St. Jean-de-Luz’s Chez Maya Petit Grill Basque

27Oct10

Chez Maya Petit Grill Basque - Ttoro (French Pays Basque)Sometimes a good idea becomes a great idea when executed properly.  Case in point: Making reservations at Chez Maya Le Petit Grill Basque the second we arrived in France.  Prior to doing anything else.  Before finding a place to eat lunch.  Despite the fact that we were starving and it was 2pm.  Reservations for dinner.  First.

Let me explain.

P and I have been following a single guidebook, Rick Steves’ Spain 2010, almost religiously ever since arriving in Europe.  Mine was a gift from a friend and former colleague on the Hill, and it has been an invaluable resource for exploring and uncovering the best an area has to offer.  Especially if your language provides an insurmountable barrier.  Like in France.

So when we decided to go to St. Jean-de-Luz, we delved into the depths of Rick’s comprehensive guidebook and found a list of four restaurants.  Four restaurants that we would need to cover within a day.

Well, that meant only one thing.

We hit up two of them.  In one day.

[Insert wild laughter here]

Oh yes.  Two fine specimens of restaurants.  I already wrote about La Ruelle in my last post.  This one is about Chez Maya.

Chez Maya Petit Grill Basque - Ttoro in a BowlThis is ttoro, a traditional Basque dish.  It’s a seafood stew, made with tomato and seafood.  It’s hearty and warm and fills a person with happy goodness.  Chez Maya is well known for their ttoro, and no one should leave St. Jean-de-Luz without going to try it out.

Chez Maya Petit Grill Basque - Chipirons in Squid InkUnfortunately, the camera died mid-dinner, so pictures are sparse.  But the food was good!  We also ordered chipirons with black squid ink (baby squid in black ink) to go with rice.  It was kind of dark and perhaps a bit frightening at first, but after the first bite, you forget your fear of the strange-looking dish and just dig in!

Cutest French ChildA little French child was in the restaurant with us.  Cute little blond ringlets ringed her (his?) face, and she kept smiling at me.  But whenever I lifted the camera to snap a picture, she would suddenly become unbearably shy and duck out of sight.

… only to peek back up a few seconds later.  I finally was able to snap a picture somewhere over the course of the night, and when I showed her the picture, the delight was clear in her eyes.  Her mother and grandmother would look over at her indulgently periodically, smile over at me, and then resume their conversation.  I will have to say, her mother was in mighty fine shape for a woman who had a child this young.  Man, I need to learn the secret of how European women stay so slim, yet eat so well!

I guess it’s all the walking.

Jeanne - Loving St Jean de LuzThat is to say, until my injury, I was walking an incredible amount every day.  It’s a little over a mile to walk to Deusto University from my apartment, and P and I would walk to and from school every day.  Sometimes twice.  And that wasn’t including trips to the other side of Bilbao in order to go shopping, buy sweets and groceries, take care of Internet and cell phone issues, etc.

Man.  I miss the walking.  Especially now that I’m unable to do more than hobble from one room to the next.  Value your mobility while you can.  Seriously.  This sitting in front of the television all day every day is not good for you, your mental health, and your waistline.  At least, not mine, anyway.

Luckily, I can think back on my good times traveling so far and of the good times I will have traveling in the hopefully near future!  St Jean de Luz

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3 Responses to “St. Jean-de-Luz’s Chez Maya Petit Grill Basque”

  1. 1 Maureen

    Kaixo! Hope you are back to walking the wonderful streets of casco and Bilbao soon! I was a year in Baraklado and am missing it so. Write more! Visit San Sebastian, Guernika, Laredo, Burgos, and of course the beautiful Santander! Enjoy! Agur!

    • Eskerrik asko, Maureen! I’m still lounging on my couch waiting for my ankle to heal, but I will be up and about soon! And I definitely plan to go back to San Sebastián again. 😀


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

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