Seem Real Land

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Eating Spain

Watched the movie Barbie which I enjoyed, except the music (also another flick about Nicholas Cage invading people’s dreams, which though it shared an idea with my favourite flick Paprika, wasn’t very good) so when I arrived at the Inclan Brutal Bar, actually not far from my hotel, I ordered the Barbie Cocktail.


I had chosen the Inclan for my first dining experience in Spain because the menu seemed inventive, both with cocktails and fusion food. The Barbie head is vast, requiring two hands to lift it up to drink from.




I’m not sure what Red Fruits are. They would pop up on a magnificent langoustine dish I’d have at a restaurant in San Sebastian. For dinner, I was intrigued by the tuna/watermelon dish. It sounded like an interesting fusion. Not so much. Too much raw tuna taste, not enough watermelon.

My second cocktail was in an equally hard to hold head, called The Cruela Deville, from the Dalmations movie I saw as a child.

♠️?CRUELLA DE VIL ?￰゚マᄏ♀️?

Fruity and citrus cocktail. Pear flavor ? intense with citrus apple aftertaste

The artichoke dish in its vast container was the highlight of the meal. I was amazed at how good it was. When I returned to Madrid at the end of my trip, I went back to the Inclan to see if the dish was still as good. Actually the artichoke dish had fallen off a cliff. I had it with foie, but that wasn’t why it was no longer wonderful. This time my two cocktails were The Mask and the Joker,

The Mask




Rum-based cocktail, fruity, refreshing, slightly citrusy with notes of apple and cinnamon.


The strawberries next to the Mask are from a far more successful meal, a big chunk of Burrata with injections of pesto and tomato juice. Delicious!

Fresh burrata injected with basil emulsion and Asian Mery. Accompanied by our pickled strawberries.

Our national burrata of the boys of Biribil made in Bilbao with milk from Spanish cows. Injected with a basil emulsion, an alcohol-free bloody mary-based on shisho and accompanied by our pickled strawberries.


Tudela artichoke flower confit in extra virgin oil with amontillado veloute and grated foie (optional)

Marinated tuna tataki ? watermelon ?

Marinated tuna tataki ? watermelon ? and lemon sauce ? and coriander ?

So my final meal in Spain WAS excellent. Just not what I was expecting. No idea why the artichoke dish should have gone from miraculous to mediocre. Perhaps If I came back to Madrid in the future, the Burata would have tumbled into mediocrity and the artichoke dish would ascend again.

When I had entered the bar, I told the woman I had a reservation at 6. In Spanish. Not a good idea. She thought I made a reservation for 6 people! This was clarified when we switched to English. After my meal, I ask her for directions, and instead of just telling me, she leads me outside and down a street until my destination is clear, all the while telling me parts of Madrid and Spain I should visit in search of great food. My first taste of Spanish hospitality.

The next day, a breakfast bar for breakfast and no tea the whole trip. Adjustments must be made when traveling. A quite enjoyable Museum of Anthropology. Though small and old, it has some gems. A woman my age came up to me, and speaking English, observed “there sure are a lot of cultures!” Yes, lucky for us, there are. Seeing the intricately carved utensils from the Philippines reminds me I haven’t had any real food yet today.

Relying on my phone, which was useless getting me to the bar the previous night, I mistakenly try and walk to the Archeology Museum. Lost, I hail a cab. In excellent English, he tells me to see the Woman of Elsche, a 2400 year old bust. He’s quite right, well worth seeing.

I discover the museum has a little cafe with some wonderful food and drink options. I’ve heard about tinto, what Spaniards drink in the summer instead of sangria (which is more the tourist beverage). Basically, red wine and lemon soda, maybe with a slice of orange. Sangrias usually have brandy or some other strong spirit, but this is close to what I used to drink at home. Served with cheese on a toothpick! Wonderful!

Billed as a Pintxo, essentially ratatouille with tuna in puff pastry. Delicious, particularly with the tinto.

