Just as I like to feature guest writers on my blog in my weekly “Expat Files” series, I also like to feature the occasional guest “Pincho of the Week” that I try when traveling outside of Logroño. I few weeks ago I was in Bilbao visiting the lovely Liz of Liz en España, when I tried an amazing cheese and mushroom crepe pincho that I couldn’t resist blogging about. The lure of the exotic Basque Country got to me a week ago, and I made a day trip up to San Sebastián for the first time, the luxury beach town famous for their pinchos. After a few hours of swimming, tanning, being humiliated, and hiking up a mountain, I needed some of these pinchos people have raved to me about for years to revive me.
However, my bus left at 7:30 which meant I was looking for something to snack on at 6pm, which if you have ever been to Spain, you know is NOT dinner time. Most of the pincho bars don’t open til 8 which means they don’t get hopping and crowded until around 10, so I was about 4 hours too early. Whatever, I wasn’t leaving until I tried some. Although some of the bars I really wanted to go to were closed, I made it out to one that was recommended by Lonely Planet, Astelana.
Smack in the old quarter, this bar is kind of a hole in the wall until you go inside, then it’s liked you stepped through the looking-glass into a cleaned-up traditional pincho bar with modern takes on some classic dishes, with even some Basque-Asian fusion pinchos, literally overflowing off the counter. They were bringing out the selection for the night, while I munched on my choice, crêpe de txangurro, jamón y langostino (spider crab, ham, and shrimp crepe). Txangurro is a typical ingredient in Basque pinchos.
Less of a crepe and more like the thin crunchy shell of an springroll, this pincho was so delicious it was challenging not to order 3 while sitting at the counter. Considering I was the only person in the bar at the time, I decided to wait and try some new ones at different bars. Served up in the typical gastronomic style of unidentifiable sauces swirled around in a fancy design, it was all I could do not to lick the plate. My favorite pincho of the trip, if you like seafood, you must give it a try. Just be prepared that pinchos in San Sebastián are two or three times as expensive as pinchos in Logroño, and make sure your wallet is packed accordingly.
Have you ever tried a weird seafood abroad?
Find it: Astelena, Calle de Iñigo 1, San Sebastián