The Insider heads to Newark for tapas and gives props to a local sugar daddy.

Restaurant Riff: Olé Tapas

The Insider hit Olé Tapas in Newark on a wickedly windy December eve. The tapas, Spanish wine, and yes, photos flowed. Here’s a taste.

Fabada asturiana, a white bean and chorizo stew was one of our faves. We tend to think of tapas as small dishes, but this one ate like an entrée. That’s a poached egg in the center, by the way.

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Your daily flatbread selection: Artichoke, roasted red pepper and goat cheese.

Loved this. Perfectly executed chuletas de cordero: tender and beautifully caramelized baby lamb chops atop a bed of garlicky baby spinach. Tapas chefs, take notes. This is how it’s done.

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When you go ethnic dining, you’ve got to try something new. So this was mine. Black sausage sandwich with grilled pears and shallot jam. I dug the saucy Olé signature, but you won’t see me queuing up outside the chipshop for more black pudding.  

This may have been my favorite of the night. Moroccan-style lentils, stewed to perfection with all the cumin smokiness and sweetness you’d want. I’ll be back for more, Olé.

Next: Our own chef Dana Herbert of Desserts by Dana in Bear survived another night on TLC’s “Next Great Baker” last night. The show, which spun off from the reality series “Cake Boss,” pits pastry chefs against one another for a shot at $50,000 cash and an apprenticeship at Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro’s bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Thanks to his team’s win last night, Herbert is through to the competition’s final five. Theatre N in Wilmington will host a screening party for the series finale on January 24. Stay tuned for more.

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I interviewed Dana back in 2008. Check out the resulting story here

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