Next, I take a cab to the Velasquez Tech museum. Why am I the only guest here? It should be crowded. A spectacular museum, devoted to just one Velasquez painting (and the only one I like) Las Maninas. One mirrored room on which images are projected reminds me of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Rooms as well as Meow Wolf. Then it’s off to the Thyssen for more art, primarily modern stuff. Their website mentions their terrace restaurant whose menu is quite impressive. When I order, I’m told they only have sandwiches now. I get a croissant with cream cheese and walnuts, with a glass of cava. A good snack.

On studying what to eat in Madrid, I decided on El Minibar. They bragged about their award winning tapas, and they seemed inclined to fusion-type food. Should go well after very fusiony Inclan from the night before. Things started out well with a free tapa that tasted much like the tuna sandwich Fumiyo had made for me to eat before my Thursday flight. They are WAY into tuna in Spain. Thankfully, so am I.

After this freebee, I order their “award winning” Breton. I’m unimpressed. Basically just a chunk of hot cheese covered with “tomato jam” that is far too sweet. The cheese hardens most unpleasantly.

Also far too big. I told my rather sullen server I wanted tapas, not raciones (the large size tapas) but she ignored me and brought me more than I could eat, even if I were enjoying the food. Next I tried eggplant wrapped with bacon in a thick tomato sauce with feta cheese and orange. Well it Sounded good….

If the orange had been blended into the tomato sauce, the dish might have worked, but alas. I try and get a cab back to my hotel but am told that area is car-less today. I take the metro one stop. No problem at all.

Sunday morning I head back to the airport for my flight to Bilbao. I hadn’t taken Madrid seriously for its food, mostly the museums. Bilbao also had the Guggenheim, but I’ve come north for the food.

I finally have some fruit in the Madrid airport awaiting my flight. The flight is short, less than an hour but it’s like coming to a different world. Madrid had been hot, Bilbao is cold with intimations of rain. My non-English speaking cabby points out the Guggenheim with pride as we drive by. Will go there this afternoon. He can’t drive all the way to my hotel in the old town so let’s me off near a bridge. I look around for the street my hotel is on, called Loteria. A man comes up to me to see if I need assistance. I ask him where Loteria is and he points vaguely into the distance and then asks for a Euro. I ignore him. Finding a group of people my age who are engaged in a lively conversation, I ask them where Loteria is and they explain, in English no better than my Spanish. I finally find the hotel, very new building between old ones. Bilbao, like Madrid, is a great combination of old and new buildings. The pleasant, efficient receptionist gives me a code to enter the hotel as well as my room so I go up and change from sweat pants into cords. Lucky I wore sweat pants on the flight, as men wearing belts had to take them off to get into the secure zone of Terminal 2.

Olatz, the receptionist, tells me to take the metro, which I was interested in anyway because it’s by a famous architect. Plus, I’d experimented with the Madrid metro the day before, successfully. The main pintxos place I want to go to is near the same station as the Guggenheim. Well, El Globo is closed- it’s Sunday, but I have 3 pintxos in a crowded bar called Zurekin next door. I chose one topped with a prawn, which turned out to be the worst of the 3. The mushroom bite and the cod (bacalao, ubiquitous here) were very tasty, with a glass of white wine. I acquire the habit of saying ‘vino blanco’ instead of Cava as it’s cheaper and usually just as good. Then the long walk to the Guggenheim.

Stunning from the outside. Inside there are some large paintings- the walls are immense, but the best thing is Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room, which, just like the one I visited in Vegas 5 years ago, one is only allowed to be inside the room for a minute. Then with the phone help, I go back to the subway and hopefully to my hotel. Only, that is not to be the case. My phone delivers me to a place far from my hotel on Loteria. I ask around and no one in the neighborhood has heard of Ama Bilbao. I call the place and the receptionist, Olatz, leaves her post and walks over to get me. An even greater act of kindness than the one from the young woman at the Inclan bar two nights ago.

Turns out Ama Bilbao is close to Plaza Nueva, the main pintxos area. I sample a few, but the pintxos people were eating in the YouTube videos seem unknown to these places. I make a reservation at Victor Montes (since 1849). Having changed shirts, I ask Olatz what she thinks of my shirt. She approves and I tell her the story of buying it in Cordoba when I was last in Spain in 2002. Turns out that was the year she was born.

It seemed fitting to dine here as this was the restaurant Frank Gehry dined with city folks when he signed on to create the Guggenheim Museum.

