Construction on Despana’s new wine shop is underway, and the newly expanded cafe is up and running, serving an appealing variety of warm tapas and pintxos ( Basque-style canapes), along with salads and sandwiches.
The offerings are pan-Spanish, free-styling with traditions from around the country. A pintxo dubbed “Asturiano,” after the state of Asturias is topped with morcilla (blood) sausage with piquillo peppers. The Navarrico pintxo balances lengths of chistorra sausage, popular in Navarre, and the Catalan sandwich is filled with butifarra, the Catalan sausage. Grazing on an assortment with good company makes an excellent lunch.
Of the warm tapas, we particularly liked the blood sausage in tomato sauce. The dish has wonderful depth and richness, the bites of sausage snapping under your teeth, yielding their sticky, sweetly meaty contents.
Read on to see more tapas from Despana’s new cafe.
Clockwise from the bottom: Asturiano pintxo with morcilla sausage, piquillo peppers, and aioli; Cabrales cheese croqueta; pintxo topped with a piquillo pepper stuffed with salt cod and bechamel; and pintxo brandada, a golden-brown mix of salt cod, potato, and cheese.
From the top: Tortilla with Manchego, tortilla with shrimp salad (skip this one), and a pintxo of boquerones, marinated white anchovies.