Friday, January 15, 2010

Pintxos Bar Hopping - San Sebastián, Spain
Crushin' it at Bar Ganbara

Basque Country is a magical land where one's capricious tendencies can be well rewarded; it really pays to be restless and indecisive, and to want everything (I can really do well in this town!). During our brief stay we got to experience a cornerstone of the social scene that is the pintxos bar hop. Here, making the rounds means popping into a bar and grabbing a drink along with a few pintxos (around €2-4 each), before moving onto the next one. Although the selection varies from one tavern to the next, most pintxos feature common ingredients (stuffed bell peppers, baby eels, anchovies, cheese, etc.) on a piece of bread. You grab a plate and just pick up the ones that catch your eye from the counterspread. Pintxos really are the greatest thing since unadorned sliced bread.

First stop: Restaurante Bernardo Etxea
Enthralled by this glass case of gnarly seafood, we waddled in after our meal at Juanito Kojua. Ample photo evidence on the walls suggested that Meryl Streep, Samuel L. Jackson, and other motion-picture pooh-bahs like this place. Well I also liked this place, though no one cared to document it (until now!).


Warm sheep's milk cheese with a slice of tomato and a drizzle of balsamic

Clockwise from left: Sardines with green peppers and cheese; warm mushroom tart; warm red bell pepper tart

Some bar off Plaza de la Constitución 

Angulas (baby eels) - this and other variants were great

And another (on a street right near Basilica de Santa Maria) 

And yet another

Egg, mushroom, tomato

Bar Ganbara 
Sausage and doodads

Shrimp salad

San Sebastián boasts the most Michelin Stars per capita in the immediate vicinity. On the one hand, you could go and sweep up all the stars (Gotta Catch 'Em All!); or, you could live how the other half lives - by crawling the bars and scooping up many a pintxos in this giant cocktail party of a city. Because that would be an insufferable fate indeed.

Bar Ganbara
Calle de San Jerónimo 21
20003 Donostia, Spain
943 422 575

Restaurante Bernardo Etxea
Calle del Puerto 7
20003 Donostia, Spain
943 42 20 55



Anonymous Anonymous said...

HH, I want to bar hop with you!

1/18/2010 10:19 AM  
Blogger Single Guy Ben said...

The Spaniards are genius for coming up with the pinxtos culture! Why can't we get free food like that here!?

1/19/2010 10:55 PM  

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