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The right way to have pintxos in the Basque Country and how tourism is changing it

The right way to have pintxos in the Basque Country and how tourism is changing it

Aug 28th, 2018, 12:04 AM
  #41  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
But, we can expect Fodorites to take part in the discussion and understand the frustration of "cultural assimilation".
Sadly, at this point, I'm not so sure!
Nonetheless, I thank mikelg for bringing the issue to our attention.
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Aug 28th, 2018, 03:31 AM
  #42  
 
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But the Basques are still very, very welcoming to tourists, or at least that has been my experience. Let's compare this to Japan, where there are many well-regarded sushi restaurants/bars that will not even take a booking from a foreigner because we do not know the proper sushi etiquette and, heaven forbid, might dip the fish into the soy sauce the wrong way. No matter how boorishly a tourist might behave in a Donostia bar, I've never seen anything but graciousness on the part of the bar staff.

I think Cuchara de San Telmo had long tables outside the bar, which were mostly occupied by foreigners last time I passed by there. Are those for raciónes, or for tourists, or for tourists having raciónes??

Last edited by ekscrunchy; Aug 28th, 2018 at 03:33 AM.
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Aug 28th, 2018, 07:32 AM
  #43  
 
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Ah yes, I had forgotten about raciónes. Undoubtedly what I was eating in Pamplona. Am I allowed to eat those sitting down? (So true about Japan, applies to ryokans as well.)
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Aug 28th, 2018, 08:42 AM
  #44  
 
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Cuchara de San Telmo

The long tables outside are for anyone who wants to sit. Cuchara de San Telmo does attract a lot of tourist, but most will not enter once they see the crush of the crowd on a typical evening.
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Aug 28th, 2018, 10:07 AM
  #45  
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Raciones are not pintxos. Raciones are had sitting down, at a table, and sharing among several (it´d be weird to order a ración for each, they are normally ordered to the center of the table and everyone picks with a fork). There´s a difference between tapas, pintxos and raciones, it´s not the same thing
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Aug 28th, 2018, 11:03 AM
  #46  
 
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So. I travel solo. I have borderline hypoglycemia and I cannot defer dinner until 22:00 or 23:00. If I eat pinxtos I have to stand up to eat them AND keep fighting my way into a series of over-crowded bars, which also means more wine than I want or non-alcoholic drinks. But I can't eat raciones either because I haven't brought along a bunch of people to share. I think I'll stick to the French side of the border.
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Aug 28th, 2018, 12:54 PM
  #47  
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Hahaha...if you´re on your own you should have raciones just for yourself, unless you want to be the friendly visitor that invites everybody to join his table! . You can have dinner at 0900pm in most places now, and in San Sebastian (due to the demand of tourism), many restaurants open at 8 or 0830pm. The French side of the border is more "European" in eating schedules...but also much more boring
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Aug 28th, 2018, 04:41 PM
  #48  
 
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Sorry this topic stirs such controversy, but I'm still somewhat confused about pinxtos and tapas. Having been to various cities that offer tapas, I an confused whether you pay for each, or none. I recall a bar in Cordoba where the tapas were free when I ordered a beer. We sat at a table and the barkeep brought us a small plate of various tapas. We were not charged. Went to another bar where we stood at the bar, and had a couple of tapas, for which we were charged. What should we expect ? Happy to pay if we want to eat, but prefer not to offend. Any pointers ?
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Aug 28th, 2018, 05:03 PM
  #49  
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As another solo traveler, I must admit that I had no trouble, whatsoever, in finding delicious foods while in Spanish Basque areas. I knew the pintxos norms, and didn't want to stand in a bar by myself, so I joined a tour for a pintxos crawl in Donostia, and it was delightful! I'm not saying that's a solution for everyone, but it worked for me. For my main meals, I had no trouble finding excellent sit-down restaurants where I had a wide range of options of various portion sizes. In fact, the difficulty I had in that part of the world was choosing which of the many wonderful restaurants to visit -- and I thank mikelg and kimhe again for helping me select some excellent and affordable options.
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Aug 29th, 2018, 12:54 AM
  #50  
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Tapas may be free or may be not. If the bartender offers them right away, practically without asking, they are normally free. That does not happen all over Spain, for example, we don´t offer or have tapas at the Basque Country. It´s pintxos and it´s not the same thing, and always paid for. I´m spending my vacation right now in Palencia, two hours southeast of Bilbao, in Castilla y León. They are giving me some peanuts or chips with my drink, that´s all. No tapas in most bars, free or not. In the south (Granada, Seville, Jaén, Huelva...) it´s normally free tapas (something not too elaborated, off the counter), but if you ask for something specific you´ll be ordering a "ración" and it´s not free.
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Aug 29th, 2018, 04:14 AM
  #51  
 
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I always manage to be the very touristy person who shows up at the bars when they open and often snags a seat, if there are any, at the bar. Going early lets you chat with the bar staff, too. I have no problem going alone. And if I go to a restaurant, with partner or friend, I am also the one who basically opens the place. Again, better service and I get to eat as early as possible, usually 9pm, so I can go to sleep on the early side.