The meal was divided in 2, an excellent tuna dish and then a salad utterly lacking in excellence. I did have a bottle of wine for the price of a glass in other places and an interesting chat with a couple from Melbourne.

Wild red tuna, “ajoblanco” of coconut with almond (typical Andalusian soup) and roast red pepper jelly.

There appear to be two kinds of tortilla. When I was last in Spain, tortilla meant a potato omelette. It still does some places (bus stations, for example) but at other places, it looks like an apple pie, is full of potatoes and onions in a thick brown sauce that bears no relation to its omelette name sharer. I had the apple-pie resembling tortilla at a place in Plaza Nueva called Sorginzulo. It was good. Then I visit a restaurant with the same name in a different section of the Plaza and finally enter gourmet paradise;

Apple, tomato, cheese in pastry, along with a small glass of Basque cidre. I have to learn how to make this. Far and away the best pintxo-tapa I had on the trip, and the trip is because of my search to eat the best possible food. I had two of them.

After that, I went to next door to the vastly famous Gure Toki, where the surly servers reluctantly served me a mango and apple pintxo and a glass of sangria. Didn’t taste either fruit, but not bad. Will come back here later.

Walking around the Pintxos paradise that is Plaza Nueva, I noticed scallops with lime available in the restaurant part of La Olla, which appeared to be the most awarded pintxos bar/restaurant in the area. I had made a reservation the day before. Mmm, limes and scallops. The best scallop dish I’ve ever eaten was at Le Bernardin in NYC, lunch with my late friend Dexter Fong, which included scallops in a coconut/lime broth. Would la olla’s lime scallops be of that caliber?

Where’s the lime? When I walked by the place, it said “lime spheres.” Now home in Vancouver and looking at the menu, it just says citrus sauce. Maybe an unknown citrus. I sure didn’t taste lime, or anything beneficially sour. A serious disappointment. The dish wasn’t bad, just Not As Advertised. The artichoke dish I had after the un-sour scallops was far worse. I mean, really, how much harm can you do to artichokes? La Olla sets out to find out:

Artichokes from Tudela I.G.P. with acorn-fed Iberian ham 16.5 Euros. A vast waste of money. It was a genuine struggle to eat. Later, I walked back to Gure Toki and had their yaki tori with potatoes on the skewer instead of the usual green pepper or green onion. Not memorable in itself, but compared to the insult to artichokes I’d just painfully consumed, It was the highlight of the evening’s dining.

The following morning, up early to take a bus to Donostia. I was scanned by the bus driver and just as I was putting my bag in the luggage section, the driver ran up to me and told me my ticket was for the wrong day. It was actually for 2 days ago! Bummer. But no problem buying a new ticket, cheap, around 7 euros, and leaving in a couple of hours. Now hungry, I had my idea of a tortilla, the potato omelet (with guest: Tuna!) that I had breakfasted on regularly in my previous Spanish trip, as well as a bottle of water, for a tiny sum, from an English-speaking waitress. Maybe the highlight of my Bilbao trip.

The purpose of the journey was to go to San Sebastian/Donostia, called the culinary capitol of Europe, if not the world. At least Bourdain thought so, and I have read nothing to the contrary. A short, though painful bus ride (all 3 of my bus trips would seriously annoy my back). And here I am, in food paradise. Or am I?

What you see when you emerge from the underground bus station in Donestia/San Sebastian. I found my hotel but no one was there. I got my code from text and went up to my room. And I thought the room in Bilbao was great. This was even has a great back yard!

I began to unpack, and then discovered I didn’t have my bag. Did I leave it in the cab? I quickly elevated downstairs and found a German woman holding my bag. She had already called the authorities in the hotel; opened the bag and found my passport, thus knew my name, and was holding the bag for me. I was so relieved!

Now, where to eat? The map on my phone recommends Bar Bergara close by. It has a Michelin star. Rightfully so.

Over two nights, I had Txalupa: mushroom, king prawns, cream and cava over puff pastry with cheese au gratin; Itaxo: monkfish and prawns with cream of leeks, txakoli wine; Au Gratin: ratatouille with garlic mousseline sauce and Iberian cured ham shavings, Udaberri: cream courgettes with crayfish and ham over a puff pastry basket, all of which I enjoyed. Inspired a desire to use puff pastry to create things when I return to Vancouver.

