Dolarea: Beasain, Basque Country

 As part of my travails with the first-ever San Sebastián Restaurant Week, which mostly include eating a lot for both lunch and dinner, I journeyed earlier this week out to the countryside with my loyal partner-in-crime, Conde de La Maza.

Our stop? Dolarea in Beasain. I thought I had no idea where it was, but it turns out I used to enjoy summer post-bike ride coffees there with a friend.

We sat down to some croquetas made with the famed local blood sausage, morcilla de Beasain.  The owner of the hotel and restaurant, Iban Mate, gave us a warm welcome. He was really a pleasure to talk to...passionate both about the food and the wine.

Then we moved on to a toasted Idiazabal salad, which was dressed with a txakoli vinaigrette. Iban likes to say that whites make much more interesting pairs for most cheeses, and if this salad was any testament, he's right.

 Next, a creamy scramble of kokotxas, those mysterious cuts of fish that translate to either cheek, jowl, or that piece of meat right around the throat. These were of bacalao, and this dish was SUPERB.

Then a dish that was instructive and delish...bacalao in a mix of sauces, one emulating the tomato pepper sauce they call vizcaína, the other a silky smooth version of garlicky pil pil.

And the dessert de resistance was a famed local creation, the pantxineta. Puff pastry, almonds, and pastry cream, accompanied by a bitter cream and a smoking shot glass of sweetened wine. 

This place is perfect for a nice lunch or dinner when exploring the countryside around Donosti-don't miss it.