"The cheese cake is baked but slightly undercooked, leaving the centre like gooey sweet cheesy lava"
San Sebastián is a coastal town about one hours drive from Pamplona. We came here to check out the food, hang out at the beach and watch some surfers. The food here is highly regarded and this town even boasts a 3 star Michillen starred restaurant but we are not playing in that price bracket. We were on the search for pintxos again. The old town is really beautiful and straight away you smell the fresh sea air. I can tell fish is going to be on the menu a lot here much to Sarahs liking. It feels a little bit like a traditional old English seaside town, I'm thinking Brighton not Redcar. We headed straight to a little place called La Vina Sarah had heard of an award winning anchovy pintxo from there. As soon as we walked in I noticed a wall of shelves full of baked cheese cakes! Turns out this was the place I was looking for too. We ordered a couple of drinks, Sarah opting for the sidra which is traditionally poured long so it breaks on the glass. We stood at the bar which is normal in these places. Me with a big knowing smile on my face watching the bar tender cut a double slice of cheesecake thinking Sarah will eat some as well. I take the long hard decision not to tell him. "I suppose I can manage two slices if I have to". The cheese cake is baked but slightly undercooked leaving the centre like gooey sweet cheesy lava mmmmmmm! Boy two slices is not looking like enough now! At the same time Sarah is served her little anchovy and cream cheese pintxo. It's in a tweet cone and looks like a mini 99 with an anchovy flake on top. Her first bite coincides with mine. We both look at each other smile and start to giggle. "dude" we both say, which for us translates to, you need to try this!! Food and gluttony are funny things but when it's magic, it's magic. I think there is something to be said about being in a foreign country and finding great local food, it's like you've hit the jackpot. p.s. cheesecake and beer are a great combo.
We needed a little time to come round after that find so we headed further through the streets towards the sea front. The main beach is a great beach with custard coloured sand, all the architecture is old and in splendid condition which makes you think, this is what the seaside must have been like for your grand parents. The beach here is packed out though, not like our own little private one back in Xeraco. It is of course coming into high season so that's to be expected. From a high view point on the right of San Sebastián beach you can really see the beauty of this place. We take 10 minutes in the shade of an old build to watch the sail boats breeze by... I'm of course thinking about more cheesecake.
We head back to find more pinxtos. This time we were on the hunt for another local specialty, deep fried peppers. You can't be at the seaside and not have something deep fried. These bright green peppers are on the bar top in nearly all of the bars, they are fried fresh and served covered in sea salt. They are crunchy, salty and occasionally spicy. A perfect bar snack indeed, I think they would go down really well in the pubs back home. A sneaky way to get part of your five a day while in the boozer, perfect. We also tried a pepper stuffed with crab and wrapped in cornbread which was really tasty but the green peppers were the winners in this place. Sarah has also picked up a neat new drink called vino tinto con gas served with a wedge of lime. It's like sangria only you don't get ripped off with the tourist prices.
We wondered the old towns streets some more taking in the sights and atmosphere. It certainly feels more touristy here, a lot more English can be heard on the streets. Last stop on our pintxos tour was a small fish bar famous for its mussels aptly called Mejillones. It felt like a chip shop back home with stainless steel work tops and the walls adorned with illuminated pictures of all the different mussels on offer. The atmosphere in here was good as each order was shouted loud to the chef in the back giving a real buzz to the place. Sarah went for tigres which came served in a spicy tomato sauce. Sarah would later proclaim that she would have eaten those mussels all day over everything else we tried. I disagree, but of course I hate seafood and the one mussel I tried did nothing to win me over.
We headed back to the 8 mile campsite we had found for the night worried slightly that the tent may have been burnt down. Thankfully all was peaceful that end no sign of Eminem and his cronies. We woke up to a cloudy threatening looking sky but in true British style we decided to stick with our plan to go watch some surfers at the beach. The weather was not the best but it did mean we had the beach to ourselves and the waves were pretty big so the surfing was great to watch. Sarahs temporary lucky lucky dream catcher stall didn't do so well due to our poorly chosen location. The surfers loved them but where do you keep a wallet in a wetsuit?
The day before I had been caught off guard by a poor choice in an amazing artisan bakery only to walk around the corner to see everyone hold ginormous, amazing looking ice creams.
One small lady had to hold here triple cone with both hands as the ice cream scoop pyramid was bigger than her head. Her boyfriend had a spoon though so she was obviously going to share. However when he dipped in she did not look too happy. Anyway I left Sarah sat on a wall watching beach footy and some kids doing summersaults and back flips on a beach ball half buried in the sand. The hunt was on @chocmax vs Icecream bigger than my head. (P.S. @chocmax is my new nick name given to me by a friend after my mass consumption of said chocmax biscuits). Two scoops of pure gilatto delight, one pistachio and the other cheese cake with fruit and chocolate chunks. It made me feel like a kid again as I could not quite handle the dribble down my hands due to size of the scoops. I made my way back to Sarah down the promenade she had not yet been arrested for her lucky lucky stall which was good.
We decided to take a little drive up the coast road to see if we could see France. The drive was yet again beautiful, only let down by the cloudy day. We reached a high point and there was France waving back at us. This made Sarah unfathomably happy as she waved "bonjour Francia". We dropped down into the village named we had been looking upon called Hondarribia. A cute little village where the traffic wardens wear red berets. We had a drink and tipped our hats to France then headed back to the 8mile campsite.
San Sebastián is a great spot. There are two beaches. The beach we visited is really well equipped for having a lot of fun with surf schools, beach football ,swimming lessons as well as all the beautiful sand. The food's amazing and the surrounding area is very beautiful. Another place in Spain you should definitely visit. I'll finish by saying one word..... Cheesecake.