I descend from a line of Irish "cooks". The Irish are certainly not historically noted for their culinary prowess. More importantly, my lineage boasts (as their greatest accomplishment in the culinary world) that they managed to not serve up huge doses of salmonella to their families after allowing meat, which looked like it had been cryogenetically frozen, to defrost for 12 hours on the kitchen counter top....in summer heat....in a home that didn't have a.c. until 1983. You get the point. There was no passion about cooking in my house. Both my parents worked, sometimes night work...where they passed each other like ships in the night. Three kids and a household to run and two working parents meant triple the amount of fatigue, so cooking something wonderful, with feeling and love just wasn't in their repertoire.
Now that I have my own family, I've discovered that I really love food, good food. And shocker of all shocks, I love to cook - this is the part where my mother grabs at her heart. She has never liked to cook. Truth be told, she has somehow managed to exist on a diet of bread and tea for 70 plus years - a biological miracle, if you ask me. For me, cooking is like therapy because I love creating something that results in everyone at the table doing a lot of eye rolling and moaning (because they like what they're eating, not because they are being obnoxious). Asking for seconds is the surest sign for me that something was a hit. It's just comforting to me to create something that works and everyone enjoys. And that's how my interest and passion for good food started to grow.
Enter Talara. Last night Big G recommended this place down by Little Italy in Baltimore and directly across from Roy's (shout out to my all time favorite Asian fusion restaurant!) and the James Joyce Pub. Talara is this contemporary styled ceviche/tapas/South American fusion restaurant - although I believe they spell cerviche with an S. Seviche. (Here's the Talara Link). Better yet, Latin music piped throughout the restaurant until the live, three piece Latin Jazz band started up. Ahhhhhh. So good. The whole atmosphere made us feel like we were transported to a South American wonderland.
G and I dove into the seviche dishes called Fire and Ice (aaaa-aaaa-amazing!); Asian Tartare; and the Ginger Tatake. We then moved over to the tapas plates and tried the Mussels Cataplana (OMG! Wow!); Avocado & Crabmeat Tian, and the Bistec (with Filet Mignon). All exceptionally wonderful. Onto one more course, this time a dish considered the new Latin sushi: the Mojo Criollo Nigiri. As if we hadn't stuffed our faces already, we were able to round out this already perfect experience with their Tres Leches dessert.....And Lauren, if you're reading this.....I know you are wiping the tears from your eyes too...you feel this goodness...this love in the food don't you? It was that good.
Huge props go out as well to our server, Scott. He was lively, engaging, excited about everything the restaurant offered, his preferences and personal food recommendations. His suggestion for the bottle of La Yunta was a good one and we polished that off with as much zest and zeal as the IRS telling you that you're being audited. If you find yourself in Baltimore, try Talara and any one of these dishes, or all of them. And be sure to ask for Scott. He was great and even said that "we had a great vibe", (Big G and me). Everything rocked at Talara's. Try it. You'll love it.