"I'm a professional baker, reader, bookseller, publisher, columnist, photographer, cook, hiker, kayaker, freelance writer, and workaholic who likes to garden."
A Food Lover's Companion to New York City
This new book weaves the full tapestry of the city's rich gastronomy in nearly 570 accessible, informative A-to-Z entries. Written by nearly 180 of the most notable food experts, Savoring Gotham addresses the food, people, places, and institutions that have made New York cuisine so wildly diverse and immensely appealing. (Richard Frisbie is one of the 180 "most notable food experts" to contribute to this publication) Publication date Nov 2015 760 Pages | Approx. 100 illustrations 7 x 10 inches $35.00
Examiner.com: I became the Hudson Valley & Catskill Mountains Examiner in 2012 and have a general travel column there as well. So now I can post non-NY travel articles to their hugely popular web site. Currently I am: From Examiner: We are the 78th most visited website in the US - Quantcast.com. Additionally, we set a single day record of nearly 5.5 million page views! Currently On Examiner.com I'm #27 of 357 Travel Examiners; #3 of 62 City Guides Examiners; and #26 of 262 New York Examiners
I cross-post every Examiner article to Facebook and Twitter and sometimes google+. In addition I put some pictures from each article on Instagram and Pinterest. To see how cross posts increase traffic to all his articles: Charlevoix Culinary Tour
A few of Richard's Food Correspondant articles from Gather.com are archived here:
His old bookshop is now his office where he spends most afternoons, but most mornings he works at Hudson Valley Dessert Company (Paula Deen did a show from there) baking bread and savories, and making the sandwiches, soups and salads.
Richard is on the Board of Saugerties Pro Musica, a 20 year old not-for-profit organization that presents 8-10 concerts annually. He was also the past chair of the Saugerties Village Historic Review Board overseeing the oldest National Register Historic Business District in New York State.
His New York-centric articles have appeared in New York regional print outlets: InsideOut Magazine, Catskill Regional Guide, Life in the Finger Lakes Magazine, and Ulster Publishing Newspapers.
Richard is a Travel Correspondent (The Inquisitive Traveler) for TravelingBoy.com, and a correspondent for EDGE Publications ( )
A recent trip to Spain resulted in 10 articles:
Teresa Among the Cooking Pots (will go live in September)
The Culinarian contains links to my travel writing and photos, but many of the links no longer work, or the site removed the photos. While I try to repair them, some PDFs of my articles are below:
A note about cruise destination packages - I write all the descriptions for port excursions packaged for every major cruise line including Cunard, Crystal, Azamara, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, Regent, Holland America and many more. If my trip includes a cruise destination you'll have the added bonus of my expert coverage in the hands of tourists considering your destination.
In 2011 he attended the Salon del Gourmet in Madrid, Spain, researched food & wine in Dijon & Reims, France, enjoyed the wines and food of the Beira Interior of Portugal, and experienced the Ruta de Quixote in Spain as a guest of the Paradores Hotel chain.
In 2012, aside from one trip to Charlevoir that was so fantastic he couldn't turn it down, he stayed home to write all the articles these trips generated and his two Examiner.com columns.
In 2013 he dedicated even more time to his baking and cooking professions, but did find time to visit Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in the spring.
In 2014 he stayed home to recover from rotator cuff surgery and concentrate on his baking, his bookshop and his Examiner columns.
In 2015, a fully recovered Frisbie is eager to continue his culinary travels . . .
Each trip resulted in at least 5-7 articles with potential readership of 5 million people.
TravelingBoy.com articles: The Inquisitive Traveler
Connect with me on facebook - http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=669701494&ref=name
Articles: (X=favorites) links offsite TOP
2/19/10 Bocuse d'Or at the CIA
9/04/09 RICHARD FRISBIE :: Destination Dining - Windfall Restaurant
X 8/26/09 RICHARD FRISBIE :: Dinner With Chef Kevin McCarthy
8/12/09 RICHARD FRISBIE :: Adirondack Picnics
X 8/08/09 Impressions of Venice, Italy
7/17/09 RICHARD FRISBIE :: Dinner at Villa Godi Malinverni
7/10/09 A personal look at my roots
6/25/09 Los Cabos :: Where is Everybody?
X 6/17/09 Frankentrees to the rescue
6/14/09 RICHARD FRISBIE :: Cooking with Chef Fabrice Guisset of Ventanas
6/05/09 I’m No Longer A Yoga Virgin
5/21/09 BUZIOS The Crown Jewel of the Emerald Coast of Rio de Janeiro
X 5/05/09 The World of Blantyre
5/03/09 Dining in Buzios - Chef Sonia’s “Cigalon”
4/26/09 Dining in Petropolis - Ostrich at Barão Gastronomia
4/09/09 Paraty - An Island for Every Day of the Year!
