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    i'm marti.

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    pintxo astearteak (tapa tuesdays)

    hidalgo 56:::salmorejo con centollo y aceituna negra (chilled tomato soup with spider crab and black olive)

    Paseo Colon, 17::Donostia-San Sebastián

    Another perfect summer pintxo from one of my favorites, Hidalgo 56. A can't miss spot in Gros.


    pintxo astearteak (tapa tuesdays)

    elosta:::ensalada de algas con pepino marinado (seaweed salad with marinated cucumber)

    Paseo Colon, 41::Donostia-San Sebastián

    One can finally say that Donosti has some decent sushi spots. One in the old part, one in the center, and one in Gros, my neighborhood: Elosta. Also recommended is the tuna tataki. For when one more tortilla just isn't going to do it for you.


    How To Make the Perfect Rebujito

    I'm going to make a bet. I bet almost none of you have ever heard of the rebujito.
    Perhaps you have tired a gin-tonic, Spanish style. Or maybe you have even had a kalimotxo, after reading about it in The New York Times or visiting Boise, Idaho. Well, the rebujito is the Southern cousin of the kalimotxo...while up North warming red wine is the base alcohol, in the South they start with sherry, which originates in the Southern province of Cadiz.

    When to Rebujito

    Rebujito is the diminutive of rebujo, which can mean a 'tangle' or a 'badly wrapped package'. But this cocktail is far from a mess: starting with the base of sherry, a lemon-lime soda is added along with some mint, mixed and served, mostly in the spring and summer fiestas del pueblo, or village festivals.
    José Ferrer is a sherry expert and wine columnist for El Mundo. For him, the secret to the rebujito lies in its capacity to refresh: “The famous spring festivals of Seville and Jerez are celebrated in April and May, when temperatures reach above 80º.  They are basically one long socializing session, which means continuous toasting.  The rebujito is a great ally—it cuts your alcohol intake while helping combat the heat.”


    The History of the Rebujito

    According to Ferrer, it's common belief that the rebujito originated among the English visitors to the South and one of their beloved cocktails, the Sherry Cobbler. The Sherry Cobbler was a pre-industrial soda version: sherry, lemon juice, sugar, and seltzer.
    However, Ferrer tells us that in Spain the drink really caught on as late as the 1980s, as a party drink. He recommends using a good fino sherry, such as Tío Pepe, or a manzanilla, such as Solear.  But always, always a Fino or Manzanilla, as the Oloroso or Amontillado sherries can be quite dark and strong.  He confided to me that he often subs the lemon-lime soda for tonic water, and the mint for lemon peel, to make a sherry-tonic that he swears by as super refreshing, dry, and slightly bitter.

    This recipe was originally part of an article I wrote for the Reno Gazette Journal about classic Spanish mixed drinks.

    the perfect Rebujito

    2 oz manzanilla sherry
    4 oz 7up or Sprite

    Add sherry to a pitcher full of ice. Add a few sprigs of mint and then mix in soft drink.  Stir, then serve (without ice, to avoid watering down) in individual glasses with a sprig of mint.  For a drier, more bitter version, Ferrer recommends subbing tonic water for the soft drink and garnishing with a lemon peel. Makes one drink.

    Bodega 1900 : Barcelona, Spain

    As you all know, drinking vermouth is a cherished tradition in Spain. And if you didn't believe me when I said it's making a comeback, well, now I have two brothers to back me up. Reader, meet Ferran and Albert Adriá—you may know them from their former number one restaurant El Bullí, which closed in 2011. Not ones to sit still, in 2013 they followed a spate of restaurante openings (Tickets, 41º, etc) with a bar devoted solely to the celebration of vermouth: Bodega 1900.

    The bar is small, with tile floors and walls and dark wooden accents. It calls to mind bars of old, which is exactly the desired effect.  The menu includes smoked meats, salty snacks, and vinegary fish, leaving no vermouth snack cornerstone unturned.


    The food is where you see why Adriá is Adriá—why the name has soared to the highest heights of the culinary skyline. Everything was spot on. It is so thematic, so almost Disney, that you may want to hate it for a second. But the tastes were all there.

    The perfect little touches and the hours of work that go into a single tapa, like the trademark spherical olives.

    Curious as to how they are made? You can watch a video here, and they even have kits that you can use to try it at home.

    They poured us a glass of house vermouth, which is when I got a bit scandalized. I enquired about vermouth, and instead of bringing me a list of the different vermouths available, I was offered only this house mix. Could it be my guiri face? The waiter thinking that there is no way a foreigner could appreciate a small-batch, strong and herbal vermouth? Little does he know...

    I tasted the house vermouth, and horror of horrors....MARTINI. It tasted like Martini & Rosso. After enquiring, they confirmed my suspicion. It was a blend of two different Martini vermouths, not untasty, per se, just overly sweet, mild, and vaguely industrial. I felt disillusionment, like when you find out Lana del Rey is actually Lizzie Grant + plastic surgery + made-up life story. 

    Adriá made a vermouth bar and sold out on the most important point—the vermouth.

    Determined to enjoy myself, I decided to agonize over this point later.

    This dish came out thanks to a misunderstanding between us and the waiter, but I sure am glad it did. Cured tuna, cut with the hand of a sushi master, decorated with a single, toasted Marcona almond.

    And no vermouth hour would be complete without some preserved seafood. Yes, you heard me right....mussels, clams, sardines, you name it. Canned fish is considered to be an excellent pairing for vermouth, and at Bodega 1900 they do not disappoint (see our huge plate of plump mussels).

    They've even turned their hands to a full line of conserves, including mussels, asparagus, and olives. I like these guys. They know how to stay busy. 

    Our final snack was probably my favorite. Some world-class fried calamari, small, delicate, and perfectly breaded, served on a warm roll with housemade aioli and a slightly piquant red sauce.

    Here's to health, happiness, hipsters and vermut!

    Bodega 1900

    Carrer de Tamarit, 91, 08015 Barcelona

    +34 933 25 26 59

    Hours: 1pm - 8pm


    pintxo astearteak (tapa tuesdays)

    ni neu:::montadito de jamón (a mini Spanish ham baguette)

    De Zurriola Hiribidea, 1::Donostia-San Sebastián

    This recommendation is more about the total package than about a fancy, unique pintxo. Yes, the pintxos served at Ni Neu, the restaurant housed in the Kursaal on the river Urumea tend to be of a really high quality, owing to the fact that they come out of a restaurant kitchen that aims for a certain level of product and renown. And yes, this jamón ibérico certainly doesn't come from a bargain leg. But the real jewel of this pintxo/hamaiketako is being able to sit outside, watching the river and the people go by, while you enjoy good coffee, fresh-squeezed juice, and perhaps a financier or two.  A great place to breakfast or snack in the city, often overlooked.