A culinary online center dedicated to promoting the importance and the joy of American home cooking with an emphasis on local products and talent, celebrating the unique spirit and energy of the new food world ethos, especially in Vermont.

amuse bouche

I love quotes that add meaning to my life. Here are a few to live by:

We can dramatically increase global food availability and environmental sustainability by using more of our crops to feed people directly and less to fatten livestock.
—Jonathan A. Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment, U of MN

Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
—Michael Pollan

Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.
—Craig Claiborne

People who eat according to the rules of a traditional food culture are generally healthier than those of us eating a modern Western diet of processed food.
—Michael Pollan

From the Sea Cloud to the Cloud Nine of Dining

The Stars of San Sebastian, Spain

By Margo Davis

Margo Davis returns to In the Kitchen with Bronwyn with a story about her recent trip to one of the best places to eat in the world, San Sebastian, Spain. Enjoy her story of Michelin three-star restaurants and cultural icons. Welcome back, Margo!
—Bronwyn 

Grey Line

And, I do not mean Hollywood stars or rocks stars or even the stars that come out at night in the firmament. I am referring to Michelin-starred restaurants. Imagine the surprise when we learned that, in the entire world, no region has as many starred restaurants per square kilometer as Donostia/San Sebastian! It has become a destination for gastronomes.

Delight & Anticipation
My husband and I do not travel to eat but we definitely travel with dining in mind! In May this year, we enjoyed a very special schooner journey around the Iberian Peninsula in the Sea Cloud II with a Stanford Alumni group. We were treated to top rate lectures about the history of Iberia, visits to the Alhambra in Granada and the Alcazar in Sevilla, cathedrals in Lisboa and Santiago de Compostela, and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Picture our delight and anticipation when we realized that we were ending our journey on the Sea Cloud II in Bilbao, Spain, only a few miles from San Sebastian.

The Sea Cloud II

The Sea Cloud II

Gilding the Lily
The Sea Cloud II is a modern windjammer completed in 2001, modeled on the original 1931 sailing ship, Sea Cloud, which was built for Marjorie Merriweather Post, heiress and a founder of General Foods Corporation. The journey on this marvelous elegant ship provided plenty of fine dining for eight days with an excellent German chef and staff. We ate too much and very well. The choice of an extension of our own to San Sebastian after such a voyage was really “gilding the lily”!!! BUT, we were so very close to a foodie nirvana.

The Guggenheim Museum
We left the Sea Cloud II in Bilbao, in northern Spain where the Guggenheim Museum perches around the Nervion River. We drove the 66 miles over to Donostia, the Basque name for San Sebastian, a coastal city on the Bay of Biscay only some 15 miles from the French border. Donostia is a paradise of mountains falling into the horseshoe-shaped bay with lovely beaches for swimming and surfing.

guggenheim museum

The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain

116–Year Old Restaurant
Our interest however, was less in the sporting life (maybe we should be indulging in some of this!) and more in the gastronomic fare around us. As I said before, San Sebastian and the region has forged an identity in gastronomy. The artist/chefs are starred and world famous. If you did not know this previously, you will now know that Juan Mari Arzak, the father of Basque Cuisine, is responsible for birthing chefs like El Bulli’s Ferran Adria, now considered one of the most brilliant in the culinary world. Arzak and his daughter, Elena, have their family’s 116-year old restaurant right here in the city. They shop at the amazing La Bretxa market in the old town (Parte Vieja). They are deeply rooted in their Basque country.

Multi-Starred Night On The Town
Because we had eaten at Arzak many years before, we chose a new venue for our multi-starred night on the town. And a night out it was! I felt like I could have just stopped the search for the ultimate dining experience after the tasting menu at Martin Berasategui. Many guests were snapping photos of their plates, but I just felt that was an invasion of privacy. So, you can find many pictures on Martin’s web site.

Chef Berasategui’s dishes capture the absolute essence of flavor of whatever he features, be it fois-gras, lobster, pigeon, oyster… you name it. I now dream of a return to Donostia for another meal chez Martin and also to return to Zuberoa, a memorable meal in a 15th century farmhouse in the ancient town of Oiartzun near San Sebastian.

