Monthly Archives: June 2014

Akelare: Bekarki

Menu number two from Akelare. Menu one is here.


Prawns from Fireplace
Prawns and french beans cooked in “Orujo” fireplace. Best dish at Akelare, hands down. Delicious sweet shrimp, reminiscent of ama ebi.

Foie Gras
Foie gras with “salt flakes and grain pepper”. So clever. The peppercorns are actually puffed rice and the salt flakes are sugar. The additional textures definitely enhance the foie.

Xangurro in its essence
Xangurro (crab) with pasta grains.

Red Scorpionfish
Red Scorpionfish, served with…

Umami! Dried and shaved konbu, I think.

Cod box with shavings
Cod with fried noodles.

Roasted Pigeon with Mole and Cocoa.

Milk and grape: Cheese & wine in parallel evolution.
Starting from the left, fresher grapes and milk all the way to blue cheese and Pedro Ximenez.

Tocino del Cielo
Orange “Tocino de Cielo” Sheet with Fruit Leaves. Scrape it off the plate and into your mouuuuth.

I think this was the best menu. Numnumnum, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the desserts.

Akelare: The Akelare Classics

Now for the last menu! The Akelare Classics.

Lobster Salad
Lobster salad with cider vinegar. A well done lobster salad. Nothing groundbreaking.

Pasta Carpaccio
Pasta carpaccio, piquillo and iberic, with parmesan shrooms. The ham looking bits are actually pasta! And the pasta tastes like meat even though it’s made from veggies. The texture is, not surprisingly, like pasta once you start chewing.

An add on course of grilled peas and asparagus (the charcoal looking bits). Dad was hoping to relive Asador Exteberri’s marvelous peas, but these came nowhere close. Good, but not quite as life changing.

Rice with periwinkles
Rice with snails and periwinkles in tomato and basil film. Snails, rice. About what you’d expect.

Red Mullet
Red Mullet with Sauce “Fusili”. The curly bits are sauce in magic. The fish was also very well done.

Carved Beef
Carved beef, tail cake with potatoes and peppers. Lumps of beef. With a shredded tail cake. And potato (and pepper, I guess?) chips.

Gin & Tonic
Gin and tonic on a plate. I hate cocktails, but I really liked this dessert. Jelly, juniper sauce and an icecream.

Apple Tart
Apple tart with no fresh apples. But I wouldn’t have known if no one told me. :)

Final thoughts about Akelare:
24 dishes tried over three and a half hours. Wow.
If I were a local, I’d come back — but I’d pick my courses:
Prawns in fireplace and foie gras w/ “salt and pepper” from Bekarki
Pasta Carpaccio, maybe the mullet and the gin & tonic from the Classics
and Xaxu & Coconut Mousse from Aranori.

Akelare: Aranori


Akelare Menu
Whoa. Three stars, three different menus. Plus the option of ordering ala carte or replacing any course with any other course.

We ordered one of each menu, so here’s the first of three posts. Because I’m too lazy to do it all now.

Amuse bouche, for all three menus
Sea Garden
Sea garden, prawn sand, oyster leaf, mussel with “shell”, sea urchin sponge, beach pebbles, seaweed coral.

Menu 1: Aranori
Foie Leaves
The leaves and foie under the rain. Light salad dish with a few “leaves” of foie. (The browner leaves) I ended up with a weird foie to salad ratio and too much foie.

Green broth, smoked monkfish slices (around the side) & langoustine. The spices started out in a little bag that dissolved when the broth was poured over. Very mild dish.

Beef tartar
Beef tartar with new potato souffle and aromatic herb bread. This is the lightest tartar I’ve ever had.

Hake & kokotxa
Hake and it’s kokotxa with oyster and oyster leaf.

Grouper, cous cous made of prawn, served with ocean foam.

Suckling pig
Suckling pig, tomato “bolao” and Iberian emulsion. AND A REALLY CUTE PIG CRACKER. omg. so cute.

Xaxu and coconut mousse
Cake filled with custard, surrounded by frozen coconut mousse. This dish was surprisingly not overly sweet. Probably my favorite dessert at Akelare.

Broken Jar
The Broken Jar of Yogurt, “Gatzatua” and Berries. A very interesting dish of what’s essentially yogurt and berries with a hard sugar container.

