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  • Infinite Jest
    Infinite Jest
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    i'm marti.

    Thanks for coming. This is me —what I'm doing, loving, and, most importantly, eating. I hope you enjoy.

    i'm saying.
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    The Zinemaldi Vermuteke

    My life is a mess, and sometimes beautiful things come out of it.

    One of my favorite 'initiatives' that I've been involved with in San Sebastián has been The International Society for the Preservation and Enjoyment of Vermut.  Why? Because it was born out of real passion, a passion for a sweet, bitter, forgotten beverage. Because I started it with one of my best friends in my home away from home.  Because it brings happiness to a ton of people, and in a different spot with different vibes and surprises every month.

    It's a vermuteke, and behind-the-scenes, it is a lot of work. Coordinating with some incredible artisans, from the Rioja to Cataluña to Galicia, crafting looks and coming up with never-done-before ideas, and all to celebrate something that I just really like.  We shop, we prep, we promote, and we sweat, all up to the last moment when we slip on our slightly coordinated dresses and put on our hostess faces. 

    That is absolutely the moment when a sip of vermouth tastes best.

    Here is a video of September's vermuteke...I hope it inspires you to attend, or at the very least, to pour a vermouth.

    Vermuteke Zinemaldi Edition from Vermut Society on Vimeo.

    The classy poster I drew up:


    pintxo astearteak (tapa tuesdays)

    bar narrika:::patatas bravas (fried potatoes with spicy sauce )

    Calle de Narrica, 16 ::Donostia-San Sebastián

    I have friends who swear that these are the second-best patatas in town (after this spot). And they are pretty dang good, for those times when you can't be bothered to displace yourself from the old part.  

    Wow, my English is getting pretty special. Displace yourself. Wow.



    A Basque Pantry : Pantori

    There's a new red awning in town.

    Pantori is a store recently opened in the heart of San Sebastián, but it's been over a year in the making. It first took form as a different-product-every-day internet flashsale, which featured only the best hand-selected artisan food products across Spain at sweet prices. In fact, you can still sign up to receive these daily offerings delivered to your door.

    This summer, however, the team behind Pantori opened their first bricks-and-mortar spot, which has turned out to be one of the most lovingly fashioned gourmet shops in town. From potato chips to cured meats to vermouth, this shop has some deliciousness going on. A stop in can result in heavy sampling, a conversation with a certain curly-haired Basque girl, or even a fortuitious tasting and chat with a local artisan. 

    I asked the team at Pantori to give me their top three favorite finds that they have on the shelves currently, and these are the (resounding) responses I got. They would make quite the merienda, if I do say so myself:

    Castillo de Canena aceite ahumado ::: Gotta love a product with beautiful packaging and an even more attention-grabbing taste.  This cold-infused olive oil tastes of wood smoke, and frankly, reminds me of my favorite restaurant. If you're going to have more than one olive oil at home, this is the one.

    Moncedillo yogur de oveja ::: Moncedillo, a small producer in Castilla y León, crafts artisan dairy products from raw sheep's milk. They milk and craft on the same day, in small batches, for utmost quality and the best taste. The folks at Pantori were especially enamored of the yogurt.

    Cerveza artesana de País Vasco ::: Microbrews are picking up steam in Basque Country, and in Spain in general. Some are Basque only due to their owner's location, some are kinda gross, but some are beers that deserve a closer look (and several bottles' worth of investigation). Example? Basqueland Brewing Project's line, which is available at Pantori, as long as you beat the crowds.

    If you are in San Sebastián, looking for a snack with authentic local flavor, a beer to grab for the seawall, or an edible souvenir to take home, Pantori is smack in the middle of town and a one-stop shop for carefully curated deliciousness.


    Reina Regente / Erregina Erregentearen Kalea, 4


    pintxo astearteak (tapa tuesdays)

    la cuchara de san telmo:::pulpo a la brasa (grilled octopus with couscous)

    Calle 31 de agosto, 31 ::Donostia-San Sebastián

    It's been a looooong time since I had frequented this place. Why go when Borda Berri is doing virtually the same style of cooking, with nicer waitstaff and a less ridiculously crowded bar?  But I am happy to report that everything we ordered was pretty delicious, especially this octopus. Charred, tender and flavorful. Yum.


    pintxo astearteak (tapa tuesdays)

    a fuego negro:::porrupata thai (a fusion between pad thai and porrusalda, the basque soup)

    Calle 31 de Agosto, 31 ::Donostia-San Sebastián

    An example of why you should let waitstaff guide your choices at pintxo bars...I never would have ordered this one, but it was so very delicious! And, as always, the presentation oh so tongue in cheek.