What is a tapa?
If you ask me, a tapa is an aperitvo that is given to you free of charge when you order an alcoholic drink. You don’t choose your tapa, you take it or you leave it. “Tapar” is a verb which means “to cover” and the tapa was originally used as a small plate to cover your drink from flies while advertising the bar/inns menu to the mainly illiterate diners (if you ordered a full portion you might want to ask for it with or without extra flies)
But don’t you choose your own tapa and have to pay for it?
No, that’s a pintxo/pincho. Obviously this may not be any sort of dictionary definition, but it’s what I consider to be the difference between a tapa and a pintxo/pincho (same pronunciation…i’m using both spanish and basque spelling because i’m like so inclusive an’ shit)
Run that by me again?
Ok, imagine you’re a UKIP/Drumpf supporter. Yes, you can cover your head in tinfoil and wear old ladies underpants and hide under the table if it helps you get into character.
So, you’re currently chanelling a UKIPper/Drumpf-birther…how do you tell the difference between a wife and a sister? yes, you get no choice about your sister and although you have a very very limitted choice of non-related females to have disappointing sexual relations with, you do have a choice, at least you can choose not to be with that person…but if you choose to be with them, you have to buy a drink.
so…the tapa is your UKIP sister that you’re stuck with but at least you don’t have to pay for; the pincho/pintxo is your UKIP wife whom you have chosen from the gene pool that is glad you’re not in it
(little bit of politics there! thank you very much. Little bit of observational comedy now…5ps eh? what are they all about?)
So why not just go for pinchos/pintxos?
Are you slow? You have to pay for the pintxos! And not really a very affordable way to eat your tea if you’re a working person and have to pay your taxes and get by on the pathetic salary that remains. If you’re not all that hungry and one pintxo will do you, then go for it.
The tapa you get tells you how the gods feel about you
Sometimes I’m given no tapa at all…because I have a stupid guiri face so fuck me and the horse a rode in on. In those cases I shake my fist at the gods (obviously i don’t complain, because i’m british-ish and we prefer to keep that sort of thing inside and just feel afronted and disrespected)… I probably wouldn’t do this if any gods actually existed cos they’d have powers and would smite me in some way…the one in the bible, Valdomort I think she’s called, would proably cover me in boils.
If the gods are smiling upon you you might get:
- some pork scratching
- some white anchovies
- some calamari
- some/a meatball(s)
- some prawns
- some patatas brava
If the gods are thinking you’re a bit of a dick you might get:
- crisps (something i can happily live without. nice in a sandwich, but generally a waste of time)
- peanuts (yeah, thanks…why don’t you just put a gun to my head and shoot me)
- russian salad (what did the russians ever do to the spanish that they have this disgusting “salad” dubbed “russian”?)
- olives (now, i like olives well enough but as a tapa it’s disappointing)
- mussels (I like mussles, but i’m not going to voluntarily eat a mussel that’s been sitting at a madrid bar when madrid hits +37º)
- any traditional Madrileña food…which is mainly fried offel or offel in sauce. pigs ears for example, the sauce is nice enough…but why do you want to eat a gristly bit of pigs ear if you don’t have to?
Where can I find decent tapas?
Not in the touristic centre of Madrid, that’s for sure…nor anywhere near any part of Barcelona. In Madrid, make sure you cross over Calle Segovia, going away from Plaza Mayor
- El Tigre – edge of Chueca, behind Gran Via. Famous for huge tapas. Explains why it’s always packed with students. and why the caña isn’t that cheap. you won’t need to be ordering dinner though. they’ve opened up two new Tigres in the same part of town.
- Taberna Tirso de Molina – you have to leave it completely in the hands of the gods. you can almost guarantee that if you’re really wanting a tapa that you’ll get crisps. You’re not in the slightest bit hungry or are just having a drink before you go for lunch, you’ll get pork scratchings.
- Casa de Asturias, Calle Argumosa – no need to pay for your tea here.
- Basically anywhere south of Plaza Mayor that isn’t a poncy place for ponces or a touristy place for tourists. But i make no promises, you have to be right with whichever god or gods you pray/sacrifice to.