Tapas, Small plates, Amuse Bouche, etc... 1/10/09



Sitting down for Dinner

Blurry picture but I actually like it because it actually reflects the atmosphere of the room, dim room lit by candles light, creating a

 a really pleasant and cozy feeling.


The flash is working properly in this picture..

Right side only: Duy, Thuy, Phuong, Dung, Dung T., Thao, Huyen, and Phuc

Left: Maily, Hanh, Tuan, Kelvin, Dung, Doan (all partially covered)

The group sitting down and waiting for the 1st course to come out..

Doan, Dung and Kelvin


Let's begin...

Like I said early the goal tonight is to serve a bunch of small plates, 9 course to be exact,  to make a full meal.    

 Most of the dishes represent Spain but I wanted to add a little twist by incorporating French and Vietnamese flavor to the Tapas Menu.

Canned Foie Gras with coarse peppercorn and caramelized apples.

Here is my French dish for the evening.

Warm Dates with gorgonzola cheese sprinkle with bacon bits and roasted pecan.

The combination of sweet dates with a creamy gorgonzola and then topped with crunchy bacon bits and pecan is a winner.

The first two course were served at the same time - View of the Foie Gras and the warm dates together. 


Squid Meatballs served with saffron Aioli sauce. 

The squid meatballs are made with chopped squid, ground pork,  breadcrumbs, sautéed onion, and garlic. Not a very usual mixture for meatballs but apparently in Spain Pork and Squid are a very common combination.  

Piquillo peppers stuffed with Dungeness crab meat in a creamy sauce

I went to many stores before finding them at Andronico's store.  Piquillo peppers are small, pointy sweet red peppers grown in the Navarra region of Spain.  They are roasted in the fields right after they are harvested, then packed in jars. 

This is an tasty dish!  the left over sauce can be mopped with a good piece of bread but we are afraid of getting full so it is probably wiser that to do so even though it is so tempting!


Quesadillas filled with roasted duck and served with a mango salsa.

I cheated a little for this dish by buying a roasted duck at a local Chinese restaurant!  Chinese roasted duck is very flavorful anyway and I thought this is good short cut to take.

Because there are so many dishes I made sure that each quesadilla is small and can be eaten in 2/3 bites then I combined it with a Mango Salsa.

 (very tasty).  The quesadillas were crunchy, the duck was flavorful and the cheese just melted in your mouth.

I was lucky to find Mangoes in January!  They are not very sweet but perfect for a salsa.



Tempura soft shelled crab served with pesto sauce.

I always like soft shelled crab for their sweet taste and delicate texture.  Here. I deep fried them in a Tempura batter and then served them with a spicy pesto sauce.  I actually wanted to do grilled lamb chop but Hoa did not want to grill them so I have to switch gear and replace the lamb with soft shelled crab.  No regrets, the Tempura soft shelled crab was pretty good.


Filet Mignon Bo Luc Lac

Here is my Vietnamese dish of the evening.  Can't go wrong with Filet Mignon!  The meat is so tender and juicy! 

Gambas al Ajillo (Shrimp sautéed with garlic) is a classic Tapas dish.

Simple dish to make but it is also very tasty especially with the addition of tons of garlic.


And the last dish of the evening is chicken and sparerib stew.

Stew are like comfort food and this dish is no exception.  My thought for serving the stew last is, if our guess are still hungry they can definitely fill up their stomach with a stew. When I prepared this dish, it gives out such a nice aroma, and the addition of saffron and cumin give the stew a haunting flavor!


Our guests taking a break in between each meal.

Next... The kids and desserts



Our house


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