So Spain has always been famous for its nightlife and going-out, very social culture. It is relatively easy to stay out til the sun comes up on the weekends, hanging out with friends in bars and dancing the night away. Don’t get me wrong, this is something I love about Spain, and it is an activity I still enjoy partaking in occasionally, but it is something that I do no where near as often as when I was a student in Salamanca. I am getting older, sometimes I prefer to go to bed at 3am instead of 7am, or even earlier (heaven forbid)!
Luckily, I have found the most incredible alternative to partying all night long here in Logroño-going out for pinchos! Northern Spain, especially Pais Vasco, is really famous for its pinchos (pintxos in basque). Pinchos are very small portions, like a tapa or even a small snack, usually served on a slice of baguette with a toothpick skewering it and holding it all together (pincho means ‘spike’ in Spanish). Pinchos are served in sort of a bar/tavern like place, and here in Logroño, they are all grouped together on a couple of the narrow streets in the old quarter, like the calle Laurel. There are tons and tons of types of pinchos, and most bars are famous for one specific pincho.
So the thing to do in Logroño is go out for pinchos with your friends. You meet up around 9 or 10, and bar hop, going into one bar, ordering a pincho and a glass of red wine (Rioja of course) or a caña (small beer), expect to pay €2.50 total, hang out and then when you’re finished, pop over to the next bar, and repeat til the bars close at around 12:30am. After that you can go out to the bars for a real drink and then to the discotecas or go home, like me (most of the time).
So, in the spirit of pinchos, and this typical tradition in my new home in La Rioja, I am introducing my latest blog scheme….Pincho of the Week! I am going to blog weekly with a new pincho from Logroño to share with you all the delicious types of food you can find in my new city.
I am going to start with the most famous pincho in Logroño, el Champi. Champi or champiñón means ‘mushroom’ in English, and if you ever come to Logroño, you HAVE to try it. On the weekends, the line out the door of the bar El Soriano on the C/Laurel is intimidating, but trust me, it’s worth the wait; it is the only pincho served at this bar, and its been there for decades (with the same guys cooking every night), and it’s easy to find with its fluorescent mushroom sign outside. This pincho consists in three mushroom heads cooked on a hot metal grill covered in a ton of butter, garlic, and spices, then skewered together by a toothpick on a slice of bread with a shrimp on top. It is simple, and it is delicious! Served piping hot on a little plate, you grab it and make your way outside to eat it around one of the many barrels as the grease soaks into the bread. Seriously, it is the best pincho in Logroño and a must-eat if you are ever in the area.