Sunday, June 5, 2011

the Sunday Special - Basque

Last weekend, I tried a new kind of dining.

The Basque Restaurant Experience

First: Stop at the bar and order a 'Picon'. I'm told it's the traditional Basque drink. "It's like ordering a Margarita at a mexican restaurant." according to the bar tender and my friends.

Second: Be seated at a table that already has an open bottle of red table wine and water. A large tureen of Soup arrives immediately along with bread and butter. Start chowing down.

Third: You will find no menus on the tables. A waiter stops by to get your entree order. The entrees offered to us were Top Sirloin Steak, Lamb Shoulder Steak, Lamb Chops, Basque Chicken, Sweetbreads, and Pigs Feet with Tripe. I was already starting to feel satisfied from the soup and bread so taking a risk and ordering something I might not like was easy. =) Go outside your comfort zone and try something new. That's what life is all about anyways right?

Fourth: Next comes the salad. Very simple. Just lettuce and dressing. Did I mention this is all served Family Style? The sides that are served are the same for everyone.

Fifth: Here comes the beans and stew. Oh, Yum! That stew was the best part of the meal. More please. Oh, did I also mention... all the sides are 'all you can eat'!

Sixth: The last side is a huge plate of skinny seasoned french fries. Pass 'er around.

Seventh: The main course arrives. Oh yeah, I got the Sweetbreads. =D There are a number of different 'parts' given the same name sweetbreads and come from either a calf or lamb. According to our waiter, mine were made from the thymus gland of a calf. I was so full from all the other courses that I hardly had room for the entree.

Eighth: Dessert Time! Umm, you probably won't have any room in your bellies at this point, but suck it up, unbutton it, or whatever else you've got to do, and have some. We had a choice on this round. Coffee and either Vanilla or Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. Uh, duh! Mint chocolate chip please.

Ninth: Get your leftover entrees to go. (not 'allowed' to take home the sides)

Tenth: Stop by the bar on the way out, order another Picon (if you can manage it) and stick a dollar to the ceiling. We each stuck a dollar (well, you actually toss it up and hope the tack sticks) after writing a message on it. The helpful bartender folded the bills in just the right way so that our messages would be legible to others...forever.

my friends favorite word

receiving instruction

I told you, it was an EXPERIENCE.

The experience continued for a few days after with Sweetbread breakfast burritos and Sweetbread lasagna. haha.


  1. Your adventure looks and sounds like a wonderful experience. I would like to clarify one thing, though. I'm a very proud American and proud to say that my favorite drink, the Margarita, is an American drink served in Mexican restaurants because it has tequila in it and it goes so well with their food. While I was in Mexico City a number of years ago, I was informed of this. Their drink is the shot of tequila with lime and salt and the real rot gut cactus juice before they purify it into tequila.
    The dollars on the ceiling are a trip! Thanks for sharing =)

  2. I'm so glad you like to experiment! I, however, never want to eat sweetbreads (don't care what part of the animal they are referring to)...though some have tried to disguise them or twist my arm to try some. I did try a beef brain sandwich which was your grandmother's favorite item to order at a restaurant in Wathena, Kansas. If it weren't for the breading and seasonings...there wouldn't have been a taste.