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Tapas for Two

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American restaurants, for the most part, favor the ample portion. Giant salads, sandwiches the size of your head, mounds of mashed potatoes holding up something big and meaty. Sometimes a person doesn't want to eat that much--maybe it's late at night, maybe you had something super-sized for lunch and only want a small dinner. But a taste of something...now that would hit the spot! Enter tapas, the Spanish version of bar hopping and snacking that allows for the sharing of small portions of savory foods. One late night after the theatre we settled down at Pasadena's Bar Celona for some tapas, and had a lovely time.

Bar Celona is one of the many bustling stops along Old Town's Colorado Boulevard, and was still humming, despite the late hour on a weeknight. We found a table in the bar area, and right away ordered up some of their delicious sangria. But what to choose: Red or White? Our waiter said folks like to mix the two to get a kind of pink version, the best of both flavors. We took up his offer, and soon we were sipping the fruity sweet drinks. We wanted just a couple of small dishes to sample, and we nibbled on tapenade and bread after placing our order. Soon our chicken empanadas arrived, sitting hot and inviting in a light cream sauce, followed by the tangy plate of ceviche, accented with citrus and generous wedges of buttery avocado. We made quick work of the plates, and were successfully lured to dessert, where we almost had to play a round of "eeney-meeny-miney-mo" to pick one. We went with the caramel apple pastry, definitely motivated by the use of Fosselman's Dulce de Leche ice cream. But when the dish arrived--no ice cream! Our waiter went to the kitchen to investigate; as it so happened they were out of ice cream, but to make up for it he presented us with a plate heaped with strawberries and a side of creme fraiche for dipping. We were disappointed by lack of ice cream, but utterly charmed with his kind gesture. The tab was small, and our waiter was happy to accomodate our two-for-tapas style payment (two debit cards, natch). Our nightcap at Bar Celona was the perfect way to end the night. Were we in Spain we'd have kept going, surely. But we were in LA, so we went home.

Bar Celona
46 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena
(626) 405-1000