This menu was the mildest of the three. For some of the courses, after tasting the equivalent courses with the other menus, Aranori felt bland. On it’s own I doubt I would have noticed.


We had lunch at Elkano yesterday. It’s in the nearby town of Getaria, which was an expensive cab ride from San Sebastian (~€40). It’s a pretty drive though. The food was great — fish were fresh and perfectly grilled. Our turbot was massive (probably should’ve asked for a smaller one) and very fat.

Also, I learned that turbots are the fattest in April and May. And in August they are the least fatty. (At least turbots fished around here)

Grilling Turbot
There’s a turbot on the grill. The gelatinous bits around the fin were nommy. It made me a little sad to see the tables around us leaving the fins and only eating the flesh.

And our starter, hake kokotxas three ways. From left to right, fried, grilled and with green sauce.


Mugaritz Kitchen

Yay Mugaritz! Boo, in my tipsy wobbles, I forgot my copy of the menu there. So, here goes documenting the meal from memory.

We started out with a quick tour of the kitchen. While there, we were given a “rattle” to eat — shake it and it makes rattling sounds. Full of togarashi, caramelized onions and magic. Kindof sticky, but interesting.

Back at our table, baby radishes with tomato sauce. I like radishes, so I liked these.

Followed by a vanilla and anchovy snack that was very unphotogenic. And honestly not that tasty.

Cocoa marshmallow. With some savory things hiding underneath. Except I don’t remember what they were. Ugh. Pinenuts, I think?

Tendon, fava beans & flowers. This dish was pretty meh. I think the cracker was made of tendon, which tasted interesting on its own, but didn’t have the snap I wanted when I was eating a cracker with toppings. The texture came off as soggy.

Pork Belly
Pork belly on toast, with greens. How can you go wrong with pork belly. Nom.

Chicken Spring Roll
Chicken springroll. The menu described it as a “Gelatinous chicken mille feuille” — the most boringest dish of the menu.

Then it was time to eat our centerpiece! Cereal grass with a malt and cream dip.

Then we got new centerpieces… Suspiciously delicious smelling rocks. The one I picked up smelled like cloves. But they were hard and rock like. I made a tower of them, they fell over.

Scallop with fermented lentils. I hate lentils. But I should learn to ferment them. Mildly reminiscent of natto, but not nearly as strong. And far more palatable. (Let’s be real, I hate scallops too. But apparently not when perfectly cooked!)

Pig tails
Pig tails with a cuttlefish sauce. This seemed like lechon skins? Tasty but not particularly interesting.

Eggplant with sharp leaves, if I remember the menu right. Eggplant with some really strongly flavored herbs that I don’t recognize. The sauce was a tad bit too sweet, but after smearing it off onto the plate, this was delicious, especially with the kick added by the herbs.

Beef Cheeks
Beef cheeks with something on top. I’m forgetting. Not bad. Clearly not life changing, or I’d remember.

Flatbread with cream and veggie caviar. This dish started out with a game. And at each table, only the winner got the veggie caviar. But I shared. The veggie caviar was crunchier and less salty than “real” caviar, but pretty good. Smeared over the cream + cracker, the differing textures and flavors matched quite well.

Mashing time
Corn & flower mash with cornbread. This dish involved us mashing together our own dip, to be eaten with the bread. Lots of fun. I want to mash more of my food! My mom pointed out that if they served it already mashed, it’d be pretty unappetizing looking.

Squash cream over peanut and crab. Meh. Squash cream and crab was good, but the peanut mochi-like lump was too heavy and too strong. I left it behind. Hah.

Bream with Mushrooms
Bream with Mushroom threads — not a bad fish. But nothing compared to the turbot we had for lunch. More about that some other day.

Described by the menu as “Fifth quarter octopus“… What does that even mean. Turns out to be octopus in a tripe sauce. People should mix land and sea animals more, they taste good.

Baby horse. Whaaaat. Served with day lilies, which are apparently sour. And edible. And go really well with horse. Horse apparently tastes like lean-ish slightly dry pork.