But I have another question: What are the times that most bars are open for pinxtos in Donostia--after noon and evening? Would this be the same in the south? (Hoping to be in Andalucia, solo, this winter).
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Aug 29th, 2018, 04:26 AM
  #52  
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Pintxos are normally best from 7 to 0930pm, and in the morning between around 1230 to 2pm. In Andalucía is pretty much the same, maybe even a bit later too.
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Aug 29th, 2018, 07:16 PM
  #53  
 
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In Donostia we found a wide range of tapas available for breakfast.
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Aug 30th, 2018, 06:12 AM
  #55  
 
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No doubt the author is right about pintxos, but s/he is wrong about tapas always being free.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/pintxos-pi...-tapas-1644384
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Aug 30th, 2018, 09:36 AM
  #56  
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I´m the author. And Mr Corrigan is not totally correct...In Seville some tapas are for free and some are not. Those not free are listed and if you don´t order any, you´ll be offered a small tapa as a courtesy. By the way, the word "pincho" or "pintxo" comes from the stick they (not all) normally come from, inserted through the food all the way to the bread below.
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Aug 31st, 2018, 04:03 AM
  #57  
 
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Mike: Besides the stick, what is the difference between tapas and pinxtos apart from the region in which they are served? I've had a tapa of foie with apple in Sevilla, for example, and I've had one in Donostia..
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Aug 31st, 2018, 04:32 AM
  #58  
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Current tapas and pintxos are the result of the evolution of gastronomy towards a more elaborated cuisine. When I was a kid, pintxos were much simpler than nowadays, and tapas (in other parts of Spain) were a piece of cheese, some ham, maybe meatballs or some cured meat...At present, it´s cooks that make pintxos, and also the more elaborated tapas. The Basque Country, probably the most "culinary" region in Spain, has developed a huge world around pintxos and it´s now one of our signs of distinction. Seville has always been (as Almería and Granada, for example) famous for the quality of its tapas, which originally were (and in many places still are, if simple ones) for free, but they´ve somehow adapted the tapas to the current gastronomical tendencies, and in many places they offer elaborated tapas that they offer but you have to pay for them. In any case, two very different worlds.
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Aug 31st, 2018, 06:54 AM
  #59  
 
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I´m the author. And Mr Corrigan is not totally correct...In Seville some tapas are for free and some are not.
If you were the author you should have said so, instead of linking the post as if it were by an authority backing your argument. And you need to correct it, since, as you now say, tapas are not always free. I distinctly remember paying for tapas in Madrid in 2004 (and eating them standing up - I was younger then, lol).

I find your explanation of the difference between tapas and pintxos unhelpful. In both cases they are pieces of food served to accompany drinks - just like cicchetti in Venice. Or for that matter, bar snacks in a lot of places. Sometimes simpler, sometimes more elaborate. In Spanish Basque country you seem to have combined pintxos with the Italian passeggiata but that doesn't affect the food.

Times change and cultures change. At one time British pubs didn't serve food, or only things like Scotch eggs and pickled onions Then they progressed to ploughman's lunch (bread and cheese) and then things like fish and chips and stuffed baked potato. And now we have gastropubs. No doubt some old timers complain that there are proper dining tables, and the food is brought to the diner (although you still likely order at the bar) but I suspect most people find it an improvement.

Change is not always bad. Would you really want to live the way your ancestors did two hundred years ago?
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Aug 31st, 2018, 11:45 AM
  #60  
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Thursdaysd, in post number 14 on this thread I clearly state that the link I provide is mine. And I repeat it above with a friendly wink to another poster, as he says tapas referring to pintxos. Hope you´re happier now. And the post you brought about tapas and pintxos is not correct either...I just tried to make it easy to understand (but Spain, luckily, is very heterogenous and "tapas" are not the same thing everywhere, even within the same region) for all publics. By the way, you probably paid for raciones and not for tapas (they are offered for free in Madrid, as a general rule).

The main aim of this post was to show what locals (many) feel about the big changes that tourism is producing in the world of pintxos (and, by extension, to many other worlds). We just don´t like it, and that´s why some people have done a video to show foreigners how to do it properly, or at least "the local way". That´s it, we have the right not to like changes and to protest and to do things to help people understand how things are done. Not everything is acceptable always, anywhere, just because things are "evolving". And evolving does not always mean "improvement", at least not in this case. Do as you like, eat as you want...but it´ll be the wrong way according to our standards. As easy as that.
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