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    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.

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    Monday
    Feb232015

    Lunes Lekuak (My Monday Spot)

    Bouncing around on the edge of the world. A bay, an island, a whole city teeming below, and just you and your cama elástica in the clouds.  The theme park on the top of Monte Igeldo has a long history, with quirks that date back to the Franco era, and the decadent negligence it suffers is actually quite charming.

    Never change, Igeldoko Atrakzio Parkea, never change.

    This is the fourth edition of the new addition to the blog, Monday Lekuak. This Basque-English phrase means that on Mondays I will be featuring my favorite spots in Basque Country to just be. Maybe it will be in a restaurant, maybe it will be in a mountain, but it's a spot that has a special meaning to me.

    If bar-hopping and vermouth drinking is more your thing, you may want to check out last week's Monday spot.

    Saturday
    Feb212015

    vermuteke, sirimiri edition

    Another day, another vermuteke. 

    The International Society for the Preservation and Enjoyment of Vermouth is now a year old! Our most recent vermuteke (aka party to celebrate the glorious beverage, vermouth) was held in Sirimiri, smack dab in the middle of the old part.

    Another vermuteke by night, this one featured three vermouths and three cocktails, prepared by the barmen at one of the city's best cocktail spots.

    I don't know, maybe it's just me, but when your mise en place includes strawberry-infused vermouth...HOW CAN ANYTHING GO WRONG?

    Zecchini, Casa Mariol...two favorites. Plus the brand new vermouth Txurrut, locally produced with Hondarrabi Zuri grapes (that's txakoli grapes to you).

    A madhouse of vermouth, beautiful people, and hard-working bartenders.

    We even crowned a few new socios.

    Stay tuned for the next event...we have some amazing stuff in the works!

    Monday
    Feb162015

    Lunes Lekuak (My Monday Spot)

    General Artetxe Kalea, or the story of what happens when city planners give up. 

    This cul-de-sac slash (if Google maps is to be believed) perpendicular junction of two streets has only one name, a curious phenomenon in the otherwise predictable streets of Gros. What it does have more than one of is bars...there are four right on this little street.  The conglomeration of bars (including the best vermouth bar in the city) and the narrow, untraveled street make this nook a cozy place to spill into the streets on Sunday, which is just what we locals do when weather permits.

    This is the third edition of the new addition to the blog, Monday Lekuak. This Basque-English phrase means that on Mondays I will be featuring my favorite spots in Basque Country to just be. Maybe it will be in a restaurant, maybe it will be in a mountain, but it's a spot that has a special meaning to me.

    If you missed the first leku, click here

     

    Wednesday
    Feb112015

    Iñudes y Artzaias

    Even after living here for nearly five years, I can still be surprised.  And be surprised to be surprised by, of all things, wet nurses and shepherds.

    After gathering for breakfast on Sunday morning, to say goodbye to a dear friend, we set off to see a concert in one of Gros's liveliest venues, Garoa.  We were distracted by some music on the street, and like the children of the pied piper, we followed the sound. Needless to say, we weren't expecting to stumble upon a parade of Belle Epoque characters —women dressed in white, wielding tennis racquets, a bishop waving a giant sub sandwich, and several women dressed as nannies, carrying baby dolls.

    It's a parade that celebrates the Belle Epoque of San Sebastián, and features caricatures of all its wackiest characters, waving and prancing through the streets of both Gros and the Old Part.

    Depending on which song you catch the parade at, you might see baby dolls flying in the air. Or nannies flirting with shepherds. Or perhaps you will see the nannies carrying their babies to the doctor, to receive vaccinations and check on their health, before they stop at the priests to receive a blessing.  But always, the parade starts with a rendition of 'Festarik Behar Bada', whose title in translation ("Yes You Gotta Party", more or less) sounds more Black Eyed Peas than Basque.

    The history of the parade is one that began over 125 years ago, on February 2, 1885, set around the Feast of the Candelaria, a Roman Catholic celebration of a sighting of the Virgin Mary. However, the tradition diminished after Pope Pio XII took away the feast day status of the holiday, and nearly disappeared before the Kresala society brought it back in 1977. 

    In San Sebastián, the celebration is set to music of the beloved composer Raimundo Sarriegi, who composed the anthem of the city that resounds all day long on the 20th of January and yearlong in the hearts of all Donostiarras, #ak.  Apart from the nannies and shepherd characters for which the celebration is named, mayors, secretaries, bishops, shoe cleaners, bakers, street sweepers, and other characters from the Belle Epoque of Donosti take the stage. 

    Stuffed between Caldereros and Carnavales, it's another event to help mark the slow passing of winter in Basque Country.

     

    Monday
    Feb092015

    MONDAY LEKUAK (LUGARES DEL LUNES)

    I am sitting here, typing, looking out over a view worthy of any textbook treatment on European coastal villages.  To my right is a glass of Verdejo, I just ate a goat cheese salad, and I'm buckling down for a couple hours of work. Whether you are having a rendevouz with someone unfamiliar with the city, or need some wifi to make a Skype call in the gloriously, chandelier-capped lobby, Hotel Niza/Narru form a spot near and dear to my heart.

     You won't catch many locals in this haunt, but I find it to be the perfect spot for bringing together the American tradition of "working" hours on your laptop with the Spanish tradition of eating well and nursing a glass of wine for hours.  

    This is the second edition of the new addition to the blog, Monday Lekuak. This Basque-English phrase means that on Mondays I will be featuring my favorite spots in Basque Country to just be. Maybe it will be in a restaurant, maybe it will be in a mountain, but it's a spot that has a special meaning to me.

    If you missed the first leku from last Monday, click here