4/05/09 Rio de Janeiro & the World’s Sexiest Beach
1/09/09 Fava Beans in Sardinia
12/20/08 SNOW SOUP (a riff on Garbure, a Basque Cabbage soup
X 12/17/08 Clean Food (book review)
12/03/06 Sardinia - An Ancient and Modern Isle
X 11/06/08 RICHARD FRISBIE :: WHITE TRUFFLE DINNER
10/17/08 - You Say Sardinia, I say Sardegna
X France 1918-2008: Remembering the American Offensive in World War I
From Farm to Table :: The new way to eat
9/18/08 -RICHARD FRISBIE :: Of Farmers & Pumpkins
RICHARD FRISBIE :: Dining Alfresco in Clearwater
Zaragoza :: The Crossroads of Spain
8/7/08 RICHARD FRISBIE :: Tasting Taittinger Champagne
8/20/08 Gather - RICHARD FRISBIE :: Farm Feast
X 8/04/08 Gather - A Rotten Person Travels the Caribbean - book review
3/08/08 EDGE - More Bang for your Buck :: Top US Gay Destinations
The Billion Dollar Facelift :: Clearwater’s Beachwalk
RICHARD FRISBIE Marcelo Tejedor's Michelin starred Casa Marcelo
RICHARD FRISBIE - Eating & Drinking Like the Cariocas of Rio
FOOD BITES :: Le Pre Catalan
FOOD BITES - In the Kitchen :: PF Chang Chinese Bistro
RICHARD FRISBIE - Food and Wine Pairing Perfection
X RICHARD FRISBIE :: The Ice Wine Cometh
Tasting French Champagne: A Transcendent Experience
Richard Frisbie :: Epernay, the Capital of Champagne
9/20/08 RICHARD FRISBIE :: New York Riesling Rules!
Online, he is a paid Food Correspondent for: Gather.com http://rfrisbie.gather.com/, (one million unique hits a month) where he is contracted to write two food columns a month plus book reviews and news features,
X RICHARD FRISBIE :: The Ice Wine Cometh 2/08
The Thatched houses of Portugal and Spain 1/08
Madeira :: The Island Of Sad Cows 10/07
RICHARD FRISBIE -- FORAGING FOR EDIBLE WATER PLANTS 8/07
On the Road to St James - A Pilgrimage 7/07
and (the LGBT) EDGE Publications (500,000 unique hits a month) http//:www.edgeboston.com is his portal. With 13 city portals, two national portals, and print partners in every major city in the US, EDGE Publication represents the largest collection of Lesbian and Gay Newspapers online. Every day, original EDGE content goes out to hundreds of thousands of readers through our websites, eNewsletters, and RSS feeds.
FOOD BITES :: Casa Marcelo, Galicia, Spain 1/08
Eating Rio 9/07
FOOD BITES :: Le Pre Catalan 10/07
FOOD BITES :: In the Kitchen PF Chang Chinese Bistro 6/07
and he is a frequent contributor to the TravelLady.com (600,000 unique hits each month - 5 million total hits in October '07 - the month his Brandywine Valley article was in the top 25!) His articles there: TOP
Brandywine Valley Weekend
With a Gay slant: Brandywine Valley Sojourn on EDGE
- The Orchid "Thief" in Costa Rica By Richard Frisbie
- The Canary Islands - Spain's Hawaii By Richard Frisbie
By Richard Frisbie. Autumn is the rainy season in Bilbao, so I wasn't surprised that the week I was there it rained every day but one. ...
By Richard Frisbie. Spain is the worldwide leader in gastronomy tourism, with the top chefs of Europe creating culinary headlines in their restaurants, ...
By Richard Frisbie. The Canary Islands are closer to the North African coast then to Spain, and are commonly referred to as Spain's Hawaii. ...
By Richard Frisbie. Food. It's not just for sustenance. Food bridges cultures and cements relationships. It creates lasting memories as friends and families ...
Macau: The Birthplace of Asian Fusion Cuisine
Culinary class at the Macau Institute for Tourism Studies being photographed with Mr. Chaing and executive chefs of PF Chang Chinese Bistro - photos by Richard Frisbie
His two web pages, the oldest of which has been running for twelve years, contain many of his articles and columns. They each receive more than 1,000,000 hits a year.
