Monday, 31 May 2010

Holliers in País Vasco

JD and I are currently slumming it for a week or so in the Basque Country - we arrived here in the middle of last week and had a few days hanging out in Bilbao. So far, its been great.....catching a few sights, chowing down some pintxos and other nice food. The weather sadly has not been been brilliant but luckily, it hasn't dampened our spirits :)

We have been staying in a hotel in the old town of Bilbao which is a very central location and very handy for heading out to the famous Siete Calles area for pintxos. This is a pic of the place we hit on our first night out, Irrintxi. We sat by the bar, ordered a few drinks from the bar man. He handed us a plate and off we went.....grabbing whatever we fancied....they are very trustworthy here - you just have to remember how many tasty morsels you had when you are done and pay up before you go :) 

This may seem hard to believe but it was a bit of a struggle trying to find places to head for dinner in Bilbao. On our first night, we decided to head for a resto specialising in Basque cuisine called Etxeko Jana which was a little bit down the river from your hotel. We arrived after 9pm only to find the restaurant pretty empty - the Spaniards like to dine late! Since we had not eaten much during the day, we went a bit overboard with the ordering and ended up with way too much food. (what's new?), most of it good with one completely mystery dish which we are still undecided about :)
After a bit of research on the Internet, I have now found out that this is a kind of eggy-tomatoey terrine with flakes of scorpion that we ordered - it was called Kabratxo pudding on the menu and we thought we were going to be getting blood wrong were we??? It was OK but pretty rich (now we know why!!!!) and probably not something we would order if we knew what it was !!!

Another starter, the famous txangorra or baked spider crab - a local speciality and very tasty it was too!

My main of bacalao pil-pil - salt cod served with an olive oil and garlic emulsion, again a very Basque dish. Nice but  at this point, I was very stuffed and the emulsion is very rich when your belly is getting full ;)

JD's main of hake with potatoes, onions and garlic - very tasty.

Unfortunately, we didn't have any room for desserts (we had also ordered a 3rd starter of ratatouille!!) which was a shame but all in all, a good dinner.

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