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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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    Pintxos with the Vagabrothers

    I get a ton of emails asking me about San Sebastián: tips on where to eat, what to do, and everything in between.  I try to answer them all, and I love sharing (almost) all my secrets.  

    While an email or blogpost or even picture is a great way to convey the special things I love about San Sebastián, nothing can quite compare to the good old moving picture....that's why I'm thrilled to share with you guys this video that some intrepid travellers made about San Sebastián.  They invited me and Eli, a guide from San Sebastián Food to show them around and talk...PINTXOS.

    The Vagabrothers have loads of cool travel videos and tips, so check out their YouTube channel if you like this one!



    pintxo astearteak (tapa tuesdays)

    la cueva de lobos:::tartar de bonito con aguacate (tuna tartar with avocado)

    Jose Miguel Barandiaran Kalea, 32 ::Donostia-San Sebastián

    This new bar/restaurant in San Sebastián has a dubious location, unless your life revolves around the big-wave side of the surfing beach. However, it's cozy and offers all the classics, from croquetas to tortilla to mushrooms to some more ambitious items, such as this tartar of tuna. 


    Vermouth Watermelon Punch

    If you know me at all, you know I am a big fan of vermouth.

    No, not the old dusty bottle you have that you sometimes use to mix a martini. I actually still have yet to really fully understand the concept of the martini cocktail. Is it not just chilled gin/vodka? What's the big deal? 

    When I say vermouth, however, I'm talking about the red stuff. The sweet vermouth that in many parts of the world is drunk by the glassful before a meal.  

    At our recent vermuteke, the monthly party organized by Maite and I (aka International Society for the Preservation and Enjoyment of Vermouth), we got all choked up about summer coming to an end and decided to create a special cocktail to serve at the event. We based it around the artisan vermouth we were featuring this month, Martinez Lacuesta.

    The inspiration started when Maite essentially lied to me, telling me she was bringing home two gigantic watermelons from her vacation in Croatia. Taking her words to heart (what was I thinking, that suddenly RyanAir has a fresh fruit baggage allowance?), I set to scheming up a simple drink, servable in mass quantity, that would really play up the unique taste of sweet vermouth. 

    The result was this punch, which was more delicious than we ever could have anticipated. I leave you the recipe below, which is of course scalable if you are at home with no army of vermouth lovers to help you put it away.  It stays good for a few days in the fridge, though, so make enough to last!

    vermouth watermelon punch

    • 6 bottles red sweet vermouth, such as Lacuesta
    • 1 bottle vodka
    • 3 large watermelons
    • 1 cup lime juice
    • fruits for garnish (kiwi, orange, peach, think summer)

    Carve off the watermelon rind, and, using a stick blender or food processor, liquify the watermelon flesh.  Pass through a sieve if there are seeds.

    Mix all ingredients and taste. I found that more vermouth could be added to a positive effect. Add the fruits for garnish and if desired, serve in one of the carved-out watermelons. Ladle over ice and enjoy!



    Unlikely Eats: Spain’s Airport Food

    People don’t usually think of airports as places of luxury. Many would think that these looming structures are nothing but terminals – places that we walk through and walk past as we travel to faraway lands, where the adventure and the excitement really are.

    Today’s airports, however, have been on a quest to reinvent their image and change the way we see them (see Paris CDG's new terminal, above). Top airports from all over the world have undergone renovations to make them seem less of a gate that passengers need to get through, and more of a place they can actually enjoy spending time in. Airport authorities have begun to slowly try to be more affordable for all sorts of travellers, eliminating the reasons why they’ve been given a bad rap in the past.

    Thousands of people have complained, for example, about exorbitant parking fees at airports, and the world’s major airports have come to the rescue. Gatwick Airport, which Parking4less explains has both short-stay and long-stay packages that come with convenient perks such as a valet service, has apparently introduced a new parking scheme that saves their customers up to 3% on parking fees.

    Gatwick airport has also joined the effort of airports to be more "social" this recent instagram campaign that carries the hashtag #TemptedBeforeTakeoff.  

    How cute is that?

    But that’s not all. Inside the airports themselves, a wealth of treasures unfolds. Restaurants have begun popping up in airports all over the world, transforming airport food into something that rivals the fanciest dinners. Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly), the World’s Finest Airport Food was found to be in Spain’s own Porta Gaig restaurant in Barcelona.

    Porta Gaig is owned by Carles Gaig, and this Michelin-starred restaurant serves a wonderful array of classically Catalan dishes. The restaurant’s interior design is by architect Richard Bofill, a Spanish architect who has also designed much of Barcelona airport, the National Theatre of Catalonia, and even the new headquarters of global fashion company Desigual.

    Of course, Spain may not hold this title for much longer, as celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Wolfgang Puck have also established their own restaurants, nestled deep within the spacious halls of their respective airports. It’s very likely that Spain will have to give up the crown and step down for another Michelin-starred airport restaurant to be named as the World’s Finest Airport Food.

    I leave you with a shot of one of my favorite newly renovated airports...can anyone name it for the win?

    *hope you enjoyed this guest post! 


    pintxo astearteak (tapa tuesdays)

    bar labrit:::tortilla de pulpo (spanish omelette with octopus)

    Calle Zabaleta, 57 ::Donostia-San Sebastián

    One of the most original tortillas in town, heavily speckled with spicy paprika. Delicious, the house speciality.