Soon after I signed up as an official correspondent for Feisty Foodie, I was invited to a book release party in Soho. The book is called “The Book of Tapas” and there would be tapas and Spanish wine and sherry. Basically a win-win situation for me. Who doesn’t like tapas and wine? Alex Raij of Txikito and El Quinto Pino was the host of the evening. Apparently she was a contributor to the book, but not the author.
The party was at the Phaidon Store in Soho. Basically a store for all of the publisher’s books. It was nice and bright in there and a good place for a party.
I arrived a little early, so the staff was still setting up. They have a pretty nice selection of books including the book from Ferran Adria of El Bulli.
First up, the Spanish Reds that were offered.
I tasted most of them and they were quite a nice accompaniment to the tapas. I neglected to take pictures of the sherry and white wine offerings. I guess there may be some readers who like whites over reds, sorry.
and here come the tapas…
Luckily they had little cards that explained what each of the items were since the servers only briefly mentioned that the item was.
First up was the Tortilla Espanolo, a potato and egg omelet. Served cold. Tasty, but pretty heavy on the starch. I am not really sure what the topping was. Mayo?
Next was the Chorizo con chocolate. This was a nice slice of chroizo on top of a small dab of Nutella-like chocolate on a crostini. I think the saltiness of the chorizo completely canceled out the sweetness of the chocolate resulting a mellow bite.
Next was the Paquetitos de Jamon, fava bean stuffed serrano ham bundles. Where was the Chianti?(Sorry, couldn’t resist.) This was a nice slice of ham, but the fava beans were completely lost on the inside.
The bar was also setup with tiny glasses filled with gazpacho. I am not a huge fan of cold soups, but this was tasty. I liked the additional touch of a few drops of olive oil on top.
One of the largest tapas was the Brandada and spring ramp pintxo, salt cod and ramps on crostini. The hipsters at the party must have been elated with this one. RAMPS! One of the more flavorful items. The consistency and taste of the salt cod was almost canned tuna-like. Not necessarily a bad thing.
The final item was Salpicon Ponte Vedra, chilled shrimp, onion, and avocado on a skewer. This was quite a refreshing bite. The presentation was nice in the large tapas bowl(no idea what the name would be).
After everyone sampled the different bites, the chef Alex Raij came out to talk for a few minutes. I’ll admit that I thought the chef was a man, so I was a little surprised when she stepped up to the microphone. She spoke about her love of tapas, her restaurants, and answered some questions from the audience.
It was a good sized party and everyone seemed to have a good time. It was a little intimidating being there as a blogger, especially with my tiny Kodak camera as compared to some of the monstrosities I saw being used by some of the more well-seasoned bloggers.
On the way out, we were given a small gift bag. Unfortunately it didn’t contain a copy of the actual book. It had a copy of the menu, a small travel guide for Seville, and a flyer for all of Phaidon’s food-related books. It was a nice evening and thanks to Phaidon & Alex for putting it together. I will have to add her restaurants to my list of places to check out.