Too Many Restaurants, Too Little Time
For fine dining there are too many restaurants and too little time! Add Akelare, Mugaritz, Mirador de Ulia, Kokotxa, and Alameda and many many more.

There are also some great alternatives to all of this formal fine dining: the tapas bars… San Sebastian style. In fact, this is where one should begin a culinary tour…  to get an idea of the local ingredients and the local resident’s way of eating. This way you can walk from one small bite to another, working off the calories as you bar hop. You will be arm to arm and cheek to jowl, believe me, with all the locals as well as tourists.

Head For The Old Town

market in San Sebastian

A Street Scene in The Food-lovers Town of San Sebastian

Head for the Old Town (Parte Vieja). The entire parte vieja is filled with small bars with their signature ‘pintxos’ (the Basque word for tapas), delectable bocadillos, a la plancha with seafood, estafadoes, stews, fritos and more goodies…all different combinations. Cepes (mushrooms), asparagus, roasted peppers and garlic on top of crispy bread, potato salad with tuna, squid, grilled octopus, prawns, etcetera, and so it rolls… on and on and on!

Wash this down with a cerveza corto (short beer) or a txakoli, a light bubbly local white wine. Heaven is just around the corner in your B&B for a Basque-style siesta. Or just wash it down a second time in the salty sea with a swim in the Bay of Biscay.

On egin!  Buen apetito!  Buen Provecho! 

Posted: 8-17-2013

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The Stars of San Sebastian, Spain

By Margo Davis Margo Davis returns to In the Kitchen with Bronwyn with a story about her recent trip to one of the best places to eat in the world, San Sebastian, Spain. Enjoy her story of Michelin three-star restaurants and cultural icons. Welcome back, Margo! —Bronwyn  Grey Line And, I do not mean Hollywood stars or rocks stars or even the stars that come out at night in the firmament. I am referring to Michelin-starred restaurants. Imagine the surprise when we learned that, in the entire world, no region has as many starred restaurants per square kilometer as Donostia/San Sebastian! It has become a destination for gastronomes. Delight & Anticipation My husband and I do not travel to eat but we definitely travel with dining in mind! In May this year, we enjoyed a very special schooner journey around the Iberian Peninsula in the Sea Cloud II with a Stanford Alumni group. We were treated to top rate lectures about the history of Iberia, visits to the Alhambra in Granada and the Alcazar in Sevilla, cathedrals in Lisboa and Santiago de Compostela, and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Picture our delight and anticipation when we realized that we were ending our journey on the Sea Cloud II in Bilbao, Spain, only a few miles from San Sebastian. [caption id="attachment_2755" align="alignnone" width="500"]The Sea Cloud II The Sea Cloud II[/caption] Gilding the Lily The Sea Cloud II is a modern windjammer completed in 2001, modeled on the original 1931 sailing ship, Sea Cloud, which was built for Marjorie Merriweather Post, heiress and a founder of General Foods Corporation. The journey on this marvelous elegant ship provided plenty of fine dining for eight days with an excellent German chef and staff. We ate too much and very well. The choice of an extension of our own to San Sebastian after such a voyage was really “gilding the lily”!!! BUT, we were so very close to a foodie nirvana. The Guggenheim Museum We left the Sea Cloud II in Bilbao, in northern Spain where the Guggenheim Museum perches around the Nervion River. We drove the 66 miles over to Donostia, the Basque name for San Sebastian, a coastal city on the Bay of Biscay only some 15 miles from the French border. Donostia is a paradise of mountains falling into the horseshoe-shaped bay with lovely beaches for swimming and surfing. [caption id="attachment_2753" align="alignnone" width="499"]guggenheim museum The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain[/caption] 116–Year Old Restaurant Our interest however, was less in the sporting life (maybe we should be indulging in some of this!) and more in the gastronomic fare around us. As I said before, San Sebastian and the region has forged an identity in gastronomy. The artist/chefs are starred and world famous. If you did not know this previously, you will now know that Juan Mari Arzak, the father of Basque Cuisine, is responsible for birthing chefs like El Bulli’s Ferran Adria, now considered one of the most brilliant in the culinary world. Arzak and his daughter, Elena, have their family’s 116-year old restaurant right here in the city. They shop at the amazing La Bretxa market in the old town (Parte Vieja). They are deeply rooted in their Basque country. Multi-Starred Night On The Town Because we had eaten at Arzak many years before, we chose a new venue for our multi-starred night on the town. And a night out it was! I felt like I could have just stopped the search for the ultimate dining experience after the tasting menu at Martin Berasategui. Many guests were snapping photos of their plates, but I just felt that was an invasion of privacy. So, you can find many pictures on Martin’s web site. Chef Berasategui’s dishes capture the absolute essence of flavor of whatever he features, be it fois-gras, lobster, pigeon, oyster… you name it. I now dream of a return to Donostia for another meal chez Martin and also to return to Zuberoa, a memorable meal in a 15th century farmhouse in the ancient town of Oiartzun near San Sebastian. Too Many Restaurants, Too Little Time For fine dining there are too many restaurants and too little time! Add Akelare, Mugaritz, Mirador de Ulia, Kokotxa, and Alameda and many many more. There are also some great alternatives to all of this formal fine dining: the tapas bars… San Sebastian style. In fact, this is where one should begin a culinary tour…  to get an idea of the local ingredients and the local resident’s way of eating. This way you can walk from one small bite to another, working off the calories as you bar hop. You will be arm to arm and cheek to jowl, believe me, with all the locals as well as tourists. 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The Stars of San Sebastian, Spain

