To quote Anthony Bordain “You’d have a hard time finding anything better than Barcelona for food, as far as being a hub. Given the choice between Barcelona & San Sebastian to die in, I’d probably want to die in San Sebastian.” If I had a last day on earth, San Sebastian is where I’d spend it. But I’m definitely not waiting that long to return.
Knowing we’d be spending a week on the Camino de Santiago and staying in albergues & hostels, we booked (3 months in advance & via points) a stay at Hotel Maria Cristina in San Sebastian.
It was our treat at the end of a foot-killing walk. The hotel was luxurious, beautiful decor throughout, with a welcoming staff, a giant comfy bed that felt like a cloud, a Vegas-type large bathroom with a rainfall shower and seperate bathtub. Relaxation at its best. But the real treat was the Pinxto Bars. We asked the hotel for suggestions and they provided us with a pamphlet guide to food in the city. This included the types of pinxtos (traditional or modern) and recommendations of dishes to try at each place. When we asked the concierge the difference between pinxtos and tapas, she first had to compose herself before replying something to the extent of “a tapa is an after-thought, something that bars once gave to their customers for free just to place above their glass, a pinxto is something greater. It’s thoughtful, it’s for you to enjoy, to be pleased.”
Best of all, a majority of the bars are concentrated in one neighborhood. Walk out of one incredible pinxto bar and go two doors down, or a block over, and arrive at another mouth watering, jaw dropping, perfectly prepared, heaven on a small plate, bars covered in pinxtos awaiting your arrival. Let me assure you, I am not getting carried away.
Yes, I’ve had exceptionally seared foie at Terrine in Los Angeles (for $25). Here its prepared equally well and accompanied by the right amount of apple puree (or a baked apple) and assorted berries for $4.50.
The prices, a mere $2.5-5 per small plate (as opposed to $12-25) were as surprising as each delicious bite. Perfectly seared foie gras ( the beginning of my 7 concecutive days of foie), blood sausage with tomato sauce and a quail’s egg, an incredible slice of seared slow cooked whole piglet (including shoulder; belly; cheek; pigs head),
cheek with per puree and green salsa, hoquera de bacaloa, and Kobe beef sliders with sweet potato buns just to name a few. On one occasion for lunch, we decided to order every dessert on the menu (the only dessert we remembered to take a photo of before scarfing them down) I was in heaven, or a dream, or a vacation within a vacation. I was waiting to walk past Leo having a conversation about dreams…
San Sebastian does offer more than just pintxos, there is a pretty bay with a beach to kill time between lunch and dinner 🙂 also a few michelin star restaurants we’ll have to come back to ❤
Feeling completely satisfied and replenished, we were off to Bilbao with just enough time for a trip to the Guggenhiem Museum before catching our flight to Catalonia.
ps: I normally do not condone taking photos of food in public, but when in heaven it is important to come back with proof.