Sunday, October 17, 2010

foodwise, it is just another animal.

(peppers a friend ordered)

I stayed Thursday-Saturday afternoon this week with my friend Marti (see "Blank Palate" in "Blogs I'm Reading") in Donostia-San Sebastian. We mostly just hung out, cooked, ate, went to a couple restaurants and ate some more, and I realized a couple things.

1) that city EARNS its reputation for having a) the best food and b) the most expensive food. There you're lucky to get a legit one for under €3; here in Bilbao, anything over €1.60 is highway robbery. You'll possibly pay €2 here if you want a culinary foam (you probably don't, you trendy thing. I'm still a sucker for them.). Of course, theirs are usually a bit more inventive (i.e., plated, with maybe some balsamic drizzle or something), whereas here what you get is typically a treat on a piece of bread, period. Different ballpark.

(solomillo "a lo pobre": roasted red pepper sauce, sea salt, potato strips, quail egg- this was a €2-something cheapie! Bar Astelena.)

2) watching your (ex-cook) friend make beurre blanc sauce with total ease does not mean you will be able to repeat that maneuver. Mine broke today (and I ate it anyway, how desperate!).

3) I am in the right place! Confession: when I found out my assigned school was nowhere near San Sebastian, I was secretly a little bummed. I mean, the culinary capital of the western world?! Who wouldn't flip at the chance to spend a chunk of their life there? Walking around the city and getting a feel for it, though, I still loved it but didn't get that same nice, at-home feeling I get here in Bilbao.

At any rate, I'm sure I'll be going back pretty often to visit, rival city to my own though it is (think Durham to Bilbao's Chapel Hill). I had a great time on my mini-vacation with Marti and her friends there.


  1. I can't wait to try some amazing food there someday!

  2. holla at'cha girl when you come up north! i'd be happy to show you around.

  3. ok, despite the fact that i've been to the país vasco a few times, i want to go and eat again! the chick i traveled with last time was low on money and we had ONE pintxo out! and she's vegetarian, so I ate ONE pintxo out. so. not. cool. i will get on finding a cool place to take you for tapitas here in sevilla!

  4. your sauce broke...MIERDA! I knew I didn't focus enough on the importance of timing and temperature. Oops, I guess that means another visit.

    loved having you.

  5. Cat- get up here! And I can´t wait to try some of your fav places in Sevilla. Booked my flight yesterday!

    Marti- my roommate (the vizcaina) gave me a big "Euskal Herria bucket list" and lots of the stuff is in Gipuzkoa, I have all sorts of excuses to go back for a visit!