Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Eating Tapas

It's food week here at whereisdarrennow. Today's topic? Tapas! Well, in this case, actually, Pintxos Vascos (pinn-chōs baz-cōs).

A little background...because you NEED to know...

The word "tapa" means "lid" in Spanish. The legend goes that you were given a piece of meat or bread to cover your drink (like a lid), possibly to keep out flies or so you couldn't smell how bad the alcohol really was. Generally, tapas are (pretty much) any type of food served in a snack-size "package". They are always consumed with alcohol of some sort and make up the entire "meal". In other words, they are a complete meal you eat while drinking and are not appetizers. Tourist areas of Spain are chock-full of places where you can eat tapas. They usually have some sort of "deal" where you get tapas "free" with your Sangria for some crazy high price. I haven't been to any "tapas" places during my time in Spain. :-)

On the other hand, I HAVE been to a place called Sagardi here in Barcelona that serves tapas from the Basque area of Spain. This is the inside of Sagardi (note that you stand up here):

What this place serves are called pintxos and are a bit different than what you might think of a traditional Spanish tapa. Although the Basque country in Spain is known for it's gourmet food, somehow (to me) pintxos are rugged. They're served on a piece of bread and you eat them with your hands; with a drink in your other hand. To give you an idea, I'll try to tell you a joke I heard about people from the Basque country (translated poorly I'm guessing)...

A guy from the Basque countryside comes into a hardware store and asks for something to cut down some trees on his property. The shop owner shows him some chainsaws and tells the guy "that you can cut down over 60 trees per hour with one of these". After some thought, the guy buys one and is on his way. A couple of days later, the guy comes back to the store with the chainsaw in hand obviously dissatisfied. He proceeds to tell the owner that he could only cut down 53 trees in an hour and wants his money back. The owner takes the chain saw from the guy and starts it up to make sure everything is all right. At that point, the guy exclaims with a bit of fear "what is all that noise?" Ummm, yeah...the folks from this part of Spain are apparently a tough bunch and their food, although gourmet, reflects this.

Here are two shots of what was right in front of me...yum!!!


The next time you find yourself in Spain, head straight for a pintxos place. Grab a cerveza, or much better yet, a Txakoli, eat your fill, and reflect on your working-class life. You'll be happy that you did.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are reviewed prior to being posted.