Tripping through Spain: Basque Country (Part 2 of 3)
“Let’s get out of Dodge,” I commented and off we drove to Basque Country from our Madrid base camp. I’d found this new hotel over looking the sea and Akelerre did not disappoint. Designed by Mecanismo – Marta Urtasun and Pedro Rica – they positioned the building exactly right for landscape overlooking the Bay of Biscay.
Our brand new contemporary room was spectacular with huge sliding doors that opened everything to the sea. I will never forget that view and the peace it brought to my soul. This hotel is so well designed it’s a marvel in and of itself to visit.
More views from inside our living room to a view to the north and then a view straight out near sunset. It was so warm in late October that we could leave the door open most of the time. The cows, sheep, seabirds and occasional fishing boats made this spot idillic.
And now to the food. Chef Pedro Subijana owns the property and it’s famous heritage is as a 3-Michelin starred eating establishment for over ten years. We ate in the main restaurant one evening and selected the experimental menus and the wine pairings.
The wine pairings were some of the best we’ve had – the food was, however, a bit uneven. In particular a few of the courses were visually challenged and lacked a distinctive flavor. On the positive, some of our courses in the hotel restaurant were really consistent like the lobster bisque.
Pinxtos or Pinchos?
Both depending on where you are and we had some spectacular mushroom pinchos in both San Sebastian and Logrono. Either the wine or the food is free and you pay for the other depending on which establishment you visit.
The fresh mushrooms were piled so high they couldn’t add anymore to the plates. Lighting sauteed with an egg these mushroom Pinxtos were melty and soft. This place was packed and you had to worm your way in but totally worth the wait.
San Sebastian/Bar Nestor
This place has three plates – tomatoes, peppers and steak. That’s it and don’t expect to share a steak with more than two people at the bar or you’ll be asked to go sit in the empty room next door.
The bartenders are also the servers and show you a couple of raw steaks just like an old supper club for your beef pinxtos. The sizzling plate arrives with steak knives and a piece of meat perfectly prepared to your order. Well worth fighting the crowd for a place at the bar.
Oh, there's more. Wine - a day trip to France and shopping of course. That's all in our last installment coming soon!
Barbara Schmidt, principal of Studiobstyle, is an interior designer and creative director world walking experiences for inspiration.