Address: 480 7th St. NW
Website: jaleo.com

Tapas on crack! A trendy, happening place, Jaleo translates to "revelry" or "uproar," and uproar it certainly was! Spawned from the brain of chef José Andrés, Jaleo captures Spain's vigor and heritage with truly authentic tapas.

My feast included Jamon Iberico de Bellota Fermin, Croquetas de Jamon Serrano, Patatas Bravas, and Polli al Ajillo con Salsa Verde. I started with the Jamon Iberico de Bellota Fermin, which is a cured ham from the legendary, acorn-fed black-footed Iberico pigs of Spain. Thinly sliced and lightly salted, the Spanish ham is a cousin to the Italian ham, prosciutto. The ham, served with Pan de Crystal bread with tomato spread, makes for a flawless combination. The tomato spread complements the bread in so many ways, but is also a force to be reckoned with on its own. 

Croquetas de Jamon Serrano are traditional deep-fried ham-and-cheese fritters. The tiny square slices of ham are first dunked in cheese and then deep-fried to create a golden-brown crust. Bursting with cheese, each bite of this dish is super rich.

The Patatas Bravas are potatoes topped with spicy tomato sauce and sporadic mounds of aioli (garlic mayonnaise). Hints of cayenne pepper become apparent as the spice works up and down your taste buds. The Polli al Ajillo con Salsa Verde is grilled marinated chicken served with parsley puree and garlic sauce. The chicken delivers a smokey charred taste, while the marinated flavor gives off subtle hints of beef stock reduction and wine.

Believe you me, this place was hands down the highlight of the trip.