Sara, my fellow former art historian good friend, is now back in Austin for grad school to my delight, but I will be gone for the Fall semester so we planned to make the most of our reunion at Malaga.
The Malaga happy hour special consisting of a happy hour beverage and a happy hour tapas is $8. This is a pretty good deal considering how filling my order of meatballs was not to mention the delicious amuse bouche of fried quail in a creamy sauce with dusted with smoked paprika. Who knew happy hour can come with an amuse bouche!
Amuse Bouche of fried quail
My issue with the happy hour menu is that there are only a few tapas to choose from, and few of which really stood out. The more tantalizing items are in the normal dinner menu. After some struggle, I settled with the happy hour special by choosing the Albondigas en Tomate (meatballs in tomato sauce) and the watermelon martini instead of ordering from the dinner menu because I need to save money.
Again, I'll refrain from commenting on alcholic beverages as I still feel like it's torture gulping the stuff down. The watermelon martini was mild and sugary enough for me to reach the halfway point, which says alot.
Now the meatballs, which I will happily opine, made me a bit queasy. As I bit down, the meat became mush in my mouth. There's a difference between tenderness and mushyness. Tender meatballs can still give a slight springboard bounce as your teeth puncture through the exterior and the meat's juices would blend with the ground meat as you chew with gentle ease. These meatballs felt like they were meant for people with dentures. No need for teeth, just use your tongue and mush it to the roof of your mouth. Blech. Mashed potatoes, yes; meat, no.
Albondigas en Salsa de Tomate-beef and pork meatballs in a cumin-coriander spiced tomato sauce with three month old Iberico cheese and chopped parsley
Fickle Foodie ordered the delicious gambas and the Tortilla Catalana, and Sara ordered the tasty pork. Malaga might've strategically placed the less impressive tapas in the happy hour specials and left the delectable ones for the regular menu. Tricky tricky.
Gambas al Ajillo-shrimp sautéed in garlic and olive oil with fried plantain chips; Pincho Moruno-pork marinated in olive oil infused with Moorish spices, cumin, red pepper, garlic, parsley and fresh lemon juice
Tortilla Catalana-potatoes baked with onions, eggs, and piquillo peppers, and served with garlic aioli and Romesco Sauce with shredded Iberico cheese
A pretty cool plus about Malaga on Wednesday nights is the free Flamenco performance 8-10PM.