By Margo Davis Margo Davis returns to In the Kitchen with Bronwyn with a story about her recent trip to one of the best places to eat in the world, San Sebastian, Spain. Enjoy her story of Michelin three-star restaurants and cultural icons. Welcome back, Margo! —Bronwyn  Grey Line And, I do not mean Hollywood stars or rocks stars or even the stars that come out at night in the firmament. I am referring to Michelin-starred restaurants. Imagine the surprise when we learned that, in the entire world, no region has as many starred restaurants per square kilometer as Donostia/San Sebastian! It has become a destination for gastronomes. Delight & Anticipation My husband and I do not travel to eat but we definitely travel with dining in mind! In May this year, we enjoyed a very special schooner journey around the Iberian Peninsula in the Sea Cloud II with a Stanford Alumni group. We were treated to top rate lectures about the history of Iberia, visits to the Alhambra in Granada and the Alcazar in Sevilla, cathedrals in Lisboa and Santiago de Compostela, and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Picture our delight and anticipation when we realized that we were ending our journey on the Sea Cloud II in Bilbao, Spain, only a few miles from San Sebastian. [caption id="attachment_2755" align="alignnone" width="500"]The Sea Cloud II The Sea Cloud II[/caption] Gilding the Lily The Sea Cloud II is a modern windjammer completed in 2001, modeled on the original 1931 sailing ship, Sea Cloud, which was built for Marjorie Merriweather Post, heiress and a founder of General Foods Corporation. The journey on this marvelous elegant ship provided plenty of fine dining for eight days with an excellent German chef and staff. We ate too much and very well. The choice of an extension of our own to San Sebastian after such a voyage was really “gilding the lily”!!! BUT, we were so very close to a foodie nirvana. The Guggenheim Museum We left the Sea Cloud II in Bilbao, in northern Spain where the Guggenheim Museum perches around the Nervion River. We drove the 66 miles over to Donostia, the Basque name for San Sebastian, a coastal city on the Bay of Biscay only some 15 miles from the French border. Donostia is a paradise of mountains falling into the horseshoe-shaped bay with lovely beaches for swimming and surfing. [caption id="attachment_2753" align="alignnone" width="499"]guggenheim museum The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain[/caption] 116–Year Old Restaurant Our interest however, was less in the sporting life (maybe we should be indulging in some of this!) and more in the gastronomic fare around us. As I said before, San Sebastian and the region has forged an identity in gastronomy. The artist/chefs are starred and world famous. If you did not know this previously, you will now know that Juan Mari Arzak, the father of Basque Cuisine, is responsible for birthing chefs like El Bulli’s Ferran Adria, now considered one of the most brilliant in the culinary world. Arzak and his daughter, Elena, have their family’s 116-year old restaurant right here in the city. They shop at the amazing La Bretxa market in the old town (Parte Vieja). They are deeply rooted in their Basque country. Multi-Starred Night On The Town Because we had eaten at Arzak many years before, we chose a new venue for our multi-starred night on the town. And a night out it was! I felt like I could have just stopped the search for the ultimate dining experience after the tasting menu at Martin Berasategui. Many guests were snapping photos of their plates, but I just felt that was an invasion of privacy. So, you can find many pictures on Martin’s web site. Chef Berasategui’s dishes capture the absolute essence of flavor of whatever he features, be it fois-gras, lobster, pigeon, oyster… you name it. I now dream of a return to Donostia for another meal chez Martin and also to return to Zuberoa, a memorable meal in a 15th century farmhouse in the ancient town of Oiartzun near San Sebastian. Too Many Restaurants, Too Little Time For fine dining there are too many restaurants and too little time! Add Akelare, Mugaritz, Mirador de Ulia, Kokotxa, and Alameda and many many more. There are also some great alternatives to all of this formal fine dining: the tapas bars… San Sebastian style. In fact, this is where one should begin a culinary tour…  to get an idea of the local ingredients and the local resident’s way of eating. This way you can walk from one small bite to another, working off the calories as you bar hop. You will be arm to arm and cheek to jowl, believe me, with all the locals as well as tourists. 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The Stars of San Sebastian, Spain

