Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Ortiz built their second fish factory in Ondarroa, Spain. They have five now. The first factory is no more but number two is still running strong, nearing its 100 year anniversary. It's the place where they tin much of the tuna we sell. It's five stories high, located on the little fishing town's main street. You park up the block and walk down to the factory at Calle de Iñaki Deuna, number 15, and the storefronts along the way go like this: cell phone shop, shoe store, café, fish factory, grammar school, bakery. These are pictures from across the canal. One of the buildings you're looking at is the factory, built shoulder to shoulder with apartment houses. If you're wondering what it's like waking up next to a fish factory I'll tell you that it's probably just fine—as long as it's this one. I spent the morning there, the smell is sweet and lovely, like the sea. In fact, the Ortiz family built themselves an apartment on the top floor of the factory. For much of the last century they lived there and raised a family above vaults of tuna.

Wall tiles from a fish restaurant in Ondarroa:

Monday, October 22, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Piquillo Peppers at El Navarrico

The DOP for piquillo peppers outlines rules for some things—where the peppers are grown, for example—but leaves some options open, including how they're roasted. Until 10 years ago El Navarrico roasted exclusively with beechwood. Then they switched to gas. (Most others have as well.) Tim and Jonathan Harris at La Tienda convinced them to return to wood, which they only do for special batches.

Red wine on ice?

Over and over in Spain I noticed tapas bars put red wine in ice buckets. The buckets weren't heaped with ice and the wine wasn't refrigerator cold when served, but it was definitely chilled a little.

Markets: Madrid's San Miguel and Barcelona's Boqueria

Friday, October 19, 2012

Maria José

The only farmhouse raw milk unpasteurized unwaxed PDO Manchego in the world is made by a woman. Maria José's cheese is the best of its kind I've had.

Somewhere in Spain: Painters and Drugs store

Siri had all kinds of trouble pronouncing directions in Basque Spain

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Some tapas in Bilbao, Logroño and San Sebastián

In this part of the country tapas are also called pintxos. Many are served on a slice of baguette where they're known as montaditos. They offer them hot, but most are sold at room temperature stacked at the bar, serve yourself, honor system rules. People usually bar hop to several pintxos joints in one night. Last night we visited eight.