SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain. “Oysters and champagne is all you need. The rest is just BS.”
I think we may have found food nirvana. The night before we ate in a quaint hotel restaurant after a long plane ride from the USA and Israel, followed by a long car ride from Madrid. The jet lag weighed heavy, but we only have a few days and have to make the most of it. It is worth it. The following day we start eating at 1pm. There are pinxthos everywhere and we are spoiled for choice. It was wise to start early. We hop from bar to bar to grab a taste here and there and soon we have standing room only. We indulge in acorn fed Iberian ham, sea urchin, calamari, squid and octopus, to name but a few. The smell of seafood wafts from every corner and we feel the need to find the place where the aroma is coming from so we can indulge in the fruits of the ocean. Soon we find our first oysters. They’re enormous and they simply cannot go without a little Moet et Chandon. “Just a small bottle” soon becomes three small bottles and before you know it, we have a heavily oaked, full bodied red to wash down the lobster and langoustine we chose fresh from the tank. The morsels arrive with large wedges of lemon and I look for the various sauces that normally accompany them. None. It’s not necessary. The shellfish is cooked to perfection and sweet and juicy. A squeeze of lemon is all that’s needed.
“Oysters and champagne is all you need. The rest is just BS.” At Bare Bare restaurant, our server Xabi makes sure our evening is one of the most memorable nights of my life and when it comes time to leave, we do so reluctantly. The sun has set. We’ve been eating all afternoon. It’s time for dessert and we walk into a small chocolaterie where we sample creamy assorted hand made chocolates. Nobody’s in the mood to end the day. Cocktail hour has arrived. Thankfully we find somewhere to sit and the tasting begins. The mixologist is an expert and the various cocktails arrive fast and furious, each shared by the three of us. It has become a production line of tasting and soon the evening blurs into a sea of herbaceous cocktails. I have no idea when cocktail hour ended, but I do know that it was the appropriate end to a glorious day in San Sebastian’s Food Nirvana.