Two things we will miss about Europe. 1) fast food that doesn't suck. 2) all the mayo they put on it.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
At our own pace we stepped out into the town. Our needs were simple and few. We were quickly rewarded for our modest expectations.
Zeruko was the first stop, with the counters covered with some of the most visually exciting pintxos yet. We had found our candy store. A childlike and overwhelmed Minnie proceeded to stalk the counter for about ten minutes before striking.
|Sea urchin + beef cheeks|
|Gilded artichoke stuffed with foie gras, hazelnuts and honey|
|"Cristal" bread con tomate|
|Our new buddy Pete, who lavished us with stories of food and fishing all the way from this bar to London Stansted|
Later we moved on to Borda Berri, Txepetxa, Txondorra-- and Bar Nestor (three times) for the famed tortilla, which we missed. But we will go back to San Sebastian and when we do, it will be our first stop. Tortilla, steak, tomatoes, peppers.
|The veal cheeks in vino tinto we'd been waiting for all week|
|"Risotto" with local mushrooms and Idiazabal|
Bar Txepetxa specializes in marinated anchovy pintxos.
|Anchovies with (from left) sea urchin roe, spider crab cream, and coconut.|
|Anchovy with foie gras and apple compote|
We were underwhelmed, but by this point in the trip we were a little spoiled.
|Tortilla at Txondorra|
|Scallops and mushrooms|
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Thursday, April 19, 2012
The drive had been rough with missed exits, sour stomachs and a shrill catfight between dueling GPS units. But if heaven were the Basque countryside, then the grills at Etxebarri would be its gates.
Victor Arguinzóniz makes Bobby Flay look like a dancing monkey. Take that chipotle off your head, dancing monkey!
Everything on Etxebarri's menu has had contact with the grill or its smoke. This is not affected behavior or some trendy schtick. This is what he does, the way he cooks and how he lives.
We each ordered the tasting menu and also threw in a few supplements. Cuz dat's how we roll.
Shaken and stirred (but undeterred), we started with the cream of bean.
|Smoked goat's butter|
In true Pan-Mammalian fashion, Nick once captured Minnie's heart over a smelly anchovy pizza.
As you may have noticed by now, anchovies have been a recurrent theme on this trip. That's because they're our favorite vegetable.
It has been impossible to resist ordering them everywhere so far and Etxebarri had three incarnations of anchovy on the menu, so of course we had them all.
|Smoked buffalo mozzarella|
|Oyster with smoked seafoam and seaweed|
Unreal. The gambas live in such deep water that their brains implode into a dreamy, salty sauce when they are brought up to the surface. The heads were just incredible. We ate the shells, too.
|Txakoli, then rosé|
|Peas and cockle|
|Smoked egg yolk with local mushrooms|
|Fresh anchovies, grilled|
|Mastodonic hunk of Galician beef + salads|
|Smoked milk ice cream|
Don't be fooled by your memories of how ice cream should taste. The bite on this spoon could possibly have been the richest, gamiest flavor ever encountered in dairy. I loved it but could only manage about four bites before aesthetic arrest set it. Minnie kept saying it was not to her liking but still somehow managed to put away the same amount. This course, we felt, was the death blow.
|Wood-fire flambéed lemon biscuit with vanilla ice cream|
|Coffee and cakelets|
Actually, it was breathtaking.