On Sunday, the Alamo Drafthouse's Executive Chef John Bullington and Beverage Director Bill Norris hosted a Spanish Food and Wine Mixer at the home of Alamo owner Tim League and his newly expanding family to celebrate the upcoming release of Pedro Almodovar's upcoming film, a science fiction tale entitled The Skin I Live In.
Based on the regional flavors of Spain, Bullington has developed an impeccable tapas menu of bold little bites that maintain a strong series of interconnected savory notes. The plates vary in size, but all share that demure quality that leaves you wanting more.
Busy new beverage director Norris' amazing (and potent) wine selections followed his hypothesis that wines made from grapes grown in a particular region will best compliment the foods of that region. On their own, each of the wines is stellar; but we recommend trusting in Norris' pairings with the tapas.
We began the meal with a 100 percent organic Marques de Gelida cava, which is a sparkling white wine that set off the starter salad of the menu, which was a satisfying mix of tomato, leek, almond and manchego cheese covered in a complimentary sherry vinaigrette.
The second plate was a garlic and roast shrimp soup that thick and flavorful, served in a just-right teacup shot glass. Shrimp is a difficult protein to pair with, but our table happily enjoyed refills of the cava.
The next wine Norris introduced was a distinctly citrusy Basa Blanco Rudeo, which arrived just before the calamari plates were served. The romesco sauce served under the fried calamari is so rich and so smartly paired with the white wine, you'll want to order five more plates immediately.
Chef Bullington has also created some substantial protein plates to match the lusty substance of an Almodovar film as well. In the final round of pairings, Norris served us deep pours of a Monastrell Jumilla red wine, which set off Bullington's distinctly Spanish oyster mushroom and chorizo dish. By this point in the meal, folks felt less inhibited. A couple at our table ordered seconds of the chorizo, while others asked for refills on their wine.
The final plate on the menu is a surprisingly substantial serrano ham and chicken fritter that was so good I had to ask for seconds. Fried in a delicate panko crust, the warm interior is incredibly satisfying both texturally and flavor-wise. Served alongside a funny olive/pickle garnish we soon discovered was a caperberry, this plate was the homerun ending I was hoping for from this meal.
Each of the five tapas plates and specially selected wine pairings will be available for purchase at the Alamo starting Friday with the release of The Skin I Live In. The plates will run for $6 a piece, and I guarantee you'll want to try them all. The two white wines will be $9 per glass or $36 per bottle. The Monastrell red will be $10 per glass or $40 per bottle. A flight of all three wines is also available for $14.
Advance tickets to The Skin I Live In are available now. Advance ticketholders to the opening weekend screenings will also be allowed free admission into any screening of Almodovar's quasi-autobiographical film Bad Education this Monday - Thursday.