La Tasca celebrates one year with tapas

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When Alice Lee, Suzanne Plant and Mallory Nobels got to La Tasca for tapas, they knew it was an opportunity to talk and eat without the food bogging them down thats the nature of tapas. Its a Spanish meal consisting of little portions of a wide variety of foods that goes well in a social situation.

We tried everything, said Plant. It went in a circle, added Lee, pointing around the restaurant, where each buffet table was loaded with food from different cities in Spain.

Hors doeuvres-like dishes from Barcelona, Sevilla, Malaga, Velencia and Zaragoza filled the tables. Plant liked the paella de mariscos from Valencia. Ill have to go there, she said.

Oliva Pazos did try tapas in Spain while living in her native country. Its more for social meetings, she said.

Restaurant manager Maria Noel Soca noted that tapas is a new way to enjoy a different kind of dinner. The five cities is what we call the taste of Spain, she said.

Balloons hung outside La Tasca on King Street on Wednesday, Sept. 19, marking the restaurants one-year anniversary in Old Town with a grand celebration. Attending were local celebrities Gary Clark, a former Redskin; soccer stars Brian Carroll and Jeff Carroll; Matt Pettinger and Brian Pothier of the Washington Capitals; and Pamela Brown from WJLA Television 7. It was Celebracion Fantastica! and a benefit for the Alexandria Animal Welfare League, which received all the donations at the door.

Lesa Miller, community outreach coordinator at the Animal Welfare League, noted their popularity lately. The whole town is very animal aware, she said.

Clark, who enjoyed celebrity status as he floated around, liked the small dishes in tapas. I can eat a lot and fool myself that Im not eating a lot, he said.

The house band, Deep Dreams, supplied a steady stream of music throughout the evening, consisting of rock, pop, salsa and Latin jazz. Deep Dreams plays every Saturday night at La Tasca, and were getting in really good with the crowd, said David Talavera, the singer and lead guitarist.

The first La Tasca opened in Washington, D.C., in October 2004. Noel Soca was on hand with that opening as well and has been at the Old Town restaurant since last year.

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