35 West 19th Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 229-2300

Now that Speeds and her secret boyfriend have gone public, I have a better understanding of why we haven't seen that much of each other. I'm still searching for an understanding of why I was the one she asked to put up shelves in her kitchen. I pondered this question while drowning out a lengthy critique of the relationship I had with my now ex-girlfriend. I think that "please stop talking" was in the back of my head somewhere. Followed closely by "I'm hungry."

Hunger led to tapas. Tapas led to 19th Street. I almost dragged her into a deserted Flatiron Lounge for a little pre-dinner pain go bye-bye juice. But instead we kept a-walkin' and found ourselves seated in a cozy little corner of Sala One Nine, the Flatiron offshoot of Sala. A quick word about the staff. First, our waitress was great. Second, the chefs clearly know what they're doing. Third, the manager should label the soy sauce "soy sauce" and the balsamic vinegar "balsamic vinegar". We discovered this boo boo just after Speeds, I kid thee not, cut herself while pulling apart the bread we got (they baked on one helluva crust) and began dipping the bread in a little dish of olive oil and... 

But that aside. Foody-food-food time. Speeds and I began our culinary suaré with a good old fashioned staple of the tapas experience, Croqetas de Jamon, a cheese and ham-filled ball of yumminess. The ham was a bit of the whereisitohthereitisIseeitnow variety, but in actuality, you didn't even need the ham. Just the cheese oozing over my fork was enough to cause a wee little smile to creep across my tongue. Served right alongside it was what might have been my favorite plate of the evening, the Brie Fundido. Brie, melting as it does room temperature, on a bed of wild mushrooms on toast. Speeds was far less a fan than I was. But that just meant more for me. I think in fairness, Speeds is mildly allergic to anything in the onion and garlic family. So... uh... sucks to be her.

Next up, my least favorite dish, the Queso de Cabra con Miel, dollops of goat cheese, fried with caramelized onions and drizzles of honey. I liked it, but everything else was better. I don't usually like goat cheese, but caramelizing the onions, bringing out their sugars, and then coating those sugars in honey tempered the bitterness of the goat cheese. If you're like me and don't usually like goat cheese, you still might enjoy this. If you already do like goat cheese, you're sure to.

Finally, the Calamare a la Plancha, grilled squid in a garlic, parsley, and hot red pepper pesto-like sauce. Most people only know squid when it's deep fried. And even then, mostly the tentacles. Sala grills the body in a far more heart healthy olive oil. The texture was soft and tender, the flavor mellow and light. Squeeze over some lemon and boom. Perfection.

Dinner over, we figured that it was time for dessert. In fact, since Sala comped us our second drinks, leaving us a few extra wampum beads to spend, we were practically required to get some sweetness... and coffees. Speeds wanted the vanilla flan. I wanted the apple cinnamon caramel pastry. But they were out of both, so we instead went with the Sorpesa Chocolate, a warm, molten chocolate cake that was much like every other warm, molten chocolate cake I've had in the past few years. That's not to say it was bad. It was very good. I just wanted something unique, and for that, chocolate cake just isn't the way to go.

Two glasses of wine (one comped), two glasses of sangria (one comped), four plates, two coffees, and one dessert, tax and tip totallyed $106.

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