6pm: Tapas at
Just a Taste

four women enjoying tapas at Just a Taste in the back patio area


The thing about tapas is, well, you get to try five or six meals at once instead of just one. Just a Taste then is aptly named.

We walked in through the front door of this romantic little dinner restaurant located in the center of an overly crowded Aurora Street just off of the Commons, Ithaca’s outdoor pedestrian mall. Perhaps because we were a party of two or maybe due to my lady’s obviously ready to burst womb, they ushered us in and past a healthy line of patrons waiting for tables, through the small dining area, passed the bar, and into the back patio. The modest black wire table that would serve as our dinner’s placeholder for the evening leaned against a tree. A couple of British women seated next to us boasted loudly about how no one in the world would ever watch a period drama that wasn’t set in England. Ivy and charm were growing all around the place in abundance.

Our waitress suggested we try at least three dishes. The lady was eager to get her hands on a salad, and during this pregnancy she always goes Caesar. A glass of their finest red wine, which she indulges herself in once a week, clinked against my Middle Ages IPA, a not-my-particular-taste in IPAs beverage from a brewer out of Syracuse, New York. Our salad arrived just after the beer and one by one each dish we’d chosen seemed to decide to make an appearance just as the last had been divided three ways, between myself, my baby’s mama, and the little guy blossoming in her womb.

Andouille sausage. Spicy shrimp sautéed in a concoction of tomatos, jalapeno and cilantro. The waitress, as polite and perfect as can be, never too bothersome, always there when you need her though, asked me if I’d like another Middle Ages. I went for a Saranac IPA instead, another somewhat nearby brewer based out of the Adirondacks. Our dishes kept coming, and while I could go on and on about each plate and what it entailed, such a venture would be a bit futile: the menu changes daily. One item I wanted to try but didn’t though, as neither the lady nor myself are big chicken wing fans, was a dish by the name of Deep Fried Chicken Wings tossed in Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce. I mean, really, aren’t all wings deep fried and either sweet or spicy? But I also thought, if I’m ever going to try wings again, this would probably be the place to do it.

wine bottles and wine taps, along with some imported beer bottles
Wine on tap.

We talked about where we might live next, we chatted business, we discussed our children and how annoying they can be but how much we love them. I laughed at how typical we’ve become in that regard, she concurred. We discussed kayaking the lake and biking around town—we’d arrived on bicycles actually—and she decided we’d forego desert here in an attempt to maybe find a change of scenery somewhere else. The bill came, and it was sizable, yes, but was it worth it? Absolutely.

With as wonderful as the experience was though, I guess I’d have to say that the most memorable part of it all—aside of course from the look in my date’s eyes as she cleaned her plate of Caesar salad in an attempt to satiate an appetite for two—came from a brief conversation I had with the bartender on the way out where she revealed to me that the many unlabeled taps to be found behind the bar were for pouring wine. I’d never seen wine on tap, but now it’s official. I can check “Now I’ve seen everything” off of my list.