Paella appeals to everyone, from vegetarians to seafood lovers to card-carrying carnivores. If you’re in Washington, D.C., the place to get it is La Tasca, a tapas bar and restaurant with equally impressive outposts in Maryland and Virginia.
I’ve been to many special events at La Tasca, from wine-tasting dinners to New Year’s Eve parties, and most recently, to a paella-making class and tapas dinner.
La Tasca usually offers four paellas, ranging from my favorite, Paella Mixta, with chicken, chorizo, shrimp, scallops, mussels, and squid, to a vegetarian version with green beans, peas, tri-colored peppers, and asparagus.
At the paella class, we were greeted with pitchers of sangria and waiters weaving around with trays of tapas. Once the class began, the 12 tables of students — each with half a dozen amateurs and a chef — were invited to use any of the ingredients, including a wide array of meats, seafoods, and vegetables. At the end, a nice selection of tapas were brought out, all of the paellas were set out on a long table, and we all got to sample to our heart's content.
And speaking of sangria, no evening at La Tasca would be complete without it, and it's a beverage that the restaurant does very well and in great variety. Thirsty for a red wine-based version with brandy, apples, and cinnamon? Check. How about a white wine version with Triple Sec, mango, and blackberries? Check. And that’s just the beginning. Throw in a live guitarist in the evenings and you have all the ingredients for a great time.