Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Another dinner tonight

Just like with the Arzak dinner I can't sleep in anticipation, it's like Christmas! Here are some more pinxtos and some kids clothes that are too damn cute, even the children dress better than I do.


Cod roe

Fried Sardine, cream and peppers

Fried sardines

Salmon and vegetables


Marinating octopus before the grill

Iberico ham drug dealer

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Arzak Dinner

I knew it was going to be good and most eye opening meal I've had. The restaurant was run by the father for years (opened in 1968) and recently the daughter has taken charge. He still comes through the dining room though, as does she to describe the courses you're going to have. Good god they're nice and it shows in their food.

I actually had a hard time sleeping last night in anticipation. Right when I got out of my taxi in front of the place I met a guy from Sweden who was there solo like me, awesome to talk to him about traveling through Europe and I'm sure we'll connect later.

The food.

Corn soup-black bean soup

Fried shellfish sausage wrapped in Phyllo

Venison tartar, apple center, sugar crisp

Caramalized onion, curry and squid ink puff

Lobster, potato puff, lobster oil

Beet root crisp, warm oysters, potato, herbs and bacon

Poached then fried egg, coco crunchies, white truffle

Roasted monkfish, "choral", fish broth and onion shells, pepper beads

Cardoon-iberico sausage tempura

Venison 2 ways, braised breast, seared loin, paprika paper, venison-olive oil emulsion

"Spencer, are you still hungry para los platos umm savory?" 'YES!'. "OK aqui es foie gras especial" 'Gracias!'
Foie Gras, chestnut cream, corn sauce, raspberry jellies, coco puffs

"We will give you tres postres OK?"

Chocolate balls (pop then melt on your tongue), strawberry soup, basil ice cream

Butterscotch covered blood orange cream, black sesame gel, anise sugar

Tangerine cream filled white chocolate. Raspberry sauce.

"Aqui es eh...extra? Ice cream"

Ice cream - Banana and black lemon

OK....that is one sick chocolate mold, nuts and bolts?!
Mango jelly, coco-cola (bottle cap jelly and pop rocks for the fizz.)
white bean truffle, cacao crisps with strawberry jelly filling.

Clean and quite kitchen, perfect. I had no idea that there was just one sitting a night.
So at 9 o'clock they seat 20 people and that's all they do for the day.

Hung out for a good long while after in the lounge shooting the shit with this awesome family.
The restaurant is actually a house that had been in the family since the father's grandmother bought it. 
Built in 1897, the mother started serving meals there early on. Long story short, Elena has taken the helm and you don't keep 3 Michelin stars for 21 years by sitting around telling people what to do.
Both of them are hands-on every night and in another life I would love to be a member of this
food-centric family.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Day two, finally some time to do some stuff. And do some stuff I did.

You know what I'm completely not used to? Smoking. Why is it that Europeans smoke so much, at least they have signs not to smoke at the bar (next to the pintxos) but still it's annoying. Anyways, speaking of which the ones I had today are below. To offer just a small $1-3 dollar appetizer is genius, it lets me sample so many different flavors everyday. The general quality of food is off the charts but it's funny to see the local McDonalds packed. Even the corner stores, the simple liquor, snacks and stuff shops have wild mushrooms and local produce. I haven't run into a sticker on a piece of fruit that said it was outside of Spain.

Last night was epic. The local soccer team, which has a stadium that I didn't even notice 5 minutes walk from the hotel, played Bilbao (their arch rival) for the first time in 4 years. It was 1 o'clock in the afternoon and people were going crazy and I thought the game was already over. Guess what, the game was at 7 o'clock. I thought that we were crazy about sports but this is another level. I met some friends and they took me to a special Basque club. The Basque population is passionate about their independence, a different language and they love to tell you about their history. Here are a couple videos of the march to the stadium, thousands of people in the streets just going insane and a couple snap shots of the city so far.
I expected more bikes to be cruising around. I've maybe seen 30 people so far (Barcelona included) riding around. And only 2 guys actually suited up for a long ride. Maybe it's because of winter but to me the weather is perfect, even 50-55 degrees at night. I really wish I had time :)

I had bought my pleather jacket on a whim but it seems it makes me blend right in. EVERYONE is wearing something similar, it's kind of odd. On the odd note, there is ham everywhere! The Iberico ham, like prosciutto it's a whole leg but from pigs with black hooves that only eat acorns. It makes for the best damn cured meat I have ever had. If only I could get a leg through customs I would give it to Dad as a birthday present.