This past week saw the First Annual Tapa Week held in the nearby town of Laredo. Ten restaurants agreed to create one or two unique tapa dishes and serve them all week long for 2€ with young wine, grape juice, or small beer, or 2.50€ for a better wine or larger beer. I am very much in favor of these organized events. It seems to me like a win-win situation for the restaurants, the citizens, and even the local government. It gets people out of their houses and spending money in the local economy. Starting on Friday, I made it our mission to visit, sample, and photograph as many of the entries as we possibly could. It took us all three days, but we ended up sampling eight of the fourteen pinchos available.
First we went to a restaurant called El Guti, which is run by one of our friends from salsa dancing. It’s good to know the boss at one of the best restaurants in town.
From El Guti, we went to El Emperador, but they had just sold their last pincho. But we still had a drink there. From there, we went to a new bar called El Sinfo, where we were given the last two pinchos they had prepared that day.
On Saturday, we headed out for a night of pinchos, first to El Emperador, where we had been denied the night before. I accidentally ordered “two pinchos” rather than “one of each”, because I hadn’t noticed that they had two available. While we were getting served, we got a phone call inviting us to a friend’s house for dinner, so we only got in one pincho on Saturday.
On Sunday, the last day of the festival, we made it to four more bars and five more pinchos. First, we went to a restaurant we like called El Curro. The name of this bar is clever because it is a slang word for “work”, kind of like “salt mines” is in English. So when your wife asks you, “¿Qué tal en el curro?“, or when you say, “Lo siento, cariño, pero tengo que irme al curro.“, you can cheekily be referring to the bar.
Two doors down from El Curro is El Charles. The former is very elegant and cleanly decorated. The latter is quite dingy and makes you wonder if they’ve cleaned the tables lately.
Finally we walked across town to Cafetería Nikos for their two pinchos.
Later, we went to Cafetería Berna, but they were serving their last pinchos when we arrived, so we ordered a plate of calamari to share, thus removing any need for lunch upon returning home. The calamari was excellent and the pinchos we saw had an excellent presentation, so Cafetería Berna might have ranked highly.
Our official awards are as follows:
Bronze metal: NIKOS1
Silver metal: GUTI2
Gold metal: CURRO1
You can follow the official voting on the Semana del Pincho website. We had a great time and are looking forward to participating next year. Hopefully everyone will do a better job of estimating demand and will prepare enough to last each day. It’s very disappointing to hear that you just missed the last one.