Thursday, May 19, 2005

I heart San Sebastian

About a gazillion years ago I went to Bordeaux and San Sebastian. Okay, it was really in March. My dad had a business trip in Bordeaux, and my mom works for United Airlines. Together, this adds up to a weekend in France! My dad rented a car so we drove down to San Sebastian.

On the way we stopped in Biarritz, an ocean town "exposed to the sea breeze, nestling in the Bay of Biscay." (Loosely translated from the website.) We looked at the pretty pretty water, then ate salad.

Looks yummy, right? But the real eating began in San Sebastian, later that night. My parents and I wandered around Parte Vieja, a mostly pedestrian area full of bars. We don't speak any spanish, and I doubted my german would get us very far, so mostly we pointed. We discovered you just go to a bar, drink a little, eat a little, settle your bill, then walk on to the next bar. Mercifully, they pour small drinks, or else after three places my vision would have been this blurry:

I guess as it was, I *did* have a lot to drink! I think there were some people celebrating something because a whole parade of people were walking around, shouting some songs and banging their drums. Or maybe that's just a typical night.
We started at Bar Astelena:

These were heavenly. I was really never a big fan of anchovies, but they weren't too salty! Next, we tried some cooked pintxos:

Luckily, somebody told us that we were to grab a plate of what we wanted and the kitchen would cook it for us, or else we would have been eating raw scallops! The other things we really couldn't figure out exactly what they were, but they were deep-fried and had meat inside, so we were happy.
After that, we went to a couple other places, where we had a yummy marinated squid salad and a block of manchego the size of my head, as well as some more anchovies - wrapped around garlic, around olives, on get the picture. Stuffed, we headed back to our hotel...and the next few weeks were spent lamenting the fact that San Francisco doesn't have it's own Parte Vieja where I can stumble around, drinking tiny drinks and eating fabulous food without going broke. :)

We drove back to Bordeaux the next day, picked up my brother at the train station, then went to do some serious gastronomic damage. My mother and I tackled a skate filet with a yummy caper sauce and my dad and brother had manly meat. Together, we had an entire bottle of wine - a major accomplishment considering I'm drunk after half a glass, my mom will only have a couple of sips, and brother isn't even 21 yet. I was a little tipsy walking back to the hotel and my family laughed at me as I wobbled around.
I'm still full thinking of all the caneles and croissants I ate! And can I just say how much I love escargot? Yum. We talked to a lot of locals (very friendly people in Bordeaux!!) who loved the fact that we were from San Francisco - "ah yes! San Francisco! Relaxed like here in Bordeaux, not crazy like New York and Paris!" Except all said in a french accent. :)

Other pictures from that trip are here.

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