Tag Archives: textiles

A Different Alameda

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.

alameda table cloth better

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.

amuse bouche

The amuse-bouche was a delicate, super-fine gazpacho, topped with cheese foam, parsley-infused oil, and a parmasan crisp.

spider crab

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.

tuna

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.

mint and melon

Dessert was fruit and cheese.  The fruit is above–a medley of melons and apples in a mint-melon sauce.  Amazing.

new cheese

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!

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Great Textiles–but they garden too!

The women behind Home and Oats aren’t prissy.  They are the frontier women of Brooklyn–coaxing a little green out of a lot of brown and gray.  It’s not an easy job!  And while I love watching their seedlings grow, I’ve been even more excited by the beauty they’ve brought inside:

osborne

This makes me want wallpaper so badly.  Framed or unframed.  I’ll take it!  click here for original post

And this is just perfection:

josef frank

This last one is designed by Josef Frank.  Who doesn’t love them some good Scandi design??  click here for original post

Makes me want to start a whole blog devoted to textiles.  I’m slightly less covetous since it doesn’t actually exist in the homes of Home and Oats, but exists in the realm of their dreams.  Keep us dreaming H&O!

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A Little Taste

I mentioned I threw a big bash this weekend–here is just a little taste of what it was like.

hors deouvres

The hors d’oeuvres table (from left): pasteles (also known as pastelitos) and red cabbage slaw, sweet corn tamales and cream, sweet plantain empanadas.  Pasteles are fried pockets of dough (in this case the dough is corn meal-based) stuffed with meat and vegetables (we served chicken and beef, though pork is the chef’s favorite).  The slaw is to be heaped atop the pasteles.

small centerpieces

The long table on the patio;  I don’t know who took/styled this pic (have a feeling it was my dad) but the Panama hat is a nice touch.  I brought the runner back from Belize a couple years ago.  All flowers are by Bloomies at Market Hall.  The small centerpieces here include sunflowers, stock, hypericon berries, snowball viburnum, mint, and rosemary.

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I’m Very Excited About: Creative Women

I found out about this company through my favorite blog, Saipua (where else?).  The Saipua store, in Red Hook, Brooklyn, has begun carrying these products.  The company is Creative Women.  From their website:

CREATIVE WOMEN cares … about beautiful hand-woven African textiles, about good design, and about improving women’s lives. We are a Vermont based, women-owned company, working in partnership with two textile design studios in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and a textile studio in Swaziland, to create traditionally inspired contemporary accessories and home textiles.  More than just designing and selling textiles, Creative Women works to promote equitable trading practices and to support women’s economic independence.  “I founded Creative Women as a way to create jobs in Ethiopia and sustain an ancient art form by introducing the West to the beauty of Ethiopian textiles”, says owner Ellen Dorsch.  “Today Creative Women provides a socially responsible link between producer and consumer by opening markets for these high-quality textiles.”

towels

Their beautiful Ethiopian cotton towels

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