By Margo Davis Margo Davis returns to In the Kitchen with Bronwyn with a story about her recent trip to one of the best places to eat in the world, San Sebastian, Spain. Enjoy her story of Michelin three-star restaurants and cultural icons. Welcome back, Margo! —Bronwyn  Grey Line And, I do not mean Hollywood stars or rocks stars or even the stars that come out at night in the firmament. I am referring to Michelin-starred restaurants. Imagine the surprise when we learned that, in the entire world, no region has as many starred restaurants per square kilometer as Donostia/San Sebastian! It has become a destination for gastronomes. Delight & Anticipation My husband and I do not travel to eat but we definitely travel with dining in mind! In May this year, we enjoyed a very special schooner journey around the Iberian Peninsula in the Sea Cloud II with a Stanford Alumni group. We were treated to top rate lectures about the history of Iberia, visits to the Alhambra in Granada and the Alcazar in Sevilla, cathedrals in Lisboa and Santiago de Compostela, and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Picture our delight and anticipation when we realized that we were ending our journey on the Sea Cloud II in Bilbao, Spain, only a few miles from San Sebastian. [caption id="attachment_2755" align="alignnone" width="500"]The Sea Cloud II The Sea Cloud II[/caption] Gilding the Lily The Sea Cloud II is a modern windjammer completed in 2001, modeled on the original 1931 sailing ship, Sea Cloud, which was built for Marjorie Merriweather Post, heiress and a founder of General Foods Corporation. The journey on this marvelous elegant ship provided plenty of fine dining for eight days with an excellent German chef and staff. We ate too much and very well. The choice of an extension of our own to San Sebastian after such a voyage was really “gilding the lily”!!! BUT, we were so very close to a foodie nirvana. The Guggenheim Museum We left the Sea Cloud II in Bilbao, in northern Spain where the Guggenheim Museum perches around the Nervion River. We drove the 66 miles over to Donostia, the Basque name for San Sebastian, a coastal city on the Bay of Biscay only some 15 miles from the French border. Donostia is a paradise of mountains falling into the horseshoe-shaped bay with lovely beaches for swimming and surfing. [caption id="attachment_2753" align="alignnone" width="499"]guggenheim museum The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain[/caption] 116–Year Old Restaurant Our interest however, was less in the sporting life (maybe we should be indulging in some of this!) and more in the gastronomic fare around us. As I said before, San Sebastian and the region has forged an identity in gastronomy. The artist/chefs are starred and world famous. If you did not know this previously, you will now know that Juan Mari Arzak, the father of Basque Cuisine, is responsible for birthing chefs like El Bulli’s Ferran Adria, now considered one of the most brilliant in the culinary world. Arzak and his daughter, Elena, have their family’s 116-year old restaurant right here in the city. They shop at the amazing La Bretxa market in the old town (Parte Vieja). They are deeply rooted in their Basque country. Multi-Starred Night On The Town Because we had eaten at Arzak many years before, we chose a new venue for our multi-starred night on the town. And a night out it was! I felt like I could have just stopped the search for the ultimate dining experience after the tasting menu at Martin Berasategui. Many guests were snapping photos of their plates, but I just felt that was an invasion of privacy. So, you can find many pictures on