Tapas

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Between my blog, conversations I have with friends and colleagues, and my appearance on Fox, I have probably said it a million times, but I will say it again. New Bedford, MA is a great little stop on a New England day trip. It’s not Provincetown or Portland, but it oozes with New England charm in its cobblestone streets, fishing boats, and whaling history. And it’s quickly becoming a place to wine and dine as well.

We wouldn’t have discovered New Bedford if it wasn’t for our love of Travessia Urban Winery wine, but we now visit at least a couple of times a year. On our most recent Southeastern MA excursion, we worked up our appetites tasting wine at Westport Rivers and Travessia, and we (really, I) desperately needed to eat by the time 6:00 rolled around.

I knew exactly where I wanted to go. Cork Wine and Tapas Bar, located right across from the shipyard, is a restaurant we have passed on our many New Bedford trips, but we had never stopped. We made a beeline from Travessia right to Cork for a fantastic wine and food experience.

Cork Wine & Tapas Bar

Talk about New England charm. Cork is in the Joseph Tabor building, which has stood proudly there since 1836. I learned from Cork’s website that the building was designed to be a warehouse to produce, house and maneuver large nautical equipment. It’s an impressive structure that now makes a great space for dining.

Cork Wine & Tapas Bar New Bedford

Cork’s menu is fresh and seasonal and offers small plates in addition to heartier options like fish and chips.

Cork Wine & Tapas Bar

They also offer wine flights, something that I love in a restaurant. It was a wine-tasting kind of day, so I decided to go with a flight of bubbles. Surprise, surprise!

sparkling wine flight

Three glasses of sparkling wine were placed in front of me: Segura Viudas Reserva, Deor Prosecco, and Santa Julia Brut Rose. The Segura Viudas was the hands-down winner with me and the other  judges, my mother-in-law and husband. The Prosecco was just okay; while I am a fan of most bubbles, I don’t love the overwhelming pear flavor some Proseccos have. The Santa Julia Brut Rose was lovely, lots of strawberry and cherry flavors, and of course that gorgeous pink color.

sparkling wine flight

While I am usually a fan of tapas style eating, I was pretty ravenous by the time we were ready to order, and I wanted one thing, Coconut Curry Lobster: Claw and knuckle lobster meat with scallions and grilled corn in curried coconut milk. Served over jasmine rice.

To.die.for. Everything in this dish added something special, from the tender lobster to the lively curry and sweet corn and rice. It was such a filling yet light option, perfect for a hot summer day and lunch the next day. My mother-in-law and husband also really enjoyed their meals. We all agreed that the service, atmosphere, selection, and food would have us coming back again and again.

lobster curry

I’m a huge lover of wine bars, cozy places to get a glass or two, with no expectation of ordering a huge meal (unless you want to), and I wish Boston had more places like Cork and my favorite Galway wine bar, Sheridan’s.

Since we’re wine club members at Travessia, we’ll have reason to visit again in the fall, and I am making a trip to Cork mandatory.

Cork Wine and Tapas Bar on Urbanspoon

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Tags: day trips, dinner, Food, New Bedford, New England, Tapas, Travel, wine, wine flights, wine tasting

Where has this week gone? Just when you don’t want a certain Marathon Monday to get here too quickly, the week becomes crazy busy and flies by!  This week has been pretty great; I am busy with work and that’s always a good thing. Even better, I got to spend the day with tapas and Spanish wine on Tuesday, working as the “Media Maven” for an event with Tapeña Wines. This type of work is pretty much what I would love to do all day, every day. By the end of the day and after two events, I was exhausted but fully charged and talking my husband’s ear off.

The first event was a small media event at Kika Tapas in Kendall Square. This was my first time at Kika, and I absolutely loved it.

Kika Tapas

The interior is very different than sister restaurants Tapeo and Solea. It’s a modern twist on the more traditional tapas bar, decked out in red, white, and black, round booths, and lots of light.

I joined a representative from Freixenet USA and another blogger for lunch and to taste wines from the Freixenet family.

We started off with the Freixenet Cordon Negro and Brazilian cheese bread, which had a cheesy, nutty flavor that went really well with the cava.

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We also had one of my favorites, the baked goat cheese in tomato basil sauce with a basket of bread for dipping. Molten goat cheese with tangy tomato sauce and fresh bread is something that I could eat all day.

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Another tapas favorite, patatas bravas, were also part of our order. These did not disappoint with their spicy, salty sauce and creamy aioli.

