Last Sunday evening, I ventured tentatively out of my Mission bubble and headed to Contigo restaurant. For the next hour and a half, I sat languidly at the chef's counter, sipping on a glass of Perucchi red vermouth, and snacking on tapas. And at $5 or less, they were a taste of Spain that I could actually afford.
I started with a crostini of salt cured Spanish anchovies and housemade mató cheese, a mild cow's milk cheese reminiscent of ricotta, finished with cracked pepper and a drizzle of olive oil ($2). I quickly followed that with roasted local sardine and avocado toast with picked onions and smoked salt ($3).
The oxtail mini hamburguesa $5) is too tasty to exclude from the list (which, at $5 even, is technically not under five bucks, but close enough). Rich and unctuous, the exterior of the braised meat is perfectly crisped and served atop a brioche bun with aioli and picked onions. Alongside this little piece of Spanish heaven sit wonderfully-smoky, micro potato chips.
I could have kept going well into the night; there were glasses of sherry and txakolina to drink and dishes of patatas bravas albóndigas to devour. I will be back, Contigo. And next time, I will not be on a budget.