Milk salad
Milk salad — whey and cream over leaves. I had a bit too much dairy in my ideal dairy to leaves proportions, so I left some behind. I wish I knew what all the leaves were, I want to eat them again. Maybe with whipped cream since I’m not cool enough to have any idea of how to recreate this dish.

frozen lemonnn
Frozen lemon with a lemon-ish icecream. Delicious. Except I’m bad at biting cold things, so it took me a while to eat.

cafe latte sammich
Coffee sandwich coffee ice cream in meringue. Nommmm.

The menu described this as a cronut, but it was a frozen chocolate meringue. So light, so tasty!

The “impossible bite” — I’m not sure why. But dough, custard on the inside and the rocks from earlier, grated over them. I got to grate. SO MUCH FUN.

7 sins
Then we moved outside for the “Seven Sins“. A tower of chocolate.

The sins
from right to left — (zigzagging up and down)
Pride, golden eggs that were hollow on the inside. Wrath, spicy chocolate covered ginger. Envy, three discs of chocolate that all look different (so you’ll be envious, no matter which you take? I was way too full to be envious…). Gluttony, a bunch of little chocolates, crunchy on the inside. Greed, the empty container (LOL). Sloth, truffles willed with caramel. Lust, white chocolate filled with something fruity.

Conclusions? Lots of fun and great food. Though I was surprised at how often ingredients were repeated. For example, the meringue cronut and ice cream sandwich. Very different from other restaurants I’ve been to where ingredients aren’t repeated. Also, I usually enjoy the starters more than the heavier fish/meat dishes — but this meal was the opposite. The initial few dishes weren’t amazing, then the meal really picked up around the middle. (I almost never dislike dessert)

Asador Exteberri

Mozarella of buffalo

Chorizo elaborated from acorn fed pork

Salted anchovy
Salted anchovy with toasted bread

Cracker with spring mushrooms

Butter of goat’s milk with black salt


Goose Barnacles
Goose Barnacles

Prawns from Palamos

Baby Squid
Baby Squid with caramelized onions and it’s ink

Green Peas
Green Peas in it’s juice

Red Sea Bream
Red Sea Bream and vegetables

Beef Chop
Beef Chop

Reduced Milk Ice Cream
Reduced Milk Ice Cream with red fruit infusion

Lemon Sponge
Sponge Cake with blueberries


Whoa. That was an amazing meal.

The drives from Bilbao to Axpe, then Axpe to San Sebastian were longer than expected. But Axpe was prettier than expected.

The food was overall, amazing. Very different from most of the “fancy” food I’ve had today. The chorizo was fresh tasting, which is weird to say of a cured meat — but it had none of the stale fat taste or chemical taste that most chorizo has. The peas were sweet, juicy and texturally unlike other peas I’ve eaten. The meats and seafood were also all very good, though in comparison to everything else, the fish was pretty boring.

My only complaint is that the sponge cake dessert was pretty strange. It was a sponge cake soaked in a lemon custard, almost like a tres leches! But the accompanying blueberries weren’t sweet enough (in fact they were pretty tasteless) to offset the tangy lemon. Oh well.

All in all, would drive to Axpe again to eat here.

And one last gripe, taking photos with a window behind you is hard. Shadows were wayyyy too strong. I can’t decide if dim light would have been preferable…

El Puertito

El Puertito

Yay Tripadvisor is my friend. Super fresh oysters, it’s like a rustic Swan Oyster.

El Puertito Oysters

1€ for the cheapest, 3.something€ for the most expensive.

Chuleton de Buey

Chuleton de Buey

Charcoal grilled rib steak for two. Apparently steaks in the area are from old cattle — which are therefore tastier. It’s surprising how different this steak tasted, in comparison to a prime US steak.

Rare meat!

Nom nom nom. I was entertained that they didn’t even ask what doneness of steak we wanted. Rare or rare!

Baby Broad Beans

On the side, baby broad beans with foie.


Guggnheim Bilbao

I’m in Spain! Bilbao to be precise.

The museum restaurant, the Guggenheim Bistro was surprisingly good.

Squid + Fideua
Baby squid, ink and fideua

Raspberry Icecream
Raspberry ice cream, yogurt and “crispy stones”

And some of mom’s dessert —

A main, dessert and drinks for €18.

The museum itself was mostly meh. :/