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Mediterranean in McKinney

Written by , published May 19, 2009

Inspired by a comment on my last post on dining in McKinney (thanks, Shelly from This Eclectic Life), I paid a visit to Café Màlaga Mediterranean Tapas Bar for dinner on a weekday evening, after arriving from Austin to help my daughter pack after completing her freshman year at Austin College in Sherman.

Originated in Spain, tapas are "small plates," mini meals of vegetables, meat, seafood or a combination. I counted 28 of these on the menu, and among the items our group had were artichoke tapenade (kalamata olive & artichoke spread w/pita bread), smoked salmon crostini, roasted potatoes with roasted garlic aioli, chicken piri piri (hot pepper marinated grilled chicken breasts) and Spanish tortilla (a classic potato and egg dish). All were excellent, and we especially loved the smoked salmon for the smooth texture and subtle smoked flavor. We also indulged in dessert, chocolate-covered almond cake was my favorite. My daughter had what looked like a coffee martini, served chilled with a mint garnish.

The next evening, on our way home to Austin, we returned to McKinney for an early dinner and found La Misha, which also serves Mediterranean-inspired cuisine in an sophisticated-yet-inviting atmosphere. We started our meal with the smoothest, most flavorful hummus I've ever tasted, served with light, delicate slices of pita bread. I inquired about the flavored iced tea on the menu, and was offered a box of six different tealeaf samplings which to select (and sniff) from, I chose the pomegranate-infused blend, which was exceptional, and even more so with refills!

For entrées, we had crab cakes with saffron sauce, oven-baked chicken in apricot sauce and tilapia in creamy dill sauce. The crab cake was meaty and flaky, and the chicken was the right balance of slightly dry-to-moist that I prefer. There were some luscious cakes available for dessert in the display case in back and we split some carrot cake, moist and just sweet enough not to overpower. Once again, McKinney mesmerizes me with its culinary gems!

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