Akelare – Feeding all the Senses

By : | 0 Comments | On : January 31, 2013 | Category : Dine About, Travel

 

Once we had agreed to let the boys join us for our food extravaganza, we had to explain some simple rules.

Rule #1 – You had to use your best eating behavior.

Not a problem, both boys are well trained in the fine art of dining.

Rule #2 – You have to dress nicely.

OK…both boys put on dress shirts, one was slightly more wrinkled than the other, but I won’t rat my son out as to whose was better packed (Evan apparently knows how to fold his clothes, I guess I have failed as a mother to teach Trevor the fine art of packing; that plus too many Boy Scout trips. T-Shirts and jeans don’t care if they are folded or not). But overall, they looked good and well groomed.

Rule #3 – We will not be eating the entire Prix Fix Menu @ 135 Euro per person, each person can pick two dishes to have. And everybody has to share tastes.

A slight push-back, but finally, agreement.

As Emy made our reservation for 1:00, Brian is going to make sure that we are there at 1:00. So hurry hurry hurry, stress stress stress. We get into the car and take the drive up the hill, past Emy’s house (which I’m showing to  Trevor and Evan hoping we will be  forgiven for abandoning them the day before); and on up we go. It’s a beautiful day, with a beautiful view of the ocean. We find Akelare and after 2 trips around the pretty much empty parking lot (just park it already, dear); we have arrived, 5 minutes before 1:00. Now as you recall, we are in Spain. No one eats lunch before 1:00 and no one eats dinner before 9:00. No one. So naturally there is no one there, but us.

We are greeted warmly and led to our table. It’s a table that is set slightly off from the main dining area, but we can see out the windows and well, it’s been set up for us. And it was last minute. But being me, as me, I ask about all those empty tables actually by the window, maybe we could move? Not a chance, as it is very politely explained to us that those tables are booked MONTHS in advance. I understand, but it never hurts to ask. And we do have a table, and we do have a view, it’s all good.

We are brought the menus and they are explained. There is, of course, the Prix Fix Menu. There is also a Carte menu and a dessert menu. We can order anything from the Carte menu, single items from the Prix Fix, if we choose not to order the whole menu, and then, the desserts also a la cart, or the desserts on the Prix Fix. So many choices

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And of course, dessert, we had to do dessert

 

dessert menu at Akelare

How are we going to decide? It all looks so good and interesting. I almost change my mind…”let’s get the whole Prix Fix and just let them serve us stuff” I say. But good sense, good finances and our individual tastes prevail. A game plan is forged. Let the games begin.

First they bring us an “Amuse”.

Akelare Amuse

The amuse is something the Chef brings to the table to “amuse” our palette. Looking at it, it looked like a rock, a leaf, a flower and then a sardine in a tin can with oil. In reality it was a fresh oyster (inside the rock), an edible sweet leaf and peppery flower with a fresh sardine poached in warm, fruity olive oil. And it was delicious. We were told to take the whole oyster in our mouth at once, and what a surprise, it was freezing. Not frozen, but freezing. Followed by the sweet leaf, the peppery flower and then the sardine…WOW.

Then we were brought a second amuse.

Amuse at Akelare San Sebastian

A box of amusement

This had what looked like little hamburgers, pork rinds, pigs in pastry…it was amazing, and went quickly.

amuse at Akelare in San Sebastian

Prosciutto in a pastry shaped like a little pig

Everything, including the paper wrappings was edible.

On to the first course:

I had Gambas con Vainas al Fuego de Orujo (translation – Prawns and French Beans cooked in “Orujo” Fire.

Prawns-and-French-Beans-cooked-on-Orujo-Fire-at-Akelare

 

gambas cooked table side at Akelare

Yes, this is cooked table side. The guy is actually holding the top to the pot over the flame which was made on volcanic rock; when the prawns are done, he drops the lid to stop the cooking and serves. Impressive presentation.

Sopa de pescado al estilo Donostiarra

Both Evan and Brian chose the Sopa de pescado al estilo Donostiarra (Fish and Shellfish Soup “A las Donostiarra”); and while not pretty to look at, it had fantastic rich flavors.