Recommendations from colleagues on LinkedIn:
1 - April 16, 2009 “Richard Frisbie is a writer who is passionate about food, travel and culture. Whenever he creates his food adventures within a travel article, I know I will be dazzled and wish I could have gone too. So in spirit I travel with him to the Berkshires for mussels, "Moqueca Caicar" on Paraty ( a peninsula on the coast of Brasil) and wherever else he chooses to transport me. When I returned from a (real) trip to Spain, his Madrid article perfectly described how delightful the museums were and how utterly sublime the food. I almost cried. Someone else really, really understood! Richard will not only entice you to places you've never been, he'll make you yearn to be his dinner and travel companion. Hmmmm... I wonder if he'd mind if my husband came along? He's just as avid a follower and fan since I made Richard's Braised Hungarian Paprika Roast. Yes, my friends, Richard doesn't just tempt and tease, but shares his secrets and exquisite recipes. What's not to love?” Elizabeth Madrigal , Contributing writer/blogger , Gather.com
#2 - November 29, 2008 “Richard Frisbie is not only a superior food writer, but a truly excellent writer, overall.” Kathryn Esplin-Oleski , Owner , The Word Group
4 - March 30, 2009 “Richard is an excellent writer, who also understands the business needs behind the creativity. He accepts edits and suggestions without taking them personally, yet never hesitates to assert his position if he believes strongly that it's the correct one given the situation. When he does, he's usually right. I hope to continue working with Richard well into the future.” Jason Salzenstein , Style & Travel Editor , EDGE Publications
9/05/09 - Richard, You make it all come alive....and better than it was. I love reading your articles, thank you for including me in your list.
BOOK REVIEW: Rotten Person Travels the Caribean
Thanks very much, Richard. This is one of the most entertaining, well-written reviews I've ever read!
Best, Meg A. Parsont
From California 09/08/08:
Article is FAB! Thanks so much for all you have 'produced' for San Mateo County, now if I could just have every writer be like you!
Stephanie Fermin, Publications Manager
San Mateo County Convention & Visitors Bureau
From France 7/4/08:
Your are fantastic! If all the journalist were like you It will be paradise. It is a great article very interesting
I send o copy of it to the different places you visited in Marne
Armel PERON a.peron@Tourisme-en-Champagne.com
Assistant relations presse
CDT de la Marne
Ligne directe : 03 26 69 51 06
La Marne, 1er département fleuri de France
From France 6/16/08:
Would love to have you come back to France, ... we love you and YOUR stories!
Katherine I. Johnstone firstname.lastname@example.org
Media Relations Manager
Maison de la France
French Government Tourist Office
From Spain 1/28/08:
Thank you a million times for all the beautiful articles that you are publishing.
Pilar Vico email@example.com
Director of Marketing and Public Relations
Tourist Office of Spain
666 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10103
Tel: 212 265 8822
Fax: 212 265 8864
From Florida 6/2/08:
What a great article! Thank you for enjoying our food so much! I loved reading the blog comments.
Ebe Bower firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice President, Tourism
Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce
1130 Cleveland Street
Clearwater, FL 33755
(727) 461-0011, ext. 225
(727) 449-2889 (Fax)
From Florida 5/5/08:
It was a pleasure to meet you and to have you join us here in Clearwater. In addition to being a wonderful guest and all around fun person, you helped keep others’ small incidents under control and I thank you. You are welcome back any time!
Ebe Bower email@example.com
From California 6/09/08:
Fantastic Richard!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for the fab article. :) Jaclyn@smccvb.com
Jaclyn Babcock . Convention & Leisure Services Manager . San Mateo County CVB
From Venezuela 4/25/08:
I would like to thank you for your article. We liked it very much. That is great new today!!!!!
Santi Ruíz firstname.lastname@example.org
Director General / General Manager
Venezuela 649 C1095AAM BUENOS AIRES T. +54 11 4136.9393 F. +54 11 4136.9394 www.axelhotels.com
From Macau 4/11/07
This is great! Thank you so much for update. It's great to see Macau in so many different outlets and we truly appreciate you getting the story out there.
João H. Rodrigues Media & Marketing Manager Macau Government Tourist Office-USA Myriad Marketing | Marketing & Public Relations | 501 Fifth Avenue | Suite 1101 | New York | NY | 10017 |USA | T: 646 366 8162 | C: 646-420-8258 | F: 646 366 8170 | E: email@example.com
He is a contributor to the Ruder Finn regional publication, "Catskill Mountain Guide" