Search This Blog

Friday, November 30, 2012

Restaurant Otano, Pamplona

We had lunch at Restaurant Otano after our walking tour of Pamplona. It's located at San Nikolas Kalea, 5. We were leaving Pamplona and were looking for an early lunch. Restaurant Otano was the first to open at 12:30 pm.

If you don't speak Spanish, there is an English translation.

We saw this sign at several restaurants in town and weren't quite sure what it meant. We finally decided this was "casserole" week and restaurants served their special for €2.

Boneless pork leg stewed in mushrooms served with potato gratin & tomato with Bechamel sauce and cheese. This was delicious and the portion was big enough to serve as a light lunch.

We had ordered the 3-course menu for €14.50, which included bread and a wine or drink before we figured out the casserole special.

First course--Salad of apples, avocado, walnuts and pine nuts. This was refreshing and flavorful.

Pasta with mushrooms--creamy and delicious.

Fish & shellfish before the soup was added.

Fish soup--thick and tasted more like a bisque. Yummy!

 Second courses included duck confit with mushrooms and blueberries. This was such a fancy dish and alone would have easily cost more than €14.50 back at home.

Stewed oxtails--so tender!

Merluza with ratatouille--fish was perfectly cooked.

This was listed as seabass with garlic aioli--it was more like trout but still good.

Dessert was included. This was some kind of lemon drink. We couldn't figure it out. This was probably our least favorite.

 Apple tart with fig marmalade.

Homemade flan.

We were amazed at what a great value this meal was.

2012 10 09

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Churros & Hot Chocolate

Along the Encierro, we happened upon this churrero, open daily from 9-12 and 5-8:30. It's located at Calle de la Estafeta, 5.

Order a dozen churros for €5--hot and crispy

The hot chocolate is thick and rich. It was a nice morning break.

2012 10 09

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Running of the Bulls, Pamplona

Pamplona is famous for the Running of the Bulls (Fiesta de San Fermin).

The festival begins annually on July 6 at noon when the mayor opens the festival from the balcony of the town hall.

The first running occurs at 8 am on July 7 and continues daily until July 14. My husband ran with the bulls in 1997 and I watched the festivities hanging off a balcony. If you want to run, wear a white shirt and pants and have a red sash and handkerchief. Run in the middle of the street until the 6 bulls and 6 steers get close, then go to the sides to allow them to pass. Try not to be at Mercaderes as it turns onto Estafeta, where the bulls have to negotiate a 90 degree turn. Invariably, they fall and when they get up, they're disoriented and sometimes head back through the throngs of runners. This is often where tramplings and gorings occur. The course is only 1/2 mile long and the running takes on average 3-4 minutes.

Follow the red Encierro signs to follow the route of the run.

The run begins at the holding pen, which serves as a parking lot the rest of the year. Runners line up along the route. "Moments before the start, the runners sing to San Fermin three times to ask for his blessing and protection." At 8 am, a firecracker is fired and the bulls are let free from the pen. A second firecracker is fired when the last bull has left the pen. The 3rd firecracker is fired when the bulls enter the bullring and the 4th firecracker is fired when the bulls are corralled.

Statue of San Fermin embedded in the wall on the uphill road not too far from the bull pen.

The Running of the Bulls was made famous by "The Sun Also Rises" by Hemingway. There is a statue near the bullring honoring him.

Statue of the Encierro.

Look familiar? Hemingway taking part in the Running.

2012 10 09

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Public Market, Pamplona

Mercado de Santo Domingo--the public market in Pamplona. 

In addition to fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood, there are olive merchants. We picked up a container of mixed olives and enjoyed them later in the trip. The fluorescent green ones were actually very tasty.

We also picked up some Idiazabal cheese--sheep cheese. More about this later.

2012 10 09

Monday, November 26, 2012

Bar Gaucho, Pamplona

Back to our Basque adventure. In Pamplona, we had pintxos at Bar Gaucho, located at Calle de Espoz y Mina 7This was perhaps our best pintxos experience.

Crema de Roquefort Con Jamon En Pan de Cereales-- Roquefort cheese spread with ground Jamon that tasted like bacon.

Grilled Mushrooms with Sea Salt--this was so simple but so delicious.

Foie Gras--huge slab of foie for €3. This was the best deal! The foie was perfectly cooked and melted in your mouth.

 Not really sure what this was. I think it was cubed beef tongue in phyllo. Whatever it was, it was very tasty.

Baby Eel & Gravlax over Coleslaw. Baby eels really don't taste like anything. It had a chewy texture and I liked it.

2012 10 08

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Triple Ginger Soup

Last night we had our Supper Club. Terrie made a delicious butternut squash soup--I'll need to get her recipe. This is my butternut squash soup with ginger--it's a favorite fall soup.

Cube the butternut squash and add chicken broth.

Puree the soup with a hand blender.

Triple-Ginger Butternut Squash Soup

1 large butternut squash
1 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 Tbs chopped crystallized ginger
1 tsp ground ginger
1 Tbs grated fresh ginger
2 (14 ½ ounce) cans chicken broth

Peel the butternut squash, discard seeds and cube.

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook for 5 minutes until golden. Place the squash and gingers in the Dutch oven. Stir in the chicken broth and boil until squash is tender. Puree with a hand blender until smooth.

2012 10 21

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Ledford House

Ledford House is a French bistro on the Mendocino coast, near Albion.

Oysters Rockefeller with Bacon--$26 for a dozen. This was delicious. They also have a nice oyster on the half shell with tomato horseradish sorbet.

Roast Beet, Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese, Hazelnuts & Arugula Salad--$10. Small salad but nice flavors.

Pasta of the Night--$14 for half portion. This was Cavatelli Puttanesca. I've never been too impressed with their pastas and this one was okay. The pasta was a little gummy and the sauce was just okay.

Potato Gnocchi with Truffled Cream, Wild Mushroom, Parmesan--$18. Nice sauce but then again anything with truffle is nice.

Lamb Shank, Slow Cooked in Red Wine, Root Vegetables, Herbs and Garlic Aioli over a bed of mashed potatoes--$27. Tender, pulled off the bones and nice flavor.

Roast Duck Breast, the Leg "en Confit" Huckleberry Zinfandel Sauce--$29. Nicely prepared duck with crispy skin.

2012 11 17

Friday, November 23, 2012


It's rare for me to eat ethnic in Sonoma County but we had a craving for sushi. We went to Hikune for their all-you-can-eat sushi for $15.95/person and were pleasantly surprised. 

The meal included a salad with a nice ginger dressing.

Miso soup--this was too sweet.

We started with Lion King Roll (crab, cucumber, avocado, topped with tuna, tai and tobiko), Rainbow Roll (California Roll topped with 3 different fish), Double Spicy Roll (spicy salmon, cucumber, topped with spicy tuna and crabmeat), hamachi (yellowtail), tobiko (flying fish roe) and unagi (eel). My favorite was the double Spicy Roll. The crab was great.

Next up was Saba (mackerel), Hotate (scallops) and Snow Crab Roll (crabmeat, avocado with soy bean paper).

More Tobiko, Ika San Sai (smoked squid), Yuba Roll (Spicy Tuna topped with salmon, tai and avocado). Loved the smoked squid.

We ended with Maguro (tuna), Uni ($1 more) and Unagi.

Not the best sushi I've ever had but it was pretty good, especially for the price. I'll be back.

2012 11 14