I took no delight in the Duck Delights: crystallized duck, apple, Calvados liquor, onion and pine nuts with puff pastry. The one bad pintxo I had with apple

Also on the minus side, Scallop: scallop and prawns in a light bechamel sauce, cooked au gratin.

Boletus spoon: Boletus sauteed with fresh tomatoes, cream and prawns. By far the best mushroom dish I had in Spain. Overall, I loved the ingenuity of these pintxos. Reminded me of my last trip to Spain in 2002 where I had a great variety of wonderful tapas and pintxos everywhere in Spain. Gave me a real appreciation of puff pastry. As it was my first bar in Donostia, I assumed all the rest of them would be of this quality. I was wrong.

My Donostia Pintxos app recommended a bar not far away called Bar Egia for its asparagus dish. When I got there, the kitchen had closed so I didn’t have that, but instead, from the cold pintxos on the counter, I had a toothpick filled with egg, tomato, tuna and Asparagus! plus the Spanish equivalent of Yaki Tori. Both excellent. Things are starting off well in what Bourdain called The Food Capitol of the World.

La Cepa’s website said they open at 10. They shooed me away, telling me to come back at 11. Thankfully there was a fascinating museum about Basque history in an old convent nearby.

When La Cepa finally let me in, I was blown away by their cold asparagus in a sort of oil and vinegar dressing. It did to asparagus what Inclan did to artichokes! The baccalao stew next to it was the worst version of cod I had in Spain.

After that, I crossed the bridge into the old town and walked around. Sure is pretty. Had a wonderful scallop and a failed mushroom pintxo at venerable Bar Martinez, a very friendly bar. Tried to get into Bar Gambara but it was too crowded. Finally just went back to Bergara for some more of their creative uses of puff pastry.

Before that, I dropped by a sort of pastry bar called Labrit for its famous Basque cheesecake.

Later, hung out at the highly recommended Bar Desy drinking sangria with a British banker and his wife, a native of Donostia. They had both traveled extensively, including to Vancouver and Japan. I asked her about the lack of homeless people in Spain, such a contrast to Vancouver and American cities, even Tokyo. “We take care of each other,” she told me. My wife suggested I just didn’t go to the areas of the cities that were full of homeless, but, au contraire, taxis and subways took me all over the cities I stayed in without every seeing anyone sleeping on the street. Considering how helpful people were to me throughout the trip, I can feel what she told me was true.

The next day, I had a reservation at LABe, the city’s center of what used to be called Molecular Gastronomy (Now called Modernist Cuisine). I’ve had a lot of it over the years, generally pretty good stuff. Their website lists lamb meat balls with lemon cauliflower. Lemon Cauliflower? I love both lemon and cauliflower. I exchange lengthy emails with LABe about modernist cuisine, which, although invented in France, has spread throughout the world thanks to the ever-genial Spanish chef Jose Andres (maybe the foremost humanitarian of our era, though I’m no fan of his food!) and others. OK, LABBy, show me what you got;

They bragged about their cocktails on their website, but when I asked for one (very much in the realm of molecular gastronomy) they told me only in the summer. Bummer. But Spanish white wine is always fine.

This was a steep descent from the miraculous asparagus I’d had at Bar Cepa the previous day. Sauce is good, but so what? This isn’t France!

The lamb meatballs were tasty, and I’ve only had one other lamb dish I liked (son-in-law’s Lamb Popsicles, a toned down recipe from Vij’s cookbook; the popsicles at his restaurant are far too spicy for my delicate palate). So, good on you, Labby. But the creamed cauliflower was utterly devoid of lemon. It did not live in the same universe as lemon! Like the immense absence of lime in the Scallops with Lime Spheres at la olla in Bilbao and the un-oranged tapa at El Minibar, does the presence of citrus in a dish send the Spanish chefs into a Trump-like flurry of untruth? Scary.

