Tales of Spain: Donostia-San Sebastián

22Oct10

Donostia San Sebastian - The ViewI have many stories about Donostia-San Sebastián.  Many.  But, like many things that occur overseas, What happens in Rome (or, in this case, San Sebastián), stays in . . .  In this case it is especially applicable because our first trip to San Sebastián ultimately ended in heartbreak and tragedy when my camera and our phones were stolen.

But we also had our foodie hearts stolen while we were there, and for P’s birthday the subsequent weekend (coincidentally the weekend before my own birthday), we headed back to the capital of Spanish Basque cuisine.  From there, we hopped over the Spanish-French border into the French countryside, ready to inflict my horrendous French upon the unwitting French Basques (learned via Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and a well worn phrasebook… needless to say, my French is embarassingly bad and basically nonexistent).

Before I add my posts on France, however, I must first gush about San Sebastián.  The reason we went to San Sebastián that first weekend was for a Film Festival (Donostia-San Sebastián’s Zinemaldia) in the last weekend of September.  And in spite of the theft of my camera, we loved the food so much that we couldn’t resist returning a week later.  It was the 2nd of October, P’s birthday, and we were going to spend the day at the beach.  The beach!  In OCTOBER! (For a girl who grew up in a place where there was pretty much two viable months for visiting the beach– a beach that was approximately three hours’ drive away– this was heaven.)

Donostia San Sebastian - Cafe con Leche and Croissant

We started our day with a desayuno (breakfast) of café con leche and a croissant . . .  Oh yum.  And that was just the start of it.

Ask anyone in Spain, and invariably they will answer that the best food in Spain is the food of Los Vascos– the Basque.  And if you want to find the best Basque food in Spanish Basque Country?  Go to San Sebastián.

Because we were going on a bar crawl for P’s birthday, and because my camera had been stolen the previous week, I have no good images of the food we ate.  But take my word for it– our eyes were rolling back in our heads in bliss at the absolute heavenly pintxos we were eating.  There is a small photo of the beef and of the foie gras below.

For your pleasure, I am going to list the bars that need to be visited, no matter how long or short your stay in San Sebastián may be.  You must go and try these dishes at the following bars:

  • Bar Goiz-Argi–Brochetas de Gambas— (Fermín Calbetón, 4)  The best (and I cannot stress this enough) Donostia San Sebastián - Pintxos (beef and foie gras)shrimp on a stick I have ever had in my life.  It’s the house special, and they will recommend them to you while you squish and slide amongst the other hundred folks who have realized how wonderful their grilled, cooked-to-order shrimp are.
  • Bar Borda-Berri–Ternera Mejillas— (Fermín Calbetón, 12)  A few doors down from Goiz Argi is a place where you will get melt-in-your-mouth beef cheeks.  Flavorful, tender, and somehow too small and yet so filling, this beef is like a slow roasted shiver of goosebumps up and down my spine every time I take a bite.
  • The Spoon of San Telmo (La Cuchara de San Telmo)–Foie con Manzana— (31 de Agosto, 28) It’s a bit further than the other bars and a little harder to find, but I promise you it’s totally worth your time.  The foie gras with apple compote is unparalleled, and the greasy fat will possibly slip down your chin as you enjoy the decadent deliciousness of it all, but you will be so happy you don’t care.  At least, I didn’t.

I drool as I type these words.  No joke.  I can’t wait until my old college friend comes to visit, at which point I shall take her to San Sebastián for a little pintxos escapade.

Donostia San Sebastian - Group PartyP and I noted as we were going through photos after our excursion that we have never had such happy smiles on our faces as when do now in Spain.  Can you see the ridiculously huge smiles stretched over our faces as we eat such delicious food?  Law school in America is not the most pleasant of experiences, and I have not been so happy in years.

Cheesing like mad.  Even now, as I sit in my apartment with a gimp leg, I am happy.

😀

Oh, and one other thing… To those punks who stole my camera, I am watching for you!(from our first trip to San Sebastián.  :D)

 

[**Many of the photos you see from now on will be from the DSLR of my traveling companion, P, who has been kind enough to loan me use of her camera when I need to photograph food and other random scenes when the feeling so strikes me.  It should be pretty easy to determine which photos were taken by which camera . . . My little Casio Exilim just can’t keep up with a Canon Rebel XT.  Muchas gracias, and besos, P!]

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3 Responses to “Tales of Spain: Donostia-San Sebastián”

  1. I agree with your recommended bars, however, I would include some more. La Cuchara de San Telmo and Borda Berri offer similar kind of pintxos. I would suggest also to go to “A Fuego Negro” or “Zeruko”. Both offer very innovative pintxos.

    Brocheta de gambas (shrimp skewer) is delicious! Also, if you have some time, I would do a pintxos crawl in the Gros Area. Bars like “El Lagar”, “Bergara”, “Casa Senra”, have very high quality pintxos.

    You can see a route in Gros area in this site: http://www.todopintxos.com/ruta/ruta.php

    • Ah, Pintxolari, I agree that La Cuchara de San Telmo and Bar Borda Berri offer very similar types of pintxos. I actually also had the risotto con setas when I was at Borda Berri, which was also quite delicious.

      In regards to A Fuego Negro, both times I’ve gone to San Sebastian, I’ve ended up in front of or briefly inside. However, the first time there were just too many people, and as we were already full from hitting up five other pintxos places (we had gone to Txepetxa and Tamboril already prior to finding ourselves in front of A Fuego Negro), we decided to pass for the time being and come back. The second time, we ended up too late for the pintxos and my friend ordered some mixed drinks (don’t ask me why– I prefer wine any day… plus it was super expensive for a mixed drink at 6€!). Sigh. I plan to go back to San Sebastián in a few weeks, when my leg is no longer in a soft cast and I will def look up those other bars!

      PS, your website, todopintxos.com, is pretty awesome! 😀


  1. 1 Basque Food in SF! (Txoko) « Pineapple Bread

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