Published on September 16th, 2013 | by Andrew Garcia


Surviving Tapas

Small plates can be interesting, as long as you aren’t hungry or paying. I’m not sure exactly why tapas are all the rage in the dining scene for the past few years, but I wish the trend would go away. It is appealing to get a little taste of everything, but at the same time extremely unsatisfying when it comes to the whole hunger thing. The hunger thing is sort of a big deal since that usually is what drives us to eat. Anyways, I can’t seem to escape a date or a night out on the town without encountering tapas, so I’ve come up with some strategies for us men to survive tapas.

Eat Before

If you know that you may be encountering tapas on your night out, make sure to grab a bite to eat before. There is nothing worse on your wallet than trying to fill your appetite on tapas, because lord knows it takes 5-10 small plates to fill up just a couple of people. It is also quite distracting to have all the plates juggling around when you are trying to have a good time with our date, friends, family or whoever.

Eat After

Either have plans to eat out or at home after your night out on the town. If you plan to eat out, look for restaurants or diners with late night hours. Make sure to call the place to confirm they are still serving food, because you’ll be surprised how many places close their kitchens early- even on the weekends. Luckily, especially in urban areas, there has been a trend for more restaurants to keep late hours. This trend is probably due to tapas leaving everyone hungry.

Order Plates with filling Carbs

Pizza, breads, french fries, rice, potatoes, chips, etc. all of that will help fill your stomach up. Small plates also tend to be on the large side when it comes to ingredients that don’t cost the restaurant much. You’ll find when you order a fancy veggie or expensive meat the portions get a lot smaller, and you’ll be wondering where the rest of your steak tartar went.

Suggest Happy Hour

If you know you are going out with a crowd that loves small plates, suggest meeting up for food at happy hour. Small plates are reasonably priced for their portion sizes at happy hours, so that you can actually order enough food without breaking the bank. If you are meeting up on the weekend, do some research for places that offer weekend happy hours? There usually is somewhere open on any given day that has a happy hour to explore. Who know, it may become a favorite spot outside of happy hour too.

Get a Big Table

If you do plan on filling up on tapas, make sure to get a large table. It can be stressful to try to fill a table with the jigsaw puzzle of a bunch of different plates. Also, if you have a lot of plates waiters will usually come over to try to get rid of some a little too frequently. Try to stake out a spot that will allow you spread out the food and actually enjoy it.

Be a Debbie Downer and Order an Entrée

If you are willing to communicate that you are actually quite hungry and want to order something bigger, just let the person you are out with know. This may disappoint or put-off whoever you are with, but at least you won’t be hungry when you are supposed to be having fun. Most people will not really care if you prefer to order an entrée. Also, if you are worried about looking bad in front of a date, think about if someone that in love with tapas actually has long term potential really? Maybe you should put a “must like entrees” as part of the miss right list.


Eat Heavy During the Day

Many cultures have the tradition of having heavier meals at night, but this is actually quite bad for us biologically speaking. Try having a heavy breakfast and lunch, so that you are not as hungry when you go out in the evening. This way when it comes time to order tapas you may find the small plates to actually enough food to satiate your appetites. If you aren’t as hungry you can also enjoy the complex flavor notes that usually accompany small plates.

Stop Somewhere Cheap for Food

If you are out with friends, perhaps suggest stopping somewhere cheap and quick for actually filling food. It turns out that tapas isn’t enough to fill up most people, so just being honest about it gets rid of an uncomfortable secret about social outings. Stopping to grab a burger or empanada can be a fun addition to a night out on the town. If you are out with a group of guy friends this idea will definitely be a hit.

Order Dessert

Desserts usually are rich, heavy and filled with calories to keep you going for the night. Cheese cakes and ice cream dishes are especially known for their ridiculous high calories, for example, the average piece of cheese cake has around 1,000 calories. It can be a fun to add a dessert to a date to show off your “softer” side while actually filling your appetite. If you are really hungry, insist she orders something too. If she doesn’t want to finish it, let her know you’ll do the job for her!

DUI Safety Note

The standard BAC estimates are based off of someone with a full stomach. If you eat lighter with small plates make sure to adjust your drinking according. One thing to consider is if you are having drinks with your tapas is that less food means that less alcohol will be absorbed. This can be a concern for folks who may be drinking and driving later, so make sure to adjust to avoid any accidents or problems with the law. Or perhaps just opt for public transportation if at all possible.


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