Martin’s web site. Chef Berasategui’s dishes capture the absolute essence of flavor of whatever he features, be it fois-gras, lobster, pigeon, oyster… you name it. I now dream of a return to Donostia for another meal chez Martin and also to return to Zuberoa, a memorable meal in a 15th century farmhouse in the ancient town of Oiartzun near San Sebastian. Too Many Restaurants, Too Little Time For fine dining there are too many restaurants and too little time! Add Akelare, Mugaritz, Mirador de Ulia, Kokotxa, and Alameda and many many more. There are also some great alternatives to all of this formal fine dining: the tapas bars… San Sebastian style. In fact, this is where one should begin a culinary tour…  to get an idea of the local ingredients and the local resident’s way of eating. This way you can walk from one small bite to another, working off the calories as you bar hop. You will be arm to arm and cheek to jowl, believe me, with all the locals as well as tourists. Head For The Old Town [caption id="attachment_2758" align="alignleft" width="233"]market in San Sebastian A Street Scene in The Food-lovers Town of San Sebastian[/caption] Head for the Old Town (Parte Vieja). The entire parte vieja is filled with small bars with their signature ‘pintxos’ (the Basque word for tapas), delectable bocadillos, a la plancha with seafood, estafadoes, stews, fritos and more goodies…all different combinations. Cepes (mushrooms), asparagus, roasted peppers and garlic on top of crispy bread, potato salad with tuna, squid, grilled octopus, prawns, etcetera, and so it rolls… on and on and on! Wash this down with a cerveza corto (short beer) or a txakoli, a light bubbly local white wine. Heaven is just around the corner in your B&B for a Basque-style siesta. Or just wash it down a second time in the salty sea with a swim in the Bay of Biscay. On egin!  Buen apetito!  Buen Provecho! " ["post_title"]=> string(46) "From the Sea Cloud to the Cloud Nine of Dining" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(208) "Guest blogger Margo Davis returns with a story about her recent trip to one of the best places to eat in the world, San Sebastian, Spain. Enjoy her story of Michelin three-star restaurants and cultural icons!" 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4 responses to “From the Sea Cloud to the Cloud Nine of Dining”

  1. Will Bailey says:

    If you had only one or two nights to spend in this region, what a challenge deciding which dining (place) experience to have. And I thought New York had too many to choose from.

  2. Laurie Baumgarten says:

    Brings back my 3 weeks in San Sebastian in 2006 and our many walks along the water to Old Town to eat in the yummy tapas bars. One evening we chose to eat in a very local little basque restaurant with a menu only in the Basque language. We did not know what we were ordering. What came to our table was a plate of octopus suckers floating in black liquid. Jesse and Michael were brave souls and dug in…I’m afraid I was too squeamish.
    By the way, the fabulous, large food markets throughout Basque country are all owned and operated by Mondragon Enterprises, the largest worker-owned and controlled cooperative system in the world.

  3. “I discovered your blog web site on google and test just a few of your early posts. Proceed to keep up the superb operate. I simply further up your RSS feed to my MSN Information Reader. Searching for forward to reading more from you afterward!…”

  4. Bilbao is still on my bucket list and now I have all the more reason to go…Art and Food are good reasons to go almost anywhere!

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