2012 was quite the ride…
Life is best enjoyed in the company of good friends, family and food.
I’ve been here only twice but already Bar Zeruko is one of my favorite pintxo bars. The chefs incorporate innovative techniques and flavors into their pintxos while maintaining some of their Basquenticity. So far I have consumed at least 10 different pintxos and not been disappointed. If this was the case in Boston, perhaps I’d take credit for consistently picking ‘the winners’, but only because I’ve lived in Boston all my life and am somewhat experienced at deciphering menu marketing jargon, aka reading between the lines or weeding through the bs. No, it’s not me. Zeruko just gets it right.
Who would think to pair cod jowl with foie? The unlikely pair fare well together because the foie is neither greasy nor uber rich. The acidity of the gelatinized sherry-like sheet balances the finish so your palate is left feeling clean, and ready for more pintxos.
As Zeruko is known for its bacalao, we proceeded to order more. Last time (as in two nights ago), la hoguera seemed to be the crowd favorite. I didn’t order it then because I figured it was all show. In this case I love to be proved wrong. The smoke smell is more potent than it tastes. The actual flavor it imparts unto the tender bacalao is quite subtle and perfectly so. We ate as directed, ‘self-grilling’ the bacalao for one minute on each side then topping it on the herbalicious bread chip. Divine. However, I did find the oozy, fizzy shot of green (perhaps a combination of sparkling wine and some herb purée) to be superfluous.
Every txipiron pintxo I’ve had in SS so far, I’ve loved. SS is squid heaven. So fresh, so supple. Here the chefs made the txipiron into a tartare patty (hence, hamburgesa) and seared it on each side just enough to crust, not too much to cook it through. Here texture is everything. Sandwiched between the airy tinta cloud and a crunchy crouton base, the ‘hamburgesa’ is not your typical burger, but it succeeds. Don’t forget to dip in wasabi relish. Tasty, playful and Asianified.
Alas, I have arrived again in San Sebastián! I was just in time for the yearly 24-hour cacophanous festival, formally known as Tamborrada. There are various tales behind the origins of the celebration, dating as far back as the 18th century. It’s all history to me. Did somebody say festival?
We sang, we danced, we drummed. Various large groups of ‘chefs’, ‘soldiers’ and ‘musicians’ marched through and entertained us. Bravo! Their weeks of practice paid off! Continue reading
2010 was a glorious year in food and travel for me. I am very fortunate [and forever indebted to those who made it possible] to have experienced all the delicious journeys I did. Here’s a look back:
The tastiest, crispiest-skinned pork chop:
The freshest ikura (with edamame soy beneath):
Best intermezzo (passion fruit custard, XO rum granité, coconut foam):
Joël Robuchon, NYC
The best taste-bud-numbing spicy (lazi ji 辣子):
Favorite ‘cold’ dish veggie-seafood medley (dashi jelly with sea bean, bell pepper, zuchini, tako, white fish):
Best shaved-ice, a.k.a. mountain of ice with various bean and gelatinous toppings:
Best gelato (or in this case, lemon sorbet):
Best drinks (my favorites include: 1919, French 75, Old Cuban, Sazerac…just to name a few):
The ultimate naan bing (okay this was actually 2009 but I’m still remembering it!):
The best banh-mi sandwich [aptly hidden inside a convenience store on Larkin Street]. Don’t forget the jalapeños!
Saigon Sandwich, San Francisco
El mejor jamón [bellota]. Que rico:
Bar La Cepa, San Sebastián
Crispiest sea-bass [with safffron emulsion]:
The French Laundry, Yountville
The coolest gougère [pillow]:
Meadowood, St. Helena
Best cheese course (chevre, roquette, pain et miel confiture):
Une Table au Sud, Marseille
Favorite dessert [an ode to Alex Stupak] (vanilla-mango ice cream, yuzu, spruce):
Best ma soy (house soy sauce), anago and bonito [an ode to Yasuda-San] :
Sushi Yasuda, NYC
Best pasta (Fresh cut semolina spaghetti, crab, Santa Barbara sea urchin, basil):
Tastiest post-dessert treat (Olive oil ganache):
Best offal (Tête, langue et cervelle de veau croustillante, pommes vapeur et sauce gribiche aka crispy head, tongue and brain of veal with boiled potatoes and gribiche sauce):
Café Constant, Paris
The juiciest, most tender pork bun (“Chairman Bao” with Berkshire pork, haus relish, Taiwanese red sugar, crushed peanut, cilantro):
The tastiest non-standalone-uni dish (Santa Barbara uni with black soy bean yuba in shiitake broth):
The ultimate beef [flap meat] roasted over an open pit (Annual Portuguese American festival held in August):
Portuguese American Recreation, Woburn
The best chocolate tart (smooth, velvety, deep):
Les Cocottes, Paris
New Record! This is a higher euphoric high than one felt after setting a new record in the slot car derby from Mario Party. Thanks to all who read my blog today, perhaps a majority of those snowed-in [as I am currently] in Boston! I hope you continue to [presumably enjoy] and read, especially in 2011 as I cook, photograph and eat my way through Spain!