There was a park next to Laabbee I decided to explore. It was also next to a taxi stand, with a taxi driver asleep at the wheel, parked there. This was good. I’d planned to go to Donostia’s famous Aquarium that afternoon and a cab would be appreciated. I sauntered into the park. It was quite pretty:

As you can see, the park is right up against people’s houses. I’m sure my sibling came from one of them, as he/she did not appear to be wild.

Seeing the cat really made my day. Spain is full of pet dogs, but on my 7th day in Spain, I finally see my first cat. Alas, the taxi is gone and no other appears. It’s a LONG WALK to the Aquarium. I mean, it’s a pretty city, but, this is ridiculous! And you can’t hail a cab like you can in Madrid; you have to go to designated taxi stands, and they are few and feebly staffed out in the suburbs.

The sauce is very good. As are the vegetables. The grouper, well, at least it doesn’t taste fishy. Increasingly, I’m getting the sense that my vaunted aspirations for this city have been misplaced.

I wander over to the aquarium. Not really a good idea to look at swimming fish after just having eaten fish. Still, I found it quite moving. There is a room where you can contemplate the in-rushing sea, Basque-ness itself. Watching the fish swimming merrily about was joyous. Also some vertical animals, eels? I didn’t know animals could swim vertically, meaning as vertical beings. It is as if mathematics is suddenly altered. One lives for revelations.

There is not a lot open the afternoons. Finally found an open bar, Antonio’s, which brags about having the best tortilla in the city. Awaiting that, I endure some sad tuna/tomato salad. How could a whole culinary culture fail to delight me with its cavalier treatment of both? When the famous tortilla makes its appearance, its a celebration. Free tortilla for everybody. Hungry people, throughout the world, come here and eat. Even if it’s not very good.

I’m kind of depressed by the plummeting enjoyment I’m getting from the food, which Is why I’m here to begin with. I cross the very pretty bridge, it is a city of visual delights even if it culinary treasures are hidden, mixing new and old, I drop by a futuristic bar called Baga Baga Faktoria to sip a glass of wine and look out on the pretty city. I notice a beautiful woman sitting some distance from me, on the bar, chatting with a couple guys. I think, beauty is always a surprise.

My last day in Donostia, I have a lunch reservation at a serious restaurant, astelena. Finally, I’ll get the good stuff this city has been dangling before me but not serving me in the quantity and quality that brought me in search of in this Basque land. Or will I?

The amuse bouches in the restaurants I visit in Spain tend towards the soup. I’m a big fan of soup.

This is a failure, as much as in LABe and restaurants to come. The chef came out and asked if liked his invention, the mushroom mayonnaise? Well, yes, but I do not choose to fill up on filling things before getting into the serious protein, the upcoming langoustines and hake. I tell him his pricey asparagus isn’t nearly as good as the simple asparagus at Le Cepa and Bar Egia, which is more like dive bars then what astelana aspires to be. He tells me cuz we only use the good stuff, organic asparagus while they use inferior vegetables. Yeah, I answer, but theirs tastes better.

This is one of the best things I ate in Spain. Langoustines, with red fruit, whatever they are. It was miraculous food.

Chef asked how I liked the hake. I had wanted to try this fish, new to me, but ubiquitous in menus here. I told him, the sauce was great, the clams helped too, as did the wine. Without them, my tongue would be insulted by a fishy fish. I think he understood, but all palates are different, eh? I came to Donestia for these kinds of conversations and culinary elevations, which are proving fewer than expected. I will leave Donestia for Logrono tomorrow morning. Will the food be better there?

Later I had a spectacularly mediocre tomato salad at Muxumartin. There was a tour group there. I shudder to think this is the summit of Basque cuisine these curious tourists would encounter. I’ve eaten better food in Vancouver, and that’s hard to do.

Raining in Logrono when I got there, as usual. Had to ask a guy where the place was but, upon finding it, it’s delightful. Every place I’ve stayed as been getting better and better and this is the best yet. Apartment Suite Para Dos. You could not find a better place to stay than here.

Walking around downtown, I feast on the crab gratin at Perre Portales. Their rose isn’t so good, but their white wine comes through, along with the vegetable roll.

I have a reservation for a minor league bar which serves, accordingly, minor league asparagus (do you notice a theme here) and equally low division calamari. Then, next door to Umm, a Michelin starred pintxos place where I have a superb apple/foie pointxo. At last, good food!

The next day I have a lunch reservation at a serious restaurant. They have sea bass, my usual fish in Vegas.

However, their tomato salad is frighteningly bad. Do you notice a theme here? Great food and then horrendous food in the same meal. Not what I was expecting in Spain.

In the afternoon, I go over to Logrono’s most iconic pintxos bar, Soriana. They only serve one dish, “champis,” mushrooms on a stick. It’s not bad but hardly deserving icon status.

Later, I go back to Umm, this time the foie is off the menu, but their albondigas and pulled pork mini-sandwich are delicious.

Go to another bar just serving cheese, so I can take the cheese back to my hotel and make ham/cheese croissants for tomorrow’s travel breakfast.

A painful buss ride to Zaragosa, some minor league food, and then, how wonderful, a Train to Madrid. My back celebrates its freedom from pain. Cab to La Reina Sophia for its cascade of beauty, plus a wonderful garden bar. Have a good tuna tataki and a flavorless chicken/mustard attempt at food at Healthy Greens next to my hotel. Also a decent Gin Tonic at a nearby bar. I had heard this was now the national drink of Spain, but I’ve yet to see it advertised as such. Don’t know if it was a local gin, but it was surprisingly good.

My last day in Spain begins with a metro ride to the Prado. Much beauty is absorbed. Particularly the Bruegel. Seeing my 2nd fave painting, Las Maninas was as fantastic as when I first saw it 22 years ago. My brain was very happy.

I had intended to take Metro back to my hotel to lunch on soup at a place near my hotel, but found another place closer to my metro station offering tomato soup. Tablafina. It wasn’t bad.

Also had 8 mini croquettes, all tasting the same, and the usual excellent wine. I paid with my credit card. Then got on the train for Plaza D’Espagna to see its Egyptian temple.

Also the Don Quixote statue is there, which I’d wanted to see.

But alas, it begins to rain and I’m far away from my metro so grab a cab. When the cab delivers me to my hotel, I discover my wallet is gone! I have some money in the room to pay the cabby, but I’m fearful of the loss. Did the wallet fall out of my bag at the restaurant? I return there and it did not. I go to the closest police station and report the loss.

Still rattled, I go back to Inclan to see if their artichoke dish is still as good. It is not. A steeper descent in taste has never been encountered. The burrata is good though and the cocktails, although not memorable, hover in the vicinity of drinkability.

Food Baseball Spain

Lufthansa flights: Double, picked off 2nd.

Both the beef dish and the scrambled eggs were very good, but my stomach does not want food in the middle of the night, complained all day the next day.


Inclan Brutal Bar: Drinks: 2 homers. Food: strike out, grand slam winning the division

Both Barbie and Cruella De Ville were excellent cocktails. The watermelon was overwhelmed by the fishy tuna. The artichoke dish was the best veg dish I’ve ever eaten.

MAN cafe: home run, bunt single, double but batter thrown out trying to stretch it to a triple.

My first tinto: homer. The accompanying tapa: bunt single. The pinxto was a double: puff pastry will be a thing in this trip, but as it cooled, it became hard to finish.

El Mini Bar: bunt single, double, two double plays and a ground out.

The free tapa tuna sandwich was good, the sangria was a double, the two pintxos were terrible and the 2nd sangria was the ground out.


Zurekin: 2 singles, one foul out, one single.

The bacalao and the mushroom pintxos were good. The prawn on Russian salad was not. Cava was good.

Victor Montes: Home run, strike out, single.

Tuna the best I had on the trip, where in I had a LOT of tuna. Salad was a failure. Wine was good.

El Globo: 2 weak singles, infield hit

The famous crab pintxo and its cod equivalent weren’t bad. Cold water was the infield hit.

Sorginzulo: single, walk, two 3-run home runs, 2 weak singles.

The tortilla the looked like an apple pie, my first such, a single. The cidre didn’t contribute. Then at its sister restaurant, the apple pintxo was so good I had 2 (the 3-run homers) and inspires me to re-create. It also elevated the sidra to weak single status.

Gure Toki: 3 singles

Its apple pintxo not bad but no real apple taste. The mango too, which was good as I don’t like mango. Sangria a single.

La olla: single, picked off first. Double play. Single.

Scallop dish was good but no promised lime! Artichoke thing a complete failure. Wine good.

Bilbao bus station: sharp single.

Excellent tuna omelet. English speaking waitress. Made the 2 hour wait for bus fly by.

Donostia/San Sebastian

Bar Bergara: 3 for 5, 2 walks.

English menu and waiter helped. Very inventive pintxos. The duck struck out as did the scallop,but the other 3 were very good. Sidra back to walk status.

Bar Egia: 3 singles.

Yaki tori thing, and the egg/tomato/tuna/asparagus thing also. Good wine too.

La Cepa: 2 singles, strike out, two 3-run homers

The bacalao stew was a loser but the cold asparagus in maybe, oil and vinegar was as good as the apple pintxo at Sorginzulo. Wine was good too.

Bar Martinez: food, one for 2. wine: 2 for 2

Scallop was good. Mushroom not so much. Wine was good too.

Bar Bergara again: food 3 for 4, drink hits into a triple play

Aperol Spritz one of the worst things I’ve ever drank. 3 of the 4 tapas were good. The foie with grape: didn’t taste the foie (good) or the grapes (bad). The ratatouille tapa was a double.

Labrit: 2 for 2

Cheesecake not as good as I was expecting but good. Wine with it also.

Baga Baga Faktoria: single

Drinkable white wine.

LABe: single, thrown out trying to stretch to a double, single, another single

After lengthy email, I discovered this was not the laboratory of gastronomy it bills itself as. The lemon cauliflower lacked lemon. The lamb meat balls were tasty as was the wine.

Restaurant Sebastian: 2 singles

The grouper sauce was excellent as were the vegetables but the fish wasn’t particularly inspired. Local wine was good.

Bar Antonio: Food 0 for 2, Wine, single

Minor league tuna/tomato salad and their famous tortilla were both strike outs. Wine was drinkable.

Muxumartin: Yet another bar that didn’t have what was on its menu. Another failed tomato salad. Good wine though. Food 0 for 1. Wine a good single.

Astelena: My main restaurant of the trip. Warm up soup: walk. Asparagus: reached first (mushroom mayonnaise) on error (unimpressive asp). langoustine: 3 run homer. Fish: ground out. Wine: single.

Other bar: pacharan (local liqueur) walk by itself, solid single with soda.

Breakfast at Donostia bus station: single. Highly edible omelet.


Perre Portales: double, 2 singles, one strike out

The crab thing was a good double, with good white wine singles. The Fajita de Verduras was but a single and the rose with it struck out.

Rostas: 2 walks, one single

Unimpressive asparagus again and edible but far from delicious squid. Drinkable wine for a single.

Umm: triple, single.

The Foie with apple was a triple. White wine a single

La Brasa de La Laurel: bunt single, hit into a double play, homer, single

The tiny soup warm up was a single. The tomato salad the worst I had in Spain: double play. Sea bass a homer. Wine a single.

Umm again: 3 doubles

Deserving its Michelin star: the albondigas, the pulled pork mini sandwich and the Tinto were all doubles.

La Casita: reaches first on an error, the usual wine single.

Cheese barely edible, but I bought it to make delicious ham&cheese croissants for the trip.

Zaragosa station cafe: walk, single

Food was forgettable but white wine was the usual single

Madrid again

La Reina Sophia bar: 2 walks

Forgettable cocktail, empanada was good when I got into it but it was a struggle.

Healthy Greens: 1 single, one double, one strike out

The 2nd best tuna (tataki) with salad, but chicken with mustard struck out. Wine, the usual single.

Bar: Gin Tonic a double

Hotel Restaurant Tablafina: 2 singles (one picked off) and a walk.

Tomato soup not bad, but too much. 4 kinds of croquettes all tasted the same. The usual wine single.

Inclan again: triple play, home run, 2 walks

The cocktails only walks this time. The burrata was a homer. The artichoke on the other hand, had gone to hell.

Flight back: 3 good hits: the pasta dish, the apple waffle and the wine all unexpected singles.