What would you do for serrano-wrapped dates?

UPDATE (August 19, 2012):

Tim and I went  back to the 9th Door today and had a great time.   The seating had been improved significantly.  All of the low benches and sofas were gone, replaced by very accessible four-tops.  Spanish music had replaced the techno.  Everyone’s attitude was fabulous.  And of course the food remains spectacular.

ORIGINAL POST (May 22, 2011):

Turns out, Tim and I would put up with a fairly annoying level of discrimination and techno music for this tasty treat.  We went to our favorite tapas joint last night — Denver’s 9th Door.  We’ve always known that an evening at 9th Door is a trade-off between amazing food and a deeply annoying hipster-and-techno-music ambiance.  But we’ve been there many times and always been seated politely.  Last night, the manager decided we were a fire hazard.

You know how there are phrases that just signal discrimination, that members of minority groups hear often — each time from someone thinking he is original — demonstrating conclusively that you are different, outside, etc.  For example, saying an African-American is “articulate,” or an Asian is a “model minority,” or a Jewish name is “delightful.”*  Well, nothing says “other” better than calling you a fire hazard.

We got there at our usual old-fogie, early-bird-special hour and the manager showed us to a two-top — one we had occupied on a number of previous occasions — and then started vocally fretting about how she could arrange us so that neither Tim nor I would be a fire hazard.  In one arrangement, I would have been sitting in the aisle.  She rejected this, causing Tim to tell the rather chubby manager, “she’s only 105** pounds, she won’t take up the whole aisle.”  Oh snap!  Following much dramatic table-dragging and eye-rolling, we were seated, after which, of course, the entire length of the aisle she was worried about immediately filled up with annoying hipsters, posing a far more serious, non-wheelchair-related, fire hazard.

A word about techno music.  Does. Anyone. Like. That. Shit?  OK, 5 words.  It seems to me to have been composed by lab rats seeking revenge for whatever we’ve done to them in the name of science.  Hey, Rats – here’s your data:  techno music makes me want to rip my own ears off.  Now make it stop.

But I swear to God it was all worth it.

Dátiles: Crispy Serrano ham-wrapped dates stuffed with almonds and drunken goat cheese

Pimientos del Piquillo Rellenos: Fire-roasted piquillo peppers stuffed with fresh goat cheese and rosemary

Aged Manchego cheese with membrillo Cabrales blue cheese with almonds and honey Cabra cheese with dried fig chutney

Alcachofas a la Plancha: Crispy pan-fried artichoke hearts with lemon-thyme aioli

Croquetas de Hongos: Mushroom and rice croquette with sherry wine and mushroom sauce

Albóndigas: Traditional lamb meatballs served in a delicate Moorish mint almond sauce

Extra-bonus sexism.  See if you can spot it in their menu blather:

On Spain’s Costa del Sol, located between Malaga and Marbella, sits a quiet little mountain village called Mijas.

During the summer of 1969, after having been made famous by James Michener’s novel The Drifters, Mijas had become an expatriate community of writers and poets. On lazy afternoons, these expats would gather at their favorite bar – one without a name, recognizable only by the number nine that was carved into the door.

Behind the 9th door, they would imbibe on the local wine and brandy and share the tapas of the house, trading stories and reciting poetry to the local women until the early hours of the morning.

Raise your hands if the first time you read the words “expatriate community of writers and poets” you pictured a mixed group of men and women.  Ha!  Fooled you!  Or maybe I’m just being heteronormative:  male and female expat writers and poets could all have been seducing the local women.  Of this I’m confident:  no techno music was involved.


* OK, this one might not make sense out of context.  Here’s the context:  I’m half Jewish, half, well, WASP.  When discussing a friend of mine with one of my older WASPy cousins, he responded to hearing the guy’s name by laughing out loud, repeating it over and over, saying “how delightful!”  Not an anti-Semetic bone in his body, but almost nothing could have made me feel more “other” at that moment.

** This reflects the historically accurate weight stated on my driver’s license.  Let’s just say:  it’s up for renewal this year.

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