My nearly monthlong blog sabbatical has come to an end. It wasn't supposed to be this long, but between vacation and packing both the office and test kitchen for a move, the days slipped away from me.
I suppose time flies when you're eating well.
Ryan and I traveled to Basque Country in Spain and France, plus a side trip to Bordeaux, for my 30th birthday. We decided on the area for its rich culinary heritage because, for us, a vacation is all about the food. The small town of San Sebastian, Spain, where we stayed for 4 days, has three restaurants with three Michelin stars (apparently there's more multi-starred restaurants per capita there than anywhere else in the world). The food certainly lived up to its reputation.
We hit up two of the three-starred joints in less than 24 hours (a birthday dinner at Arzak, followed by lunch the next day at Akelarre). Our stomachs (and wallets) were feeling it. Both were totally worth it, though—like nothing I'd ever eaten. While the pintxos (Basque for tapas) joints didn't have the molecular gastronomy show-stopping elements, they were amazing as well.
In French Basque Country, the food was (no surprises here) also phenomenal. If you're Basque, good cooking must be in your blood. It's interesting to me, though, how just crossing a country's border changes things. Case in point: While seafood remained a constant, sauces seemed to appear out of nowhere in France.
There's no doubt we'll return to Basque Country—of course for the food but also for the people. Until then, I'll be on the search for equally good chorizo, Iberico ham, foie gras, anchovies, pigeon and so on...