We went to the Capital Home Show today and on the way home stopped in Manassas for an early dinner. La Catilla sounded promising, and I have been wanting tapas for a long time. It is in an old church and the atmosphere was cozy.
We were seated by what appeared to be a 7 year old. He was cute. I refrained from telling him about child labor laws. The darkly paneled walls, pretty sprial staircase and mirrored bar were charming. The menu was extensive. Probably too extensive, as I’ve been warned if they have that many things, they can’t all be that good. We were quickly given water, but waited for a waiter.
He finally came, and I had already decided on the serrano jamon and manchego plate as a starter for both of us. Anthony Bourdain’s visit to Spain has made me crave the jamon and cheese, but I’ve yet to be willing to part with the buckage at Wegman’s to try it. I asked for a wine recommendation, and immediately was trying a delicious red whose name I have already forgotten. My excitement rose, Scott’s dwindled. He hates trying new things and the salsa was green.
The salsa and homemade tortillas were ok, and they were our only company for a long, long time. Scott finally ordered a diet coke, and several minutes later (2 water refills) he got it. Other diners arrived, and promptly described their Hawaii honeymoon in detail that was quite annoying and loud. “I kid you not! It’s paradise! The grass skirts! The coconut bras!” (actual quotation).
Finally, finally, we got the jamon and manchego, and quickly put in our orders for New Mexico enchiladas and Pork Tenderloin. The jamon was fantastic. I’m definitely not afraid to buy a hunk at Wegman’s tomorrow. I feel the same about the manchego….like cheddar in texture, but with a milder, nuttier taste – hints of parmesan. Some sort of salami was also on the plate, but it tasted like it was just one week past prime….. we left it.
Eventually our pork and enchiladas came. The tortillas on the enchiladas were delicious – homemade. Since I was a tiny girl in Carmel Valley I have remembered homemade tortillas that the Mexican family nearby made. So different from store bought. I must bribe a student to bring me some. I KNOW they make them at home.
The pork was promised to be in a wine reduction with rosemary. It was skewered with apple chunks and the glaze was like maple syrup – I could see rosemary, but not taste it. Too bad. The meat was tender and well cooked. Just not what the menu promised.
Not a horrible experience, the service was not good. But not a stellar one, either. I guess a real tapas experience should be in Sevilla or Madrid, not Manassas.