it's the little #mysterys

 People from here are proud of their food. They're proud of the raw product, they're proud of the folks that cook it, and they're proud of their restaurants. They like to share, but often it comes with one condition: "Don't tell anyone." Or maybe that's just something they tell me since I am, as I often forget, a guiri. And a journalist. And a blogger.

Thank goodness I have friends that don't hold that against me. And even, I suspect, sort of like it when I guiri-bash. Otherwise, I wouldn't have had plate, after plate, after plate of fresh seafood at a quiet bar-restaurant outside of the city this week for lunch. A bottle of cold, salty txakoli was brought the table and the meal begin. We started with the tomato salad, above, dressed with vinegar, loads of olive oil, tuna, anchovies and guindilla peppers.

Next the anchovies (see top of post), fresh, mouthwatering, and topped with fried garlic. A plate of fried anchovies, then, battered in tiny, uniform breadcrumb. Really, just incredible. Fried fish, equally perfect. There we were, a Basque, an American, a guy from Cataluña and one from Cadiz, and we were all nodding and smiling in sheer pleasure.

The paramount of the meal were the calamari, which as our Andalucian commented, tasted like perfectly grilled calamari, but were battered and fried. These are the calamari you only dream about. If you dream about cephalopods.

I've struck the name of the restaurant my friends carried me to this week out of my mind, just so I can honestly tell people I can't remember what it's called. I took a picture of the sign, but I'm not looking at it until the day comes when the ganas to return become unbearable. Which probably isn't very far off, since I haven't stopped thinking about the calamari and the fresh seafood tasting of the air coming through the restaurant's front door.