You know you’re at home in País Vasco when the owner shuts down for the night, but invites you inside anyway for jamón y txakolí… It had almost been a full year since my departure from my home away from home in País Vasco, the beloved city I’d like to call “mine”, formally known as San Sebastián. After vacillating for weeks over whether or not to purchase my plane tickets to SS, I on a sort-of-whim, bought my tickets the night before and less than 24 hours later, here I was. Literally.
Without having to think a tick, I stopped here at my favorite pintxos bar in Gros, the lesser-known part of San Sebastián away from the hustle and bustle of Parte Vieja (Old Town), Mesón Bidea Berri, where the Chef/owner, Antonio was just about to close up shop for the evening. He had his door halfway down (or perhaps halfway up?) when I popped my head in for a surprise visit with two good friends, Yunju and Hyun, the latter you may recognize from such blog posts as Seoul Sister. And it was only a matter of time before he insisted we stay for a few bites and a few more txakolís. Antonio began hand-slicing jamón as we chatted and played catch-up for the next couple of hours. We chatted about everything: his family, his Chinese granddaughter, my photograph on the wall (Feliz Navidad, from a whole dynasty of Asians!), travel, and his former days of jamón slicing for Joselito (he still gets invited to do so, but usually turns them down. Turns them down–ha!)
The pintxos kept on coming (and might I add, some of my favorites: jamón Joselito, lomo, boquerones, bocadillo de pringà) and the txakolí kept on flowing–indicators of yet another magical evening in SS. Oh how I had missed the nutty Spanish ibérico and the acidic yet sweet and supple boquerones (anchovies)…one bite of the bocadillo de pringà, easily one of my all-time favorite pintxos in SS, and I was genial. Fantástica.
We could not have asked for a more welcoming, delicious, casual, and hospitable experience. When the time came to finally say gabon (goodnight), we promised we would return shortly [the day after next] with friends for más y mejor!
Mesón Bidea Berri Calle Carquizano 9 San Sebastían, España