Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Tapas or topless.....

by contributor Brendan Kownacki

There's always an excuse to celebrate and Monday was no different when chef Jose Andres opened the doors to his newly remodeled Jaleo in Penn Quarter. 

The colorful build-out featured an improved decor and even Foosball tables that could make the most discerning diner feel like a kid again. 

The reopening also coincides with the pending departure of Spanish Ambassador Jorge Dezcallar.   Dezcallar, who is finishing up his diplomatic post in the District, remarked to the bubbly crowd: "I leave here a much better ambassador,"  referring to Andres. 

Jaleo celebrates 19 years this year and as Chef Andres pointed out, years ago when his business partners approached him about the idea, tapas seemed much more of a risky idea than topless. 

Since then, the staple restaurant of the DC food scene has helped to bond cultures of the United States and Spain through a common 

Guests sipped wines and sampled traditional tapas fares including paella and Jamon Serrano.

Ambassador Dezcallar looks back at his favorite moment here:  The World Cup.
 by Janet Donovan for NBC Niteside at the Embassy