For our last night in Spain we went to a restaurant in the old quarter of town called Alameda (not to be confused with the small island city off the East Bay of San Francisco, nor the county in which I reside), which boasts one Michelin star. On a previous evening we had returned to Sebastian, also in the old quarter of Hondarribia and had the chef’s tasting menu. I thought to myself, “this is as good a meal as I’ve ever had. If I lived here I would eat at here all the time.” While the second sentence holds true, Alameda blew the former sentiment for lovely little Sebastian.
While I managed to take a few pictures, they relate nothing of the scale of this meal. Alameda is run by two brothers, Gorka and Kepa Txapartegui. The cuisine has Basque roots, but is classified by Michelin as “Inventive.” We had two lovely, attentive, and friendly servers, but it was one of the matriarchs of the Txapartegui family who came to ensure our meal met our expectations after our entrees arrived. Although I consider description of this meal to be a futile pursuit, I will attempt to depict some of it here.
Often, when my dad comes to visit and I am trying to convince him of the legitimacy of my choice of restaurant on any given evening, he’ll say quite seriously, “does it have a tablecloth? I need a white tablecloth.” In honor of dad we’ve taken to documenting the tablecloths at various restaurants. Alameda’s are high-quality starched linen.
The amuse-bouche was a delicate, super-fine gazpacho, topped with cheese foam, parsley-infused oil, and a parmasan crisp.
I began with the spider crab salad arranged atop a tomato reduction and topped with green apples and micro greens. The crab was absolutely beautiful in texture.
My entree–the tuna. This picture hardly does it justice, but eating last night was much more important to me than picture-taking, which I take as a good sign. It’s funny I just realized that from the blog it appears that I’ve been eating a lot of tuna. I have I suppose. The seafood is really what to eat in the Basque country. I have no words to describe the preparation of this dish; I can’t even remember how it was described on the menu. All I know is what appears to be a simple tuna fillet transformed into the most unbelievable tasting thing in my mouth. The flavors of the tomatoes, salt, fish, oil, and potato were beyond this world. Each bite I took made me crave one more. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt that way before. It was if nothing would be enough, and each time I took a bite I wished I could continue tasting what I was tasting forever. Quite an experience. Sort of Veruca Salt-esque I guess.
Dessert was fruit and cheese. The fruit is above–a medley of melons and apples in a mint-melon sauce. Amazing.
Finally, the cheese plate. From top right: a semi-soft cows milk, Roquefort topped with a dried apple slice, brie, quince paste, and the last two are two different dry manchego. The Roquefort was especially beautiful. There is no better way to end a meal than with Roquefort I believe.
Well, like I said, a futile pursuit. But, perhaps if you’re ever in the area you’ll have a chance to experience it all for yourself.
At the Biarritz airport, embarking on many hours on various planes. Ciao!