The Unvegan

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Burrata cha-cha-cha.

Taking advantage of a special from Living Social, the girlfriend and I headed to Cobras & Matadors in Mid-City for a bit of a date night. The place specializes in tapas and is BYO with a slight corkage fee. We forgot the booze, so had to make up for it in food instead. The deal was for 70 bucks worth, so that meant we had a lot of tapas to eat. As usual, I eyed cheeses and meats, and was happy to be eating small plates because so much looked good.

We narrowed our tapas list down to something reasonable and placed our order. First and foremost were the bacon-wrapped dates (blue cheese, almond and port wine), followed by burrata in a jar (basil, olive oil, grilled bread and sea salt), baked Spanish goat cheese (port honey wine reduction, warm grapes) paprika spiced patatas and an order of oven roasted mussels for the girlfriend. It was a good start and we looked forward to downing our tapas.

First up was the burrata. This delicious, creamy derivative of mozzarella tasted amazing when spread across the pieces of bread that came with it. Not content to be a simple burrata, the flavor of basil and olive oil made the burrata in a jar a great way to start the meal. By the time the bread was finished, there was still burrata in the jar, so we saved what we had in the hopes that it could enhance a later dish.

Why are there clovers on my dates? Off with you!

Our next plate was the bacon-wrapped dates. Aside from the strange green plants (they looked like clovers, but do people eat clovers?!) garnishing the tops of the dates, they looked incredibly delicious. But with only four of them, I was bothered that they were 10 bucks. Had I not been getting a Living Social deal, this would have really gotten to me, put I pushed the thought from my mind and dug in. I found some very welcoming dates with nice, crisp bacon. Inside, the almonds added a nice crunch, but I found a lack of blue cheese. I don’t know if this was forgotten or what, but blue cheese is certainly a flavor that sticks out and refuses to be subtle. As if to apologize for this lack, the dates had been placed upon a wide, thin sheet of Italian meat that was essentially a pepperoni. It was a pleasant surprise, but I’m not sure if it was enough to make up for the missing cheese.

Patatas with battling sauces.

Next came the paprika spiced patatas. These were sort of like potato wedges, but in little chunks the size of home fries. Covering both American and European styles, they were served with ketchup and aioli, but I found an even better condiment: burrata! That’s right, although the ketchup went well with the patatas, I scraped what was left of the burrata and created a tasty mega-tapa not to be reckoned with.

Stop global grape warming!

Finally, my last dish came (remember the mussels weren’t for me), the baked Spanish goat cheese. Wow I love goat cheese. It was served on some bread with a reduction that ended up tasting a lot like balsamic. The combination was pretty tasty, but I couldn’t help thinking I could easily make this at home. The warm grapes that came with it, on the other hand, were simply weird. I don’t know why people decided it would be fun to warm up grapes, but to those people I have a message: If you’re going to heat them up, make sure you heat them enough that they dry and become raisins. Otherwise, keep them cold because they are just better that way.

Cheese in the morning, cheese in the evening, cheese at supper time. And for dessert.

With all of our dishes served, it was time to choose a dessert. And what dessert should we choose? More cheese! Yep, none of the actual desserts compared to how attractive the cheese platter was. I’m not really sure what cheeses were served aside from blue (stolen from my dates?) and some slices of what I assumed were Manchego. Yet, whatever they were – coupled with candied walnuts, apricot jam and some grilled bread – these cheeses made for a perfect unvegan dessert.

The cheese platter was a perfect way to end a great tapas meal. I always say there can never be too much cheese and this meal proved it. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have some bacon, pepperoni and potatoes thrown in there.