracted to this particular place? This exercise I do also is what attracts me to become a novelist, imagining characters with depth.

It’s fun to try things out though, indulge in life, and get your mind off of things for a bit. I wonder if it will continue to stay open, or will it follow the unfortunate course of the so many restaurants before it. 

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