Am I a food snob? The answer to that is yes…most definitely. Why shouldn’t I be, after all I know what good food tastes like. Being gluten-free doesn’t mean compromising on good eats either. One of the best restaurants in Baltimore (IMO), Tapas Teatro, is a fantastic Mediterranean Tapas joint where la comida is just as spectacular as the ambiance and service. Why settle? You shouldn’t.
It was last Friday night around 8pm, and much to my husband’s and my surprise, there wasn’t a seat to be had in the place. You are probably thinking it’s our fault because we went on a Friday night at 8pm, right? Well, you see, that’s normally the time we get there. Usually we end up being one of the only few couples sitting at the bar. This time, not so much. After scoping out the bar scene, we reluctantly decided to take a seat in the dining area. Although the ambiance was still delightful, it just didn’t feel as intimate as sitting at the bar. Hubby and I decided to give it one more shot at the bar. Still nothing! Not two seconds later our regular bartender/server Naomi called for us. Naomi cleared a space for us at the bar. With a slight 45 degree turn of the head, you could see the Jamon Iberico (Ham) being sliced thinly, cooks plating the tapas, flames, and you could feel the heat. This was a prime spot to be in. We got to see all of the action!
The delight of the evening didn’t cease there. We skimmed over the menu and chose some regulars, and some newbies. Cross-cut beef ribs w/chimichurri, Littleneck clams, Mushrooms fried in chickpea flour, and Baby Octopus with potatoes were some of the tapas we ordered. Every time we placed an order, our server told us right away if it might contain gluten. This is way above and beyond if you ask me. Naomi remembers us and our dietary demands without us needing to remind her, and this is one of the reasons why we will keep going back.
While I am appreciative towards chain restaurants such as Red Robin and PF Changs for having gf menus, I turn my nose up a little to those establishments. When I first received my diagnosis, I didn’t know that eating gluten free didn’t have to mean giving up creative dishes. Because of my lack of knowledge, places such as Red Robin were a treat. After much exploring, I soon realized that there were restaurants that had been doing their homework and developing new (and exciting) dishes for us anti-gluten folk. Once you have stepped outside of the food conformist box, it’s very hard to go back. As always (when trying a new place) express your dietary concerns with your server and the chef if need be.
It was another successful night at Tapas Teatro with a pitcher of Sangria, and a variety of tapas. We left feeling very satisfied.
These types of experiences have shaped me into the food snob I am today. I’ve ventured out of the box and experienced what good food should taste like, been served by people who can assist me with food choices, and I get a prime spot when I dine out. When you are a faithful customer who shows appreciation, the good karma pays you back. And let’s face it, us Celiac patients could use some good food Karma;)