Wanting to reminisce about our year studying abroad in Europe, my friend Lindy suggested we meet at Contigo, a small tapas bar in Noe Valley.
The restaurant was rather narrow, with their kitchen in the midst of the patrons, but the all-wood interior was smooth and created a warm atmosphere, complete with candles and antique black and white photos on the walls. The back had a small patio, with small globe lights and plants, adding a romantic tinge to the Spanish-style restaurant.
We shared all of our tapas, starting with ‘Macrona Almond Ajo Blanco,’ a white gazpacho. I’ve never had white gazpacho, but the subtle almond flavor and lightness of the soup was a great starter to the ‘Croqueta de Jamon Serrano,’ the potato croquettes with small bits of ham. The outer layer of the croquette was perfectly crispy without the heavy deep-fried consistency, and the inside melted in your mouth with a warm, savory, buttery taste.
Next, we had the ‘Melecoton con Jamon,’ which was slices of prosciutto with roasted peaches, mato cheese, honey, almonds, and basil. I may have died and gone to heaven while eating this – the peaches offered the perfect sweet taste to the saltiness of the ham, and the cheese was countered with a light drizzle of honey. The ingredients were all incredibly fresh and tasted light and summery, and they all complimented each other’s flavors very well. I would come back just for this… and order five of them!
We finished our tapas with a ‘Coca of Summer Squash and Blossoms,’ which was a flatbread topped with txistorra sausage, manchego, pickled chiles, and za’atar. The flatbread was very cheesy and a bit too oily, but the summer squash paired well with the sausage, and the dough was soft and thin, so as not to be too heavy but still fill us up after our smaller tapas dishes.
Contigo has a wide variety of vinos, bubblies, and fruity sangrias that complete these meals and each tapas dish. They also offer a paella tasting and “Paella Tuesdays,” which is large family style portion of paella and the chef’s selection of four tapas.
I am eager to try their paella, but I may have to go back just to get the prosciutto with peaches!