December 25, 2010 San Sebastian, Spain

Merry Christmas to everyone! This is the first Christmas I have ever been away from home or a relative’s house. It had some high points and a low point. I am sad that our Skyping attempt with Jonathan and his family is poor due to technical difficulties. We miss Jon, Ryan and the kids a lot. Jon looks sad that we can’t talk well. So the phone conversation is kind of a bummer. But we do have a good time and a great dinner here in St. Sebastian.

It is sunny today! Yay! We drive up to the top of Mt. Igueldo and have a look at the city from a different perspective. A nice couple takes our picture.

Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas!

San Sebastian is a lovely city. It has a lot of well-kept 19th century buildings, an old town, and a wide sandy beach. The ring of mountains around it adds drama to the setting.

San Sebastian from Mt. Igueldo
San Sebastian from Mt. Igueldo

We return from our outing to our hotel, Villa Soro, which is old worldly beautiful. We dress up for our Christmas luncheon.

Villa Soro
Villa Soro

San Sebastian is also the gastronomique capital of the world boasting more Michelin three star (and other star) restaurants than anywhere else. Of course they are all closed the whole time we are here. We’ll have to come back. And that brings us to our fabulous Christmas luncheon. A couple of restaurants are open for Christmas dinner and we are able to get reservations at Viento Sur. It is a small place and is packed with large families. At last we have a wonderful meal in San Sebastian that is really fitting for celebrating Christmas.

The starters are incredible. Really I wish I had ordered a couple of these instead of a main course (even though the main course is great.)

Clams with pale dry sherry sauce
John starts with clams in a pale dry sherry sauce. He says the dish is brilliant. The sauce is light and flavorful and the clams are cooked perfectly.

Tomato and olive oil cream with scarlet shrimp, cheese powder and passion sorbet
Sarah has tomato and olive oil cream with scarlet shrimp, cheese powder and passion fruit sorbet. She cannot stop oohing over this. It comes without the cream so you can see the components and then they pour the cream over it. The cream tastes like the very essence of tomatoes.

Scallop with peach, cauliflower puree and Iberian pork fat
I have the scallops with peach, cauliflower puree and Iberian pork fat. It is fabulous. The scallops are cooked perfectly.

For his main course John has
Confit codfish with red pepper cream, tomato and albahaca foam
confit of codfish with red pepper cream and tomato and albahaca foam. The fish is gelatinous and delicious.

Iberian sirloin with fried potatoes and mustard sauce
Sarah has Iberian sirloin with fried potatoes and mustard sauce. This is actually a mistake but we do a lot of pointing while ordering and the waitperson misinterprets where Sarah’s finger is. But the sirloin is really good and the mustard sauce is outstanding.

Roast shoulder of lamb with veal trotters and potatoes with lemon
I have roast should of lamb with veal trotters and potatoes with lemon. I think this is the best dish of all. The lamb and veal are served in a block with a wonderful sauce and the potatoes are delicious with the tartness of the lemon. I would never think to put lemon in potatoes. But now I will.

Okay we are full but we must try a dessert or two. So we order
Left-chocolate cream with orange, muscatel, and olive oil sherbert, right-white chocolate and coriander coulant with malt ice cream and biscuit foam
on the left, chocolate cream with coriander coulant with malt ice cream and biscuit foam and on the right,white chocolate and corander coulant with malt ice cream and biscuit foam. We are stunned.

Replete from our fabulous dinner (which took about three hours), we return to the hotel with happy Christmas in San Sebastian thoughts.

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