Coming from the land of McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts to the place with the most Michelin starred restaurants per square kilometer in Europe, I think I speak for all of us when I say that I was hoping to try many new foods. Back home, I have been somewhat of a picky eater, but coming here I knew I’d have to forgo that part of myself if I wanted the full experience. And so far, I have been pretty successful. The more a dish sounds like a food I would never intend to eat, the more I think I should at least try it. This mindset was really useful when it came to the pintxo tour in Parte Vieja, and I even made a rule for myself that I had to try at least one bite of everything put in front of me. I would strongly recommend this method, as it allowed me to discover that some of the dishes I enjoy the most are the ones I expected to dislike.
As I sit in Casa Vergara writing this blog post while surrounded by pintxos, I would be remiss if I did not include which pintxos I personally tried that stood out. Of course, this is almost all of them because everything is pretty amazing, so bear with me. I was immediately out of my comfort zone with the first pintxo I tried, as it included anchovy, olive, and green peppers; all things I typically do not like. Pinxto Gilda ended up being one of my favorite pintxos of the night. I’m especially happy that I enjoyed this pintxo because it is considered the original pintxo, put together in the 1940s by Txepetxa, inside the bar Casa Valles. Moving on, I then tried risotto with idiazabal cheese, and while I usually don’t even like risotto, our group ended up lovingly dubbing it Mac and cheese. Some of the meats that I tried were incredibly good, including the ribs, pig’s ear, and beef cheek carietta. The strangest looking pintxo that I chose to try was sea urchin and I’m very glad I did, I would say it was my favorite pintxo if I had to pick. We also tried jamón from a few different locations which was great as well. We wrapped it all up with Basque burnt cheesecake which is not a pintxo technically but was great nonetheless, even though I usually don’t like cheesecake.
The food here in San Sebastián is quite different from back in the states. They use way less salt or seasonings at all, and the components to their food is very fresh and natural. This is probably one factor that contributes to Basque women’s long life expectancy. I do not know how I feel about the lack of spice or seasoning, but trying this other type of diet is very cool. Experiencing everything here is so new and trying new things is the main theme of the whole trip for me. When I sadly return to the states I will try to maintain this style of being open to new foods, music, and everything I can possibly experience.