Saturday, December 11, 2010
Temptations of Tapas
Enjoying some Tasty Tapas.
Wine in a Glass - I Fell in Love Just a Little Bit.
Drinking with the Spanish on a Monday afternoon.
It was surprisingly warm this past Monday, almost 20 degrees! So, Dennis and I thought there was no better way to spend the afternoon than by heading down to San Sebastian, Spain. We were a bit disappointed to find that all the shops were closed, but on the plus side all the bars were open. It must have been some sort of holiday or maybe this happens every Monday afternoon, but the streets were just packed with people. The bars and restaurants were even worse, people were spilling out into the streets, hands full, with wine in one hand and a plate of tapas in the other. Everyone was in a good mood, presumably because all the tourists had gone home and now they could enjoy what they do best: eat, drink and socialize! We thought it looked pretty fun, so we decided to join in and spent the afteroon hoping from bar to bar drinking wine and sampling tapas. It was fabulous!
First thing to note, tapas aren't tapas here in San Sebastian, instead the Basques call them pintxos, and you are charged by the number of pintxos that you put on your plate. The bars and restaurants were packed. There was maybe the odd tiny table tucked away in a corner, but other than that it was standing room only with people even spilling out into the streets. The atmosphere was incredibly lively and you literally had to either squeeze and push your way up to the front of the bar or shout out your order from the back of the room. Since Dennis and I don't speak a word of Spanish, or Basque for that matter, we had no choice but to opt for the first plan of attack.
Once we finally made it to the front of the bar, I will admit that some of the pintxos did look a little alien, unidentifiable, and, I feared, inedible. Before us was what looked like some very strange and spiky food: tentacles protruding from canapes, custacean tails poking out of dollops of mayonnaise and deep fried squid bound with undercooked bacon just to name a few. We sheepishly started with the least intimidating thing on the counter, a mini sandwich stuffed with sliced meat and sauteed green pepper. It took several glasses of Ribera Del Duero (delicious red wine from Spain) to boost our confidence and before we knew it we were sampling some of the strangest and most delicious pintxos on the counter. Couldn't think of a better way to spend a Monday afternoon.