Manzanas con Hinojo y Queso Manchego

11/06/10

Jaleo brags about being the first ever critically-acclaimed Tapas – Bar in D.C. ; and bragging rights they have. It has been months now since I ventured into the doors of a place that I envisioned some joint in Spain would be and my! the taste of the concentrated flavors of the tapas I had for a brunch there still stimulates my taste buds and palate when the thought occurs to me.

That early afternoon, I had the Manzanas con Hinojo y queso Manchego, made of sliced green apples, fennel salad with Manchego cheese, chives and sherry dressing to start. As the name suggests – this salad had Green apple, sourness, sweetness, roasted-garlic-soaked thin strips of fennel, Spanish olive oil with sherry, chives and a cheese named “Manchego,” which comes from sheep’s milk in La Mancha, Spain. I’ve had Gambas al Ajillo (sauteed garlic shrimp) as well but, to this day, I long for Manchego cheese with the impatience of a child longing for dessert while the parent force-feeds the vegetables.  In every Spanish, Latin-American joint I have ventured in since that day, I have been searching for that melange in my mouth, like how I tasted it then, perhaps like how a flower needs the rain, but the pursuits have come up short.

I have been to 2 other supposedly acclaimed Tapas spots now in cities other than D.C. but still remain on the quest for it. Will I find it again other than in Jaleo? or like Alonso Quixano de La Mancha will it just be a dream… the impossible dream?

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