Pinchos. Pintxos. Of all the days and all the dishes, it is Pintxos that represent my hopes and dreams for what a tour along the North coast of Spain would deliver.
Pintxos are the Pho of Spain. If you've been in a Spanish restaurant and had a prawn salad atop a slice of bread and you weren't in San Sebastian then you didn't have Pintxos. It's that simple.
To celebrate this monopolistic prowess, every bar in San Sebastian is absolutely overflowing with them. Around the cobbled streets of the old town you can't walk ten meters without pulling up alongside an oversize bar laden with plates. There must be a hundred bars, each home to 50 plates. Arranged on each plate is a dozen or more two-bite ensembles of goodness. That's 120,000 mouthfuls of culinary pleasure. You did it Spain. You did it!
There's a wedge of brie and roasted peppers, squid and lettuce, tortilla and quail's egg. A pork chop, crab salad, smoked salmon and mustard. All absolute heaven. You barely notice that half of your wallet is missing and half a dozen barely touched the sides. It's a feeding frenzy. Jubilation. As if that's not enough, San Sebastian throws us another dish from nowhere; Pimientos de Padrón. Amazing. Hat's off Spain, you did it.
Euphoric, we went off in search of art or architecture in the rain and found ourselves beaming at Moneo's rainbow-lit Kursaal. Okay it's a couple of oversize cubes but their jaunty angles hit the right tone for a balanced, vibrant city. With the humongous San Telmo refit and Michelin Stars falling from the sky there's clearly money here. Chillida's iconic sculptures must be combing for more than the wind.
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