Skip to main content

SAN SEBASTIAN/DONOSTIA, SPAIN: A FOODIE VACATION (TRIGGER WARNING: FOOD PORN)

The desire to travel in Europe during our active retirement years partly drove our decision to live here in the south of France. Mystery Vacations are a novel way that we have devised to fulfill that desire. Each year, I choose a place to go, make all of the arrangements, and only tell Cathey what the weather will be like at our destination and the type of attire that might be appropriate. Amazingly, she trusts me.

Last year. we spent a long weekend attending the International White Truffle Festival in Alba, Italy. This year, we dove into the distinctive culinary delights of San Sebastian/Donostia, Spain. Given Cathey's pleased expressions, I guess that the planning and execution of the two trips were worth the effort.

Below find a few pics and some commentary concerning our four days and three nights on the Spanish Coast. If I were to pick favorites, I would recommend Hidalgo 56 in Donostia for a pinxtos luncheon and Gandarias in San Sebastian's Old Town for supper. But there's so much good food in those towns, it's hard to pick a loser. And everyone that's been there has their own favorites. Here's a tip. Go early for lunch to avoid crowds at the best pinxtos bars. And you had better believe that dinner restaurants require reservations.

Donostia taken from the San Seabastian side...

View form the balcony of our rental in Donostia...

Cathey's Pinxtos from Hidalgo 56. Just walk down the bar - see below - and pick what looks tasty. Well, they ALL look tasty.

My choices at Hidalgo 56.

The secret is to go early, as they are setting up for lunch. We arrived at one popular place at 1pm and there wasn't a seat to be had, inside or out. But at 11:30...

The anchovies at Gandarias were divine as was the spider crab salad, the roast suckling pig, the lamb, and the tart below..

Cathey's perfectly constructed salad.

Roast piglet complete with cracklin', fork tender.

Lamb sliced thin and seared hot and fast.

Unbelievable chocolate tart...

Separatists marching in sympathy to the Catalans.They beat their pots and pans, blew their whistles, and, for a brief moment, blocked traffic...and our taxi. But the full-gear riot police talked and persuaded instead of being hostile. All good.

The fare at Bodega Donostiarra was more like tapas than pinxtos.

What follows is the fare at two white tablecloth, sparkling silver and crystal restaurants. The food was fresh, respected, and interestingly prepared. The two restaurants were Ikaitz Restaurant in Donostia and Astelena 1997 in Old Town.

Ikaitz Restaurant anchovies with interesting dots of sauces to swab.

Tower of slices of duck breast with roasted leeks

I think that the fish was hake.

Fish soup that Cathey says was closer to bouillabaisse than the shellfish-broth based soup that we get in the south.

Menu said Black Pudding. I asked if that was boudin. The waitress acted surprised, I think because she may not have expected an American to use that term.

Comments

  1. Hi, I've started a forum for expats, it's still in its early days but I hope to make it popular. If you ever want to promote your blog there you're more than welcome. https://inspiredexpat.forumotion.com/

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

GRAND CAFE OCCITAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

  We made our way to a new restaurant the other day, up toward the hills past La Liviniere in the small town of Felines-Minervois. None of our party had been there before, but a friend had visited and said that she'd enjoyed it. She's a vegetarian. First clue. Now don't get me wrong. I have no gripe with those who choose to go meatless. I understand the environmental concerns and I understand the horrors of factory farming. But I also understand that form follows function in the design of tools, in the design of appliances, and in the design of human teeth. Our incisors and canines did not develop over the course of hundreds of thousands of years to rend the flesh of a fresh-caught broccoli. We are omnivores by design, Darwinian design. And I enjoy eating omni. Enough preamble... I never went inside the Grand Cafe Occitan. A young lady who would be our server met us at the front door of the nicely pointed old stone house, leading us to a pebble-covered courtyard on the side

Kreuz Market vs. Smitty’s Market: Texas Barbecue in Lockhart

I was born and raised in New Jersey. I didn’t taste Texas barbecue until I was twenty-two years old. What the hell do I know about barbecue? And what could I add to the millions of words that have been written on the subject? Well, I know a bit about food. I’ve managed to check out a few of the finer joints in Texas – Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse in Dallas, Joe Cotton’s in Robstown before the fire, the dear departed Williams Smokehouse in Houston, and the incomparable New Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Huntsville . So I can speak from a reasonably wide experience. This will not be a comprehensive discussion of the relative merits of Texas barbecue as opposed to the fare available in places like Memphis or the Carolinas. It’s simply a take on our recent visits to Lockhart and the relative merits of Smitty’s versus Kreuz from our point of view. I’ll get all over academic in a later post. On our way out to the ranch in Crystal City, we stopped at Smitty’s. You have to look

RESTAURANT TEN, UZES: RESTAURANT REVIEW

Ten sits just off the market square in Uzes, one of the prettiest villages in southern France. The newly renovated space is airy and comfortable with tables of sufficient size and sufficiently spaced to provide for a pleasant dining experience. Service was cheerful, fully bilingual, and attentive without being overbearing. The food presented well to both eye and tongue. And the rate of approximately 30 € per person for a party of five included starters, mains, a dessert or two, two bottles of local wine, and coffees at the finish. Reasonable if not cheap eats.  So why am I hesitant to give an unqualified thumbs up?  It took me a while to figure it out. Uzes is a quintessentially French village in a quintessentially French region of southern France. There are those who will say that the Languedoc is just as beautiful but less crowded and less expensive than its eastern neighbors. I know. I'm one of those people. But the fact remains that for many people, villages like Uzes are t