Best Drinks of 2011: Txomín Etxaniz

Don’t forget to cross your T’s and cross your X’s. I’m talking Txakolí.

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Best eats of 2011: Etxebarri

2011 was a very special year for me in food, drink and travel. I spent the year working at Restaurante Martín Berasategui in northern Spain so naturally, I have many fond memories of the feasting I did in and around Spain. Grab a snack and enjoy the next few mouth-watering posts as my belly remembers 2011:

goat’s butter, toast, charcoal from the grill

Asador Etxebarri | Atxondo, Spain

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RobinFood Appreciation Dinner

I’m sad RobinFood filming is on hiatus for the next month, but this left us all the more reason to celebrate. And celebrate we did. Martín hosted us in his sociedad gastronómica, Zubi-Gain, in Parte Vieja of San Sebastián with the camera crew, RobinFood office team, neighbors (yes, we invited our neighbor Migueltxo, also the supplier of our hen-to-table-eggs), MB kitchen crew and more amigos. . A festive frenzy it was:

Garrote!

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Real Sociedad

Courtesy of Sammic, Athena and I had the rare opportunity to attend a Real Sociedad (THE fútbol team of Gipuzkoa) match against their rivals, Osasuna (Pamplona). You’d think in a small province in Basque country, a local fútbol match would draw in a decent crowd, but a full house? Note the spectators sitting on the stairs and above the nose-bleed seats. There are some hardcore fútbol fans out here, Martín included!

Locos

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Guggenheim Bilbao

On tuesday, which according to our work schedule would technically be our sunday, we took the bus to Bilbao (beel-bOW), a larger nearby city home to the Guggenheim. We  checked out the “Haunted” exposition but I found the architecture in both the Guggenheim and Bilbao far more interesting:

Metro

The metros are super clean. Am I in Singapore? Tokyo? Nope, Bilbao. Read more here.

First Impressions

Ah, finally le weekend (monday and tuesday for me) has arrived. It’s been a long but fantastic first week at Restaurante Martín Berasatégui, now aptly dubbed “El Castillo” (The Castle). I’ve been learning so much I don’t even know where to begin. The food, the management, the people, the singing, the passion, the movements, the aromas…the more I learn, the less I know. The entire, magical experience of being here every day and spending the 80+ hours at the restaurant fuels my curiosity and tickles my mind. I can’t get over how intellectually stimulating this is. Woosh! Okay, let’s focus on these bits.

The Jefes, The Management, King Arthur and his knights:

I’m referring to the top dogs at Restaurante Martín. Did you know they congregate around a [rectangular] table in the middle of the kitchen? Genius setup. This is the hub of power, intellect, decades of experience. From here the jefes (chefs/bosses) can see and manage their teams during prep and also congregate to review details of the day’s work. It’s also their gathering place for meals, guest diners and fútbol viewing. Yes, you heard me right. There is a huge LED televisión in the kitchen and Martín puts on the fútbol action every night. iEpa! Again, genius. Another reason why he is the King.
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