About once a month my husband and I meet up with a couple of our friends at a tapas restaurant called Sangria* in Royal Oak, Michigan. This tradition happened by chance when we were visiting with a friend who we hadn't seen in a while and were planning on going to another restaurant that turned out to be closed. We ended up at Sangria and it's now my favorite local restaurant. Not only that, but prior to this first visit to Sangria, this is a friend who we barely saw once a year due to our busy schedules, but now that we have a special restaurant, we're making time to get together a few times a year to catch up and make sure we don't drift apart again.
Prior to my first visit to Sangria, I had never been to a tapas restaurant before, but now it's probably my favorite way of eating. I have never been fond of an over-sized meal, not just because the portion size does not accommodate my petite stomach, but also the fact that my mouth gets bored of the same flavor over and over again. Tapas is such a fun way to add variety into your meal. The nature of tapas is to sample a variety of small dishes rather than feasting on one large entree. Plus you have the added benefit of passing dishes around the table and sharing the experience with your friends rather than the solitary endeavor of eating just one, large-plated meal.
Now, if it were just the food, this would still be my favorite way to eat. But top that with a pitcher of the most delicious sangria you'll ever drink and you have a recipe for the perfect convivial evening with friends.
The last time we went to sangria, was a couple weeks ago on a Thursday night when we were pleasantly surprised to discover they have flamenco dancing. Just as we were getting ready to leave, the flamenco dancer pulled us up onto stage to teach us some of her moves.
Despite being hesitant to go up at first, once it was over and we went back to our table, we couldn't stop talking about how much fun it was.
So if you've never been to a tapas bar/restaurant and you have one nearby, all I can say is what are you waiting for? (Just be careful, when someone asks you what you did last night and you tell them you went to a tapas bar, many people's eyes will bulge in disbelief and say, "You went to a topless bar??!!" That's happened to me more than a couple times).
*Note: sadly, this restaurant has since closed.