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The second wine we tasted was one of my all time favorites, Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut. Gloria Ferrer was one of the first places we ever visited in Sonoma and one that we always return to. Their wines are all fantastic, and the Sonoma Brut and Va de Vi hold special places in our hearts. Since bubbles are a great friend to food, they were a wonderful choice for a variety of tapas, including these sizzling garlic shrimp, another must-order for me.

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Our feast also included pork loin with blue cheese and mushrooms and lamb meatballs in truffle cream sauce. The meatballs were pretty incredible.

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Our meal and tasting also included two Tapeña Wines, the Garnacha and Tempranillo. I like both, but I LOVE Tapeña Garnacha. Fruity, spicy, and delicious, this wine is almost too easy to drink. And to make it even better, it retails for under $10.

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Several people in the restaurant stared at our table full of wine bottles and food; it certainly isn’t every day you see three people with four bottles of wine at lunch. We were just tasting, promise!

After lunch I had some time to run a few errands before heading to Tapeo for the main event, a Tapeña Meet Up.

Tapeo

Tapeo

Tapeo and Tapeña put on a fun evening filled with wine, prizes, and delicious tapas.

Tapeña Wines

This time around, we were sipping on Tapeña Verdejo in addition to Tempranillo. As someone tweeted at me after the event, the Verdejo is perfect for a sunny patio. It’s bright, acidic, fun, and perfect for seafood and summer.

Tapeña Wines

I spent the night mixing and mingling with guests; if you came, thank you so much for being there! I hope you had a good time. We had a great crowd, and some great food and service from Tapeo.

Tapeña Wines

Tapeo

Working the Tapeña was truly one of the most fun projects I have had in my consulting career, and it really made my week. Things aren’t always easy in this chosen path of mine, but moments like this definitely make it worth it!

How is your week going so far? Do you get a long weekend this weekend? I obviously am taking a long weekend. . . but I am not necessarily looking forward to it!

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Tags: blogger events, Boston, events, Food, Freixenet, Gloria Ferrer, Tapas, Tapeña, wine

One of my favorite parts of traveling is meeting new people and getting the inside scoop from them on where they like to go in their hometowns. It’s easy when we visit Ireland; we have friends and family who always have great recommendations, and I think it makes for a more memorable trip.

That’s why I was delighted to meet some Napa-area natives in the downtown Napa Ceja Vineyards tasting room. Over a glass of Bella Flor Rosé, our new friends shared their wine and restaurant favorites for Napa and then actually walked us to the restaurant we decided on, Zuzu. We were definitely not in Boston anymore. . . and it was really nice.

We chose Zuzu out of the many Napa recommendations we were given because a tapas dinner sounded perfect after a day of wine tasting and eating Mexican food.

Zuzu Napa menu

We were lucky to snag the lone empty table in the festive and bustling dining room. In keeping with the festive mood, I had a glass of Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noir.

Then we chowed down on a variety of tapas.

Roasted Red Beets with Frisee, Walnuts, Pt. Reyes Blue Cheese, Blood Orange Vinaigrette

You can’t go wrong with beets, and this salad was great. Adding more beet salads is definitely one of the small changes I will be making toward better health this spring!

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Queso Frito: Pan Fried Manchego with Roasted Poblanos and Guajillo Sauce

Fried cheese, check!

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Tunisian Brik Pastry with Dungeness Crab, Organic Eggs, and Spring Garlic

I’ve had the pleasure of eating Brik in Tunisia, and this was one of my favorite dishes at Zuzu. The soft outer pastry enveloped sweet crab and rich eggs.

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Traditional Tortilla Espanola

You also can’t go wrong with a classic tortilla. I love to make them, order them when I go out, and most of all eat tortillas. They are the quintessential, must-order tapa for me.

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Zuzu ended up being a great recommendation. Small plates meant that we got to share a few different tastes, and on the plus side, the meal was pretty quick which was perfect, considering we were still on East Coast time. I would definitely recommend Zuzu if you are visiting Napa, and I will definitely return, as soon as possible Smile

If you met people traveling from another city, what would be your top restaurant recommendations for your area?

P.S. You have one more day to enter the giveaway to win a $30 gift card to CSN stores and/or to enter to win some gift cards to Boston area restaurants.

Zuzu on Urbanspoon

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Tags: beets, cheese, Food, Napa, Restaurants, salad, Tapas, tortilla, wine, Zuzu

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