Pincho of the Week: Patatas Bravas

This week’s pincho of the week is the infamous patatas bravas. Now I wish that I could claim that patatas bravas are native to La Rioja or are a typical tapa here, but I can’t. If anything, patatas bravas are probably the most famous tapa in Spain, along with tortilla de patata (man, Spain does love its potatoes).

Patatas bravas are potatoes chopped up into big cubes or triangle shaped chunks and thoroughly fried golden brown in olive oil, of course! The sauce varies from place to place but in general it’s usually a spicy red tomato sauce mixed with mayonnaise (YUCK) or alioli sauce, which is a mayo-garlic type sauce, which I prefer. Sometimes the sauces are mixed together and spread over the potatoes, and sometimes they are put on separately. I am slightly OCD, and I prefer to have the sauces on the side to dip, but that’s just me.

Now, I hate to boast BUT I have found the best patatas bravas in Logroño, and probably all of Spain. It’s a hole in the wall bar on the famous pincho street calle Laurel called Gargonich. And I mean hole in the wall; at it’s best, it can probably fit 10 people max inside. In Logroño, if you say you want to go get some bravas, it is assumed you mean this place. At least among my group of friends! There are the same two older women working there, which I love. This bar has a definite homey, local vibe. Usually the go-to with patatas bravas is to split them with someone so that you A: don’t look like a pig and eat a whole plate yourself and B: to save room for some of the other delicious pinchos on Laurel. For me I usually have to be in the mood for bravas because they are very filling. Luckily last Thursday, C was also in the mood for them too so we went splitsies and got some. She even agreed to get the sauce on the side too! What a good friend! Did I mention that as soon as I walked into the bar, I heard a high-pitched voice shouting, “Eli, Eli?” (that’s my nickname here) only to look over and see one of my students waving at me. Yes, that’s right. A 10 year old in a bar. Welcome to Spain!

Have you ever tried patatas bravas? Where is your favorite bravas place?

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