Weekly A to Z, Nov 19th.
The one where food is an international language.
We ended last weekend on a very high note. Honestly, Prime Gourmet served up not only a wonderful collection of oysters but also some of the most beautiful A5 Wagyu I’ve ever seen. #gifted
On Sunday, I was off to Madrid (then Bilbao, then San Sebastian). As excited as I was, for the opening dinner at the Basque Culinary Center for the launch of the San Sebastian Gastronomika, I also realized that attending would mean I would be up for 24 hours straight. I decided that I would rather commit to the remainder of the week and instead went to bed. Full disclosure that 12+ hour days are not always glamorous. Also, a reminder that I was an invited guest of the Spanish Tourism Board (and feel honored to once again represent the GCC in another part of the world).
Monday was packed! I went to a Torres wine tasting event, then a locally-inspired lunch at the KM.O. celebrating local produce, and finally, dinner at Elkano, #16 on the World’s 50 Best List. While all of the seafood was beautifully prepared, I have other restaurants I’ve dined at this year (and in the past) that I would place well above Elkano. This doesn’t take away from the special meal, just my opinion. You can catch highlights of the meal here.
On Tuesday, after finding a PCR test in a foreign country (and paying EUR130 for the 90-second privilege - and waiting over 24 hours for the result - !!!), I attended a product presentation by Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa, followed by lunch, including a delicious txuleta (the first of three I had in 24 hours). Dinner was at Narru, which also involved more Basque chops. After a bumpy start, the restaurant redeemed itself (including a pour of a vintage Salon). Check out more details here.
Wednesday, are you with me? Following final presentations and a late lunch at Bar Nestor, we took off for Bilbao and went to dinner at Azurmendi***. While I’m not trying to be edgy or contrary, it wasn’t my favorite meal. The dishes — which were beautifully presented — but often too heavy, fatty, salty, and gelatinous. I was surprised at my overall disconnect. This is not to take anything away from the incredible work of the team, Chef Eneko, my wonderful dining partners, or the beautiful setting, it’s more a reminder that food is subjective. You’re not required to like everything at all times. I put together a video, click here to see, and I’ll be working on a comprehensive review for my paid subscribers.
Thursday involved a lot of travel and time to reflect. Even though I (obviously) don’t speak Spanish, throughout the week, I was struck by the universality of food. It really does bring us together. Should you want to look back at my week, I’ve put most of the highlights on my Instagram page. Also, shout out to Hubs for the upgrade, which was 100% necessary.
I’m part of the new Spinneys cookbook (and I could not be prouder). I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy. Instagram
Tresind Studio is back with another pop up, will you be attending? Instagram
The art of sending food back at restaurants. The Guardian
Reducing your carbon footprint through food choices. NPR
A gold leaf hot dog. The Takeout
The history of pumpkin spice. Zora
An ode to internet friends. Book Riot
A good read on how to cut down on holiday waste. Stanford
Someone make me these. The Kitchn
A good question. The Takeout
Do you consider insects a form of food? Washington Post
An interesting read about last names. The Atlantic
Bookmarking for my next trip home. Eater
Do we gender wine? Punch
Just slap ‘Chateau’ on it. Food & Wine
Too cute to eat. My Modern Met
Chopsticks and…pizza? The Takeout
A unique article about disappearing public bathrooms. Bloomberg
Sure, a PB&J subscritopon. Big Spoon Roasters
For the title: let’s ignore each other in the same room. NYT
Next week is hella busy!!! Book Club, the Spinneys book launch, a Sopexa event, and prepping for Thanksgiving, among other things…including a potential new foster pup (??). Watch this space.
If you enjoy this newsletter and want to support me, consider sharing this on social media, ordering from these restaurants, purchasing my books (or these novels), or buying me coffee. Archives of the Weekly A to Z can be found here.