Logroño’s pincho scene hasn’t changed too frequently since I arrived last September. Comforted by familiar faces and dishes, the infamous Laurel street bursting with pincho bars that seem unchanged for decades. Change comes slowly in Spain, if it comes at all, something I both love and hate here.
Around San Juan and Laurel, there are a handful of newer spots to try pinchos, many of them modern, gastronomic bars, but even those have been around a while. So imagine my surprise as I walked over towards Bar Sebas for my favorite stuffed red peppers only to see construction going on next door. A new pincho bar! I was intrigued.
Last Thursday, Logroño’s famous 2 euro pint beer night, I was enjoying a cold one on a terrace with friends in the blistering late afternoon heat. Getting hungry we decided to go grab some pinchos nearby for dinner. Agreeing that we all wanted to try something different, I remembered the new bar opening up!
Lodged in the old storehouse of Las Cubanas, Bar el Canalla has made great use of the small space, and set up a simple, understated bar with a great wine selection and only 6 pinchos to chose from, all timbales, “drums” in Spanish. I’m assuming it’s because they are all round and look like little drums of food. Did I mention that canalla in Spanish means scoundrel or swine? What a great name for a bar!
The base of all the pinchos are a potatoes, round and cooked to perfection, almost like a tortilla de patata, and on top is one of 6 options, all smothered in delicious sauces.
Timbal de calamar (squid)
Timbal de picadillo (hash)
Timbal de carrilleras (cheek meat)
Timbal de huevos fritos con chorizo (fried eggs with chorizo sausage)
Timbal de revuelto con gulas (scrambled eggs with baby eels)
Timbal de morcilla (blood sausage)
Looking at this list now, I’ve realized how far my culinary tastes have developed since moving to Spain! Cheek, blood sausage, squid, and baby eels?! Yuck! I would have never touched this stuff 5 years ago. However, for you guys who are like me, these are some of the nicest and most popular dishes in Spain, and they are all worth trying at least once. Except for the baby eels, I still can’t stomach those. Look like blue worms. Ick!
My favorite of the three we tried was the carrilleras, the cheek meat. It’s a popular dish in La Rioja, and it’s really some of the most tender, rich meats I’ve tried. Don’t knock it til you try it!
Do you love trying new restaurants? How adventurous are you when it comes to trying new foods?
From left to right: carrilleras, calamares, and huevo frito con chorizo