MOST RECENT DINNERS
A Basque Dinner at Txikito
Up in the wilderness of northeastern Spain lies an ancient and fiercely stubborn culture, older than the Romans, the Greeks, and the Persians put together. Nestled in the Pyrenees between Iberia and France, it’s the home of a seafaring people who once made Vikings look like amateurs, brave warriors who sent Charlemagne running, speakers of a strange non-Indoeuropean language many a despot tried to forbid (but never could), and dogged nationalists who, though occupied many times, were never conquered, with ancient laws that precede any written record … oh, and they wear goofy berets. And they do know how to cook. Yep, we’re headed to Euskadi, otherwise known as the Basque Country.
We’ve searched the city for years for good Spanish food, often without real success. Yes, Casa Mono is great, but that bastard Batali won’t let us take over his joint for a night. And Sample was good fun, but conservas are more Madrid than San Sebastian — plus eating out of a can (no matter how good the wine) feels a bit like freshman year of college. Thank god for the good folks from Tia Pol and El Quinto Pino. If you’ve ever tried to get into these amazing tapas joints on a Friday night, you’ll know how cool it is that they’re giving over their new restaurant, Txikito, to Gastronauts for a night. And what they’ve got in store for us is nothing short of amazing: a meandering feast that wanders from blood sausage to head cheese, from braised tongue to cod jowls.
Damn straight, you want some of that. So, “afaria zein ordutan da?” you ask. Well, 7:30pm, of course — same as every Gastro dinner.
“Ez dut zerrikirik jaten,” you say. Well, then that’s just more morcilla for us. But, “nere maitea,” you purr. Sorry, ladies: you’re just going to have to RSVP like everyone else.