The Menú del Día March Continues @ Laia Erretegia

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Laia Erretegia – Asador y Sidería

We decided to up our menú del día game a wee bit as we had read about a very highly regarded place called Laia Erretegia, which is both an asador (cooked on the grill kind of place) and a sidería (cider house).

It was a simple & pleasant 20 minute hike up into the hills surrounding Hondarribia and we were at Laia’s front door and very happy to see a functioning kitchen herb garden.

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Fresh Herbs – Yes!

We had opted to sit on the terrace and though not as nice a day weather-wise as we have been having we still had terrific views of the start of the Pyrenees range. And we were most amused by a robot lawnmower that had to be rescued from repeatedly pounding his or her ‘head’ against a fence post. Who then proceeded to mow in the most random of patterns. Not so sure about the new age of robots & AI if this is a basic example…

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View From Our Table…

 

The menú del día was a very reasonable (at least we thought so) @ €22 per person for a 3 course meal including vino, water and coffee. We initially thought the menu selections to be quite extensive until we tried to figure out what some of the additional items were and realised they were just the same menu items written in Basque…Duh!

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Menú del Día @ Laia

Two completely different starters were chosen, for Hound #2 the usual suspect of a healthy choice was an ensalada de cogollos (hearts of lettuce). I opted for a dish, arroz con chipirones (rice with baby squid), that Hound #2 had sampled the week before at another menú del día. Tough life I know but someone has to eat like this!

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The Starters

We both thought our respective dishes excellente but there was little doubt who’s was the winner – mine. Look at that tender piece of baby squid perfectly grilled sitting atop a savoury hill of risotto rice bathed in a most tasty broth. Would eat again most def.

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Arroz con Chipirones

And we both agreed that the vino tinto on offer at Laia was the best house red we had had in our time in España so far. Muy rico, a velvet Elvis and made to be a crowd pleaser.

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A Velvet Elvis (thanks to Scott Monahan for that phrase)

A carnivorous choice was made by both parties for the main event. And since España is the king of cerdo (pork) and I think it is the national dish, I went for the solomillo de cerdo a la brasa (grilled pork tenderloin) – perfecto!

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Solomillo de Cerdo

Hound #2 was tempted by the jarrete de cordero y puré de patata (lamb shank & super puréed potatoes)…estupendo! Though she felt it was lacking in vegetables…

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Jarrete de Cordero

Desserts were delicious, so much so we forgot to take a picture at the start! But it was decided that mine (pictured below), the París-brest con chocolate blanco, took the honours as most tasty.

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París-brest con Chocolate Blanco – Yum!

Hound #2 chose the crema de jengibre y espuma de chocolate (ginger cream & chocolate foam)…the jar was totally emptied.

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Crema de Jengibre y Espuma de Chocolate – All Gone!

 

Another Menú del Día @ Batzokia, Hondarribia…

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During my numerous Billie walks we would pass this taverna and it was always packed, so following one of Hound #2’s Dad Theories (if its packed, it must be good) we dropped in on a Thursday lunch hour for the €11 menu del dia…and Dad’s Theory was spot on.

The name of the place is Batzokia Jatetxea where the second word in the name means it is traditional Basque food. As mentioned above, the menu during week days is €11 but somehow mysteriously jumps to €20 on Saturday & Sunday with the only item changed on the menu being the price ;-).

BATZMenuWe both ended up choosing muy rico sopas – for me an artichoke based, almost stew like bowl of delicious flavours and Hound #2, once again a bit health conscious, devoured the Arroz Marinero which was about as close to a chowder as you could get in this part of the world.

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Artichoke Sopa and Arroz Marinero

And once again a Y in the road appeared on our mains, with Hound #2 having no hesitation (I did) for Fried Anchovies – she liked them despite the bones. I veered off onto the Bistec Con Patatas path and had no regrets…nor did Billie.

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Fried Anchovies…

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Bistec con Patatas y Pimiento

All effectively washed down the the super chilled house rosado…it being a weekday we did not finish the bottle.

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Cake & Custard…

Then it was on to the postre (dessert) and the only word both of us heard and understood was ‘pastel’ (cake) so that is what we had…sweet, moist almost spongy cake with a custardy cream sauce – perfecto….

