Txikito and Memories of the Basque Region

2010/12/12 § Leave a comment

It is only just that birthdays are celebrated for many days before and after the day itself.  After all, it only comes around once a year, you wait for it for soo long  and you somehow have to get something good out of getting older.  Hence, the never-ending posts about birthdays.  Here’s another one:

A good friend took me out to celebrate and to catch up and made me choose among three restaurants – Italian, Mediterranean or Basque.  Of course, I chose the Basque one.  Not only do I love tapas, I love the Basque region and every single dish I’ve had when I was there.

I also like sharing many small plates instead of having just one appetizer and a main dish.   I am disappointed in the  main dishes of restaurants 90% of the time.  So on Thursday night, Jen and I happily took refuge from the biting cold into the warm, rustic-modern dining place of Txikito in Chelsea.

We ordered a plate of PIPERRAK – blistered peppers with sea salt, which I so loved.

ALBONDIGAS – lamb meatballs in minted broth which was very good and very filling.

PATATAK MENTAIKO . Crisp Fries with Spicy Cod Roe Mayo.

First of all, I love potatoes.  Anything potatoes.  Mashed, squashed, fried, gratin, baked, name it.  My least favorite preparation would probably be when boiled for salads.  But will still eat potaotes.

As for fries…there are good fries and fave fries and so-so fries.  Most fries fall in the so-so category.  My favorite ones were those I had at JCT Kitchen in Atlanta (D arranged dinner there specifically for the Truffled Fries) and at David Burke’s Primehouse in Chicago (Truffle Asiago Fries).  These crisp ones from Txikito come close.  They have flavor all throughout and because they’re thinly sliced, I don’t get that part in the middle that just tastes of starch and nothing more.

PIL-PIL. Finally, we had the legendary Basque Salt Cod poached in olive oil, which was flavorful and very tender, albeit a tad salty.

Had a great time catching up with Jen and indulging in good food.  Grateful for friends who keep me company especially during cold, wintry days.

I also couldn’t help but reminisce about a holiday with J in the Basque region couple of years back.  I loved, loved the place.  Biarritz.  St. Jean de Luz.  St. Jean Pied-de-Port.  Sare.  San Sebastian.  Bilbao.  It had the perfect combination of sea, rolling hills, mountains, beautiful countryside, culture, sports, excellent food, and everything else I love.  This deserves another post altogether.  And another visit someday.

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