Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thank You For Smoking

The most highly anticipated meal of this whole trip - and maybe our whole ongoing "conversation"- was Etxebarri.

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. 


Housemade chorizo

Smoked goat's butter

Marinated anchovies

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.

Salt-cured anchovies

Smoked buffalo mozzarella
 Smoke salt fat tang. The cheese was a slap in the face and the dish that really woke us up.


Oyster with smoked seafoam and seaweed
Palamos prawns

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
These were the first fresh anchovies we'd ever had and our minds got predictably blown.

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
And then another dessert was served, and we fell upon it like jackals. 

Coffee and cakelets
Famished and woozy after the epic drive, we neglected to photograph the surrounding countryside, but it was lovely.

Actually, it was breathtaking.

1 comment:

  1. for years i've been saying (to myself, but you know, not in a "crazy" way) el bulli? bulli shmulli. for me it's etxebarri, sorry. congreatulations you twos.