I just returned from a culinary and wine assignment in The Basque Country and La Rioja, Spain. First stop, two pintxo (Tapas) bars in Bilbao; El Globo and La Viña de Ensanche. Pintxos are exquisite little flavor bombs. Wash them down with a glass of funky Basque sidra or the beautiful sparkling local Txakoli wine.
At Bar Globo: Blistered Gernika peppers with olive oil and sea salt. Fig wrapped in Jamon Iberico on Bonito. Seared Foie gras. The Gilda with olives, anchovies, and red and green peppers. King crab with bechamel sauce. At La Viña del Ensanche: Fried Bacalao in a light batter with potato wedges and squid ink aioli and Jamon Iberico on toast and Tomato cream.