The Buds have been to their fair share of Oglebay Institute's tapas tastings, so we can say two things about them with certainty: A) They are awesome, and B) No two are alike.
Last week, the Buds were delighted to attend the first installment of this year's culinary series, "Tapas: The Art of Elegant Small Plate Dining," which featured Chef Mark Glass of Bethesda Market & Catering.
For anyone not familiar, tapas are small plates of food including appetizers, snacks or finger food. They originated in Spain, but these small-plate entrees are served in towns around the world and are a very popular culinary trend right now.
Clockwise from top are egg-potato omelets, chick pea salad, marinated chorizo, tuna butter canapes, fried squid, Serrano ham and marinated mushrooms.
"Tapas are meant for sharing," said event organizer Kate Crosbie, "however it's not only the sharing of the food that makes these events so enjoyable but also the sharing of great conversation."
Crosbie said tapas tastings are a great way to try several new dishes in the same meal. "A single entree can be boring. Many people don't want to eat only one dish. Tapas dining allows you to try a little bit of this and a little bit of that without overeating."
Glass showed up with his A-Game and a presentation style that was slightly different than the Buds have seen at said events. Some are served by course with an introduction by the chef before each one and some have also been served buffet-style. Glass chose to prepare a bevy of foods and arrange some of each on platters to be shared amongst those at each table.
Some of the goodies he brought included deep fried squid, chick pea salad, Spanish meatballs with almond sauce, egg-potato omelet, serrano ham, wine marinated chorizo sausage, assorted marinated olives, mushrooms with garlic sauce, tomato-tuna-egg salad, assorted banderillas, salmon stuffed eggs, tuna butter canapes and cooked shrimp with Fort Henry Sauce. An assortment of almonds and olives were also served in dishes on each table prior to the meal.
Without hesitation, the Buds dove in. We sampled almost everything, with the exception of the salmon stuffed eggs. The Buds do love salmon - especially when Mark Glass does it - but neither like deviled eggs. Our table mates, however, seemed to enjoy them. Our favorites were the Spanish meatballs, crusted in chopped almonds and a savory sauce; the chorizo, which had a nice, spicy zing; the tuna butter canapes, served on a wafer and topped with a garnish; and the cooked shrimp. The Fort Henry Sauce was out of this world! A little birdie told us that one of the ingredients is honey. Yes, honey!
After all those savory dishes, the Buds would have welcomed a sweet treat. Overall, the Buds enjoyed another successful tapas!
Pre-register by calling 304-242-7700 or online at www.oionline.com. The Tapas Tasting Series continues through April, featuring new chefs and recipes at each event. Upcoming events are:
February 22 - Chef Sarah Lydick of Sandscrest Conference and Retreat Center
April 12, Chef Jackie Crider of Parkhurst Dining Services
The Buds can be reached at tastebuds@timesleader online.com