And our timing could not have been better because shortly after we sat down & our first orders arrived, the tour bus crowd was deposited at the taverna’s terrace and queued up for a feed…kitchen implosion about to happen.

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The Coach Crowd Arrives…

 

Portside Place with Basque Name Too Long to Pronounce…

HRRestaurantSignMenu del Dias are deals to make you squeal and they are so hard to pass up. We had walked to the port were Hound #2 likes to take an extended dip as the water is dead calm behind the sea walls – just need to keep an eye out for the returning fishing trawlers. We had heard from several sources about a wonderful place about which all they could tell us was ‘it is at the port’. We think it is in someway associated with the big commercial fishing company that is located just below so we know where the seafood comes from…So after some higgledy piggledy twists & turns – viola! But if you can pronounce the name you are a better whatever than I…

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View of the Port & Restaurant…

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Fishies in the Port – We Think They Are Mullet….

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Gambas Mas Grande

This was a 22€ per person charge for a 3 course meal including a bottle of wine & coffee – the bog standard setup. I started with Gambas Mas Grande a la Plancha (grilled) – a wee bit messy to eat but oh so good.

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Calamares en la Tinta con Arroz

Hound #2, being of a more health conscious mind, went with the Calamares en la Tinta Con Arroz (Squid in their ink with rice)…something that seems to get ordered over & over again.

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Chuleto de Cerdo con Patatas y Pimientos

I decided to partake of the favourite meat in these parts – pork. The Chuleto de Cerdo (pork chops) were super thinly sliced & perfectly grilled – much finger work was required to polish off the lot. Billie helped too…

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Vino Rosado de Navarra – Perfecto!

And the vino del dia was the exact juice to suit the meal & the day – weather a bit steamy hot and the rosado chilled perfectamente!! All gone…

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Pastel de Queso

And dessert held a bit of trepidation as Hound #2 loves her cheesecake but can be a bit fussy as to how it is made…but no problema here – scoffed up in the blink of an eye. We will return – an excellent place to take any out of town visitors (hint, hint) to show them some fine food & the best few of the port…

Cantina de Guadalupe – Hondarribia

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Cantina de Guadalupe, Hondarribia, Espana

One of the things that strikes you quite clearly here in Spain is how cheap it is to eat out. Whether you are partaking of an evening pintos stroll or diving into the Menú del Día as we did here at the Cantina de GuadalupeMenú del Día can be awesome value deals as the price usually is for a 3 course meal (entree, main & dessert) and includes water, wine (a bottle!) or beer or cider and coffee. Our lunch at the Cantina set us back €12 each, (€11 if you did not want to be seated on the outside terrace) which translates into $17NZ/AU, £8.6BP and $13US. I think you just might be getting a glass of wine in Melbourne at that price! And for the most part, at least in our limited experience, the food is damn good…

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Chorizo & Patata Sopa…

For my starter I opted for a more substantial dish — chorizo and patatas sopa (I am guessing that is what it was or could have been a stew) which was presented in its own serving bowl allowing me to refill my bowl until it was all gone…which it was.

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Ensalada Mixta…

Hound #2 went her usual healthy, wealthy & wise route and was presented with a ensalada mixta fresca that included some sweet tuna & a hard boiled egg…

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Pollo Asado – Estupendo!

I could not not try the Pollo Asado (Roast Chicken) and was rewarded with half a bird…Billie helped out. It was perfectly done & tasty and the patatas perfecto.

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Bistec con Patatas

And Hound #2 decided to get some serious sustenance under her belt and ordered the Bistec con Patatas – seriously large cut of meat for the price & well cooked and half ended up as Billie’s dinner…lucky dog.

The vino was the house tinto which was nicely chilled – wine, like the food here in Spain, is absurdly cheap. Not only when you are buying at the stores but also when eating out. I am not totally sure why that is – low taxes? cost of production? loss leaders? And it is not swill by any means – you often see or get very recognisable wines from some serious producers. Granted. these are not their aged, reservas but their crianzas or jóvenes (young wines) but they seem to bring a reasonable amount of effort & vinification knowledge to bear & make a decent quaffer. Most pintxos bars offer glasses of blanco, rosado and tinto at €1.30 to €1.80 – deal to make ya squeal!

We finished out lunch with a very nice flan – sorry, no pic – and a very decent cafe con leche.

We will go back…we actually tried last Sunday & they were fully booked out.