San Sebastian – Donosti- Basque Country

San Sebastián.  What can I say.  Eating capital of Spain?  Hollywood of Gastronomy?  With 6 Michelin stars, it definitely is a place to diet beforehand and then eat with reckless abandon.  We did nothing but….eat, and eat, and eat my friends.  And that is the only thing I have really ever done in San Sebastián.

Tucked in Spain’s northern coast on the border with France, it is a place of beauty, and brawn.  Not only are the chefs heavy weights, here, but the people themselves are from a different ilk.  Taller.  Paul Bunyon-like, if you will.  I mean, they have log chopping and stone throwing competitions, for Pete’s Sake!  But, that wasn’t why we came.  We came looking for “Chuleton” and “Pacharan”.  The former being a succulent, Fred Flintstone like bone in rib eye, and the latter, an after dinner (or lunch, in many of my cases) digestif, made with anise and endrinas, a type of wild berry.  And we found it.  Our first stop, was a place that was recommended to us called “Patxiku-Enea”, which basically means, Patxiku’s House.   A couple of kilometres outside of San Sebastián, it is a small, unassuming house on a grassy knoll.

 

But once inside, you get the feeling of the place.  More winter hunting lodge than anything, this is what I come to know as  “we are going to have a really amazing meal” place.

We were told to order the Chuleton, aka, the bone in rib eye.  And we did.  But first we had the guindillas, which are small green chili peppers that are flash-fried to perfection.

And another starter of scrambled eggs with porcini mushrooms.  I don’t think I need to reiterate my love affair with both.

Then, on to our main course, the stellar, and unbelievably delicious Chuleton.  With a side of roasted red peppers sautéed with garlic please.

If I could have sucked on the bone, like a good cave woman….I would have.  But, we were in a public place.  At home….no holds barred!

After this belly filling lunch, we went out on to their terrace, and I indulged in a very large glass of Pacharan.  My sweetie had the little one.

This lunch was amazing.  Simple, rustic, mouth-watering.  If anyone gets to come here, this is a must do.

After that, we checked into the hotel, and took a nap.  We really couldn’t move after, so best to digest whilst you’re sleeping.

Then, we took a stroll into town to, you guessed it, eat some more.  Here are some highlights of the night.

Crowded Pintxos Bar in the old town

 

Piquillo pepper stuffed with goat stew and idiazabal cream

 

Another Pintxos Bar

 

Peek-a-Boo!

 

“La Concha” Beach

 

Old bullfighting square, now Pintxos galore!

 

Crowded street with pintxo seeking tourists!

 

Eduardo Chillida’s Peine del Viento – The Wind’s Comb

 

If you ever come to Spain, try to make it to San Sebastián.  Not only is it a beautiful, charming city, it is probably the best food vacation you’ll ever have.

 

PATXIKU-ENEA ERRETEGIA
| TEL :  943 527 545 | MAIL : INFO@PATXIKU-ENEA.COM 
CAMINO DE GAINTXURIZKETA, HERRIKOETXEA KALEA, 20100 LEZO, SPAIN

http://www.patxiku-enea.es

 

Carla

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Basque Country

Needless to say, the Basque Country is Food Country.  We planned this trip around a Basque/Russian wedding, and ate our way through these spectacular Spanish regions.

Our first stop was Santes Creus, which is actually in Catalonia.  But we were hungry.  So, it was naturally a good stopover for us, since it was only about an hour and a half from Barcelona, and it had a very famous monastery.

We didn’t plan where we were going to eat, but let me tell you, what a wonderful surprise it was.  We happened to just plop ourselves down in the first restaurant we saw, which was right outside the monastery.  And it was amazing.  And cheap.  I was so happy and surprised to be able to enjoy such wonderful simple fare at real prices.

Melon with Iberian Ham

 

 

Gazpacho with all the trimmings

 

Toast with a mix of sautéed veggies, tuna and cheese

Grilled Chicken with Potatoes

All for 22 euros.  It was amazing.  I was so pleased, that once you get out of the city, you can eat like a king and not have to pay their ransome.

So after that, we were merrily on our way to Pamplona.  Pamplona is obviously known for the Running of the Bulls, which happens in the beginning of July.  It is a beautiful city, small and recently restored.  But HOT.  Oh, my God.  HOT HOT HOT.  The heat was unbearable.  So, we just went in search for the most air-conditioned places (few) and lots of good food and wine (many).  See , Pamplona is right near the Lodosa area, where the most delectable vegetables in Spain are grown.  And we’re talking about white asparagus and piquillo peppers my friends.  And that’s talking business.  But, since it is also very close to the Basque Country, almost like a sister province, they have amazing Pintxos.  Pintxos are tapas on a piece of bread with a toothpick stuck in it.  Darn good.  No, Amazing.

Pintxo bar in Pamplona

Blood Sausage Pintxo with Caramelized Onions, and Chistorra Sausage Pintxo with Padron Pepper

Idiazabal cheese covered in walnuts in a tomato jam

Micuit Foie Gras, Apple Chutney and Gold Leaf Powder

Toast with Tuna Belly, Anchovies and Piquillo Peppers

Seared Foie Gras with Caramelized Pineapple

I guess you can see, that the night’s theme was foie gras.  It was sublime.  An absolute treat for the both of us.

The next day, we drove to San Sebastián, and it deserves a post all on its own.  So I am going to skip to the real highlight of the trip, the reason we did it, our friends’ Russian/Basque Wedding!

Our friend Patrik is from Bilbao, and had been working in Moscow for about 4 years.  That is where he met Galiya.  Then, cut to the 3rd of August, 2012.  Their wedding.  It was beautiful and bountiful.  Definitely one to look up to food wise!

Traditional Basque Dance done for the Bride and Groom after they are married.

Jamon de Guijelo….need I say more?

Smoked Salmon, Pistachios and Dates

1st course, foie gras with pedro ximenez sherry reduction with summer berries

2nd course, tuna belly, tomato and caramelized onion salad

3rd course, gambas a la plancha….aka….pan fried prawns

My favourite by far, sautéed porcini mushrooms with truffle cream sauce

1st main course, Grilled monkish. Heaven.

Ok, after this, there was prime rib served, with piquillo peppers, and then a strawberry sorbet with cream cheese, and then the cake.  But I couldn’t eat anymore.  I know right?  What is wrong with me.  I’ll tell you.  I ate like a total pig the whole 5 days.  I cannot eat another thing until tomorrow, when I go to Naples, Italy!

If I don’t post anymore, you will know that I have exploded.

See you in a few!

Carla