Senior Editor Lori Moffatt recently caught up with restaurateur Annie Stokes of McKinney’s Café Malaga, a Spanish-style tapas restaurant that wins raves from visitors and locals like. Stokes shared how a fortuitous trip to Spain set her on a new life direction.
“I made my first trip to Spain about seven years ago,” says Stokes. “My grandmother was born in Malaga, but my family eventually wound up in England. Being British, I always thought I’d someday open an English tearoom, but I just couldn’t find myself inspired.
“But when my sister discovered information about my grandmother’s birthplace, I went to visit, to reconnect with my family roots. And I had a sense of belonging and place the minute I set foot in Spain. As I explored, and I found the little village near her house, I got to know some of the locals, and I ate with them and shared stories.
“I found the food phenomenal and the dining experience relaxing and inspiring. I knew my friends in Texas would feel the same way. And I thought—of course! It’s tapas, not tea!
“On my second visit to Spain, I ate my way through every tapas bar in Malaga. And I’d consider each dish—would it work in Texas?
“I have cooked all of my life. My father was in the British Royal Air Force, so growing up, we were always entertaining. My four sisters and I were always hostessing, entertaining. Sometimes I marvel at how this has come full-circle.”
Café Malaga is at 107 Church St. in McKinney. Call 972/542-9996; www.cafemalaga.com.