Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires...courage.
-
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tapas, Anyone?

After a short morning of work and meetings on Tuesday I took our guests to tour Windsor Castle. We took an express train from Reading to Sloan Station and a connecting train into Windsor. By the time we arrived it was slightly after 1:00 so we looked for a place to eat. We stumbled across a Spanish place in the station that looked convenient, so in we went. For those of you who don’t know, tapas is an interesting style of cooking that involves ordering several small appetizer sized dishes per person, and perhaps sharing your selections with others in your party

A better explanation and possible history can be found here
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tapas

Now I assumed that my European colleagues where familiar with Tapas so I didn’t bother to explain for fear of insulting any of them, some of whom were more well traveled than I. One thing that I have found to be common in tapas menus is that the name and description of the dish are not sufficient to convey to me what exactly I’m ordering. Apparently it’s worse is when you don’t understand the language in which the menu is written. My new friends pondered and translated and pondered some more, while I asked the waitress to give us some more time until finally we were ready. The waitress returned and Mr. Crasan ordered the perfect dish that was the result of so much deliberation. Then for a moment there was a bit of an uncomfortable pause while the rest of the party waited for her to take the next patron’s order and the waitress and I waited for him to order his second item. “And what else would you like sir?” she asked politely. The retired Colonel pondered this for a moment before saying “Nu, iz enough.” Then it hit me. “Da, multi.” I said from across the table. Blank looks of confusion…
I explained to the translator who in turn explained to the rest of the table that we had to start the whole process over again and each pick two more plates.
We got the whole mess sorted out relatively quickly and spent time in conversation and taking picures as we waited for the food.
I trust you remember what I said about the menu. Well the other thing I find to be common in tapas menus is that it’s easier to tell what the food will be from the name and description than it is from actually looking at the food. When dishes began to arrive (3 per person, x 10 people, = 30 unique entres) the result was mass confusion. No one, including myself, remembered the names of the dishes they ordered and looking at the dishes did not help in the least.

Waitress: “Who had the (insert unknown Spanish words here)?”

Blank stares

Me: “Sorry we don’t remember.”

Waitress: “Come on guys, we’ve got 29 more of these coming!”

Ah, good times. We finally got it all sorted out and fun was had by all. Several commented on how good the food was, and the Colonel even made up with the waitress.

I think this place may have earned some repeat Romanian Business.

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