Trevor ordered the Arroz con Caracoles y Karrakelas (Rice with Snails and Periwinkles in Tomato and Basil Film). No picture, but didn’t I raise a foodie?

So onto the entrees:

Distilled Lobster at Akelare

Trevor started us off with “Distilled Lobster”. This was so interesting that “Virtual Life” magazine actually filmed us and the production. They use an old press, put lobster stock in the bottom, the lobster and veggies in the top, light it on fire, when the hot broth gets to the top it cooks the lobster and veggies, then they put the flame out and all the broth goes back to the bottom of the press. The lobster is perfectly cooked.

 

 

Lobster Salad with Cider Vinegar at Akelare

Evan went in with all fish, choosing for his second course a Lobster Salad with Cider Vinegar (Ensalada Bogavante al vinagre de sidra). More lobster than you can shake a claw at!

Buey en Patata de Cobre at Akelare

 

Brian countered his fish soup with Buey en Patata de Cobre (Beef in Coppered Potato and Lentils Puree). I don’t know how they did it, make those potatoes. They were so thinly cut, then covered with this copper. A beautiful presentation.

Pichon asado con un toque de Mole

I had the Pichon asado con un toque de Mole (Roasted Pigeon with a Touch of Mole and Cocoa); and while the presentation was beautiful…well, I found out I’m not a big fan of pigeon. Not on my plate, not in the park. I don’t know what I was thinking, I should have had the Roasted Baby Pig, with Tomato “Bolao” and Iberian Emulsion. Next time.

Evan leads with a “Xaxu”  and Coconut Iced Mousse…delishSo by now, I have to go to the “toilet”. I ask where it is, downstairs, and head off. I see the sign. It’s on a door right in front of me. I try the door. Locked. Really? A restaurant of this caliber and only one restroom? I think of using the men’s room, but decide against it. I wait. I hear nothing going on. I knock. No response. Well, maybe they don’t respond to a knock in Spain. I’ll go back up and try again later. We are working on dessert.

Second up is Trevor’s Citrus Conch and Chocolate Shaving (Caracola de Citricos y Chocolate), brilliant presentation…

Citrus Conch and Chocolate Shaving at Akelare

The “conch” was filled with lemon filling. It looked of sand and sea.

Brian and I shared Another Apple Tart, every bit of it was edible, and not another apple tart, an extraordinary apple tart.

Another Apple Tart at Akelare

Not your usual apple tart, the writing is on edible apple skin – like fruit roll-ups

OK…now we are finished. I’m off to the bathroom for another try. Damn, it’s occupied again. I try the door a couple of times, knock, still no answer. WTF, I think, it must be locked and I need a key. So I go up and ask  ”do I need a key? It seems the bathroom is locked”  ”Why no” comes the response. “Here let me show you”. Now what kind of stupid person does she think I am. I don’t know how to open a door? She takes me down, the sign, the one that says “women”? well the actual bathroom is the door to the right of that sign, the sign is actually on the “utility closet”. And that, ladies, is the door you want to use to get into the large, well stocked and with plenty of toilets, ladies room. Now, that is a very dumb way to mark your restrooms, IMHO. But I was relieved. Very much so.

As I return to the table, I see we are being served some “extras’…first up…another dessert that is called Gin-Tonic on a plate.

gin and tonic on a plate

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was, it was just like having a Gin and Tonic, but on a plate.

candies at Akelare

Next came the “candies” with another edible top.

And finally, we meet  the chef.

Akelare Chef

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LindySez with Chef Pedro Subijana

All in all, it was a gastronomic delight. I thought I would never be hungry again. But I was wrong. The day was young and night had not yet fallen although the lunch took us 3 hours. Our bill? 563.35 euro or about $627.00 US. But hey, it’s vacation and this is an experience we all will remember always. Right boys?

akelare

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full and happy…

LindySez: You can own “stuff” that will break, but a memory is forever.

Coming up, the beginning and end of the day.

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