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Hondarrabia--Basque Food Mecca? (NYTimes article)

Hondarrabia--Basque Food Mecca? (NYTimes article)

Aug 1st, 2010, 11:54 AM
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Hondarrabia--Basque Food Mecca? (NYTimes article)

ekscrunchy is offline  
Aug 1st, 2010, 12:05 PM
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The NY Times is a little behind in covering Hondarribia. Maribel discovered it years ago.
Robert2533 is offline  
Aug 1st, 2010, 12:27 PM
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We spent a week there and loved it; the two different old quarters of the town are so distinct and both interesting. I take issue with the writer calling it a hamlet or tiny; it has to have at least a 10,000 population if not more.
I agree with Robert, Maribel is a big fan of this town and has a Hondarribia pdf on her website. The food scene has been receiving raves for quite a while too.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Aug 1st, 2010, 01:46 PM
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Robert why does not your friend Maribel do articles for the press too then?
ribeirasacra is offline  
Aug 1st, 2010, 03:03 PM
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I just checked and more than half the eating recommendations in the New York Times article don't appear in Maribel's guide to Hondarribia.

I only passed through Hondarbbia without eating, but I used Maribel's guide for bar and restaurant choices in San Sebastian and quickly ditched them. I know the guides are very popular on Fodor's for being free, but many people who use them and tout them never use anything else. (And who know how good their eats judgment is anyway? Many of them have never tasted Basque cuisine or any cuisine in Spain before).

I was under the impression that Hondarribia had notable history stretching back for more than a 1,000 years, and that there is a 10c castle there that served as guest quarters for Napolean when he visited Hondarribia, some several hundred years before Maribel supposedly "discovered" it. It was certainly in the (better) guidebook I also carried with me in the Basque region.
zeppole is offline  
Aug 1st, 2010, 03:04 PM
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A couple of years ago I was in San Sesebastian when they had the "Pintxo Cookoff" [my term]. Big deal. Held at the Londres, over 100 entries, cooked on site, live on television, reserved seats,etc. The top two prizes were won by chefs from Hondarribias.

A funny: I put on slacks and a blazer and managed to con my way to the front row of seating. In the morning paper there I was on Page 1. I was very proud!!
weber6560 is offline  
Aug 1st, 2010, 06:26 PM
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To go back to the article, I was very unimpressed with the food in Hondarribia. Yes there are few places that are good to exceptional, but many are standard bar tapas - stale bread, fried foods, heavy use of mayonnaise, lack of any vegetables - frankly, just food meant to soak the alcohol. Some of the places mentioned in the Times were on the innovative side and quite good. Sugarri was a huge disappointment both in food and service. Then again this was a year ago. And just my tiny opinion. Cute town though I would not cal it the new mecca.
cherrybomb is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2010, 04:27 PM
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We used Maribel to plan two week driving trip thru Costa Brava and Basque country. Best decision we made for trip. She suggested places we never would have seen without advice. Nobody can know everynpossible restaurant or sight. But all of her restaurant recommendations were excellent. We did find one place she had never tried and it was also extremely good. She will try it this month. Several small towns she recommended were spectactular.
If anybody disinterested will share our link to our MyPublisher picture book of trip.
Elainee is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2010, 04:29 PM
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Sorry for typo...iPad keyboard still problem for me. I meant ...if anyone is interested..
Elainee is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2010, 04:32 PM
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Please do share that link, Elainee. We are driving through Costa Brava and Basque in Sept and am seeking ALL info .
jubilada is online now  
Aug 2nd, 2010, 10:12 PM
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An opinion from a local: yes, Hondarribia/Fuenterrabía is a beautiful town on its own, close to SS and traditionally a place where people of neighboring towns go on weekends to enjoy its old quarter and socialize in its traditional bars. Pintxos in the Basque Country have developed from the very traditional ones to the present "miniature art cuisine", so many bars have specialized in making great pintxos. But not only in Hondarribia, almost every town in the Basque Country offers great pintxos and lovely food. It´s just that the people in the NY Times can´t visit them all and so they go to the most popular places. I can think now of about 10 towns with similar quality pintxos and atmosphere to Hondarribia...but off the beaten track. In any case, a beautiful town, great food, great atmosphere and a must, IMHO.
mikelg is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2010, 01:06 AM
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mikelg, I'd be very interested to hear your list of 10 other towns of similar interest to Hondarribia. We enjoyed it very much and would love to find similar places for future trips.

BTW I think you're the person who tried to steer us to the bridge in Bilbao. I'm sorry to say that we didn't get there and I'm feeling very guilty for not yet having done a trip report of our time in Northern Spain this year. My only excuse is that we're working on a very big travel schedule and I'm running behind. Just back from Scandinavia and leave in a couple of weeks for Normandy. Nonetheless I wanted to thank you for your recommendations for yet more things to see in that wonderful area to which I expect we'll return with some frequency.
JulieVikmanis is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2010, 02:14 AM
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Re my earlier post about Hondarribias restaurants winning the Campeonata de Pintxos: First Place - Erbata [Hondarribias] Second place - Gran Sol [Hondarribias] Third place - Bar SM [SS] Fourth Place - Bar Antonio [SS] and Fifth place - Casa Vergara [SS].

Mikelg: I'd love your list as well.
weber6560 is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2010, 11:27 AM
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Julie: I for one will eagerly await your report, as soon as you find the time to write it. That area is one I must return to, hopefully within the next few years! I've made three (far too brief) trips to the northern coast of Spain and still feel as if I have only scratched the very surface...

I wish you a wonderful time in Normandy--I know you will eat well and I hope to read about just how well!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2010, 12:46 PM
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eks, have you been to Scandinavia yet? This was our second trip and the place is pretty fantastic. I highly recommend it. Of course, it's at the other end of the monetary spectrum from Northern Spain. Everything in Spain was about half what we'd pay in Paris, and everything in Scandinavia was about 1 and 1/2 times as much. No wonder European travelers to this country really value Denny's.
JulieVikmanis is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2010, 01:15 PM
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Julie: Yes, but only to Denmark and in and around Oslo....and both trips were years ago. There are just so many places to visit! I have to admit that the more I read about the current food scene in that region, the more interested I become. Next task: Read Julie's most recent trip report!

BTW: Did you happen to see the PBS tv series about Scandinavian food that aired a couple of years ago? It was very, very good--let me see if I can come up with the name...
ekscrunchy is offline  
May 20th, 2011, 03:23 AM
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Topping this with the hope that Mikelg will offer his opinion on some of the better off-the-beaten-track towns for pintxos, as mentioned above.....many thanks!
ekscrunchy is offline  
May 20th, 2011, 06:49 PM
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Eks, I can think of Orio, Zumaia, Deba and Zarautz, for instance, in the Gipuzkoa coast. If in Bizkaia, I like to have some pintxos and a glass of wine in Plentzia, Armintza, Lekeitio and Mundaka, for instance. Each with its own personality...but true, Hondarribia is a really beautiful town.
mikelg is offline  
May 21st, 2011, 02:43 AM
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Thanks so much, Mikelg.
ekscrunchy is offline  
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