¿Quieres más pan?

My host grandmother Eva’s favorite phrase to ask me is “¿quieres más pan?” (do you want more bread)? I’ve learned that it’s not an option to consume less than 2 slices of bread. Honestly though, I’m okay with it. As I’ve mentioned before, Eva is from San Sebastián, a city in the Basque Country of Spain. My host mom, Belén, spent many of her summers in San Sebastián as a child, and they both go back regularly to visit family. The first thing I heard about San Sebastián was that it “has the highest concentration of Michelin stars in the world”- shout out to Shaan Merchant and Scandinavian Traveler for blessing me with this info. So, as you can guess, I had to find out more about San Sebastián from Eva and Belén.
I conducted an interview with Belén that made me feel like way too much of a blogger than I actually am. I asked her a little bit about the culture of food in San Sebastian and she summed it up beautifully: “La comida es lo primero…. Tienes que comer, y comer, y comer, y comer….No importa tu volumen.” (Food is first….you need to eat, and eat, and eat, and eat….Your size doesn’t matter). This was all I needed to hear to pack a bag, rent a car, and move my life to San Sebastian…but I decided it might be prudent to visit first ☺ Fortunately I was lucky enough to go with two people who also live to eat, Shaan and Karen.
It was our dream to have one really nice meal while in San Sebastián, so about a month in advance we made a reservation at Restaurante Alameda, which was given a Michelin Star in 2017! Finally the day of the dinner arrived on Friday, October 26th! We realized that our whole lives had been leading up to this moment, and that from after this point, it would be all down hill.
We had done a little (too much) research on the restaurant, so we had our sights set on one of the pre-fixed, multi-course menus. The chef first sent out an appetizer of a carrot pure topped with a light, whipped cheese and a chocolate infused with foie gras. (I just drooled typing that). The foie gras chocolate was…the reason for existence encased in a shell. Here are the pictures of the 6 courses in order and some pictures of the overall experience ☺. Don’t be concerned if a tear or two roll down your face….It’s normal.

Karen taking an analytical approach to figure out what’s she’s ordering

Carrot purée topped with light, whipped cheese (left) and foie gras chocolate (right)

Marinated mackerel topped with a passion fruit foam…similar to a ceviche

Shaan’s mid-meal bliss

This guy’s not as photogenic but: truffle, low-tempered egg yolk mixed with mushrooms and topped with a truffle purée

Hake with a pumpkin, orange purée (the little bits of crystalized orange peel were…wow)

Rib eye with Añana salt, smoked spinach pure, fired pepper, and roasted mushrooms (word to the wise: get yoself some Añana salt)

Chocolate molten cake topped with coffee ice cream, passion fruit purée, and a savory crumble

Almond cake (front left), orange marshmallow (front middle), and a coconut truffle infused with black truffle (front right) (the coconut truffle infused with black truffle was one of the most unique flavor combinations I’ve ever had)

The face of someone who’s just eaten too much and too well

In addition to the food, San Sebastián has some of the most gorgeous architecture and scenery. The Bay of Biscay surrounding the North of the city offers some of the clearest waters and softest sand you’ve ever experienced. I’ve made my decision: San Sebastián is definitely my favorite city I’ve visited in Europe this fall! I already can’t wait to come back, and I’m still here ☺. In the words of Shaan, San Sebastián “is what life is supposed to be like.” Here are some photos of the breath-taking San Sebastian and some of our experiences here!

Walking around the city

A little boy eating French fries and sitting on a dock (what more could you want?)

Beautiful writing in Basque on the Playa de la Concha

Play de la Concha. The most beautiful sight I’ve ever laid eyes on

Mercado de San Martín

Our incredible lunch of freshly baked sourdough bread, a goat cheese gorgonzola, semi-cured cheese, jamón serrano, chocolate croissants, almond shortbread, and chirimoya (“custard apple”). Wow, what a sentence

Thank you San Sebastian for filling my heart, tightening my waistband, and- as Belén would say- allowing food to be my “principal objective” this weekend.
*Thank you to Karen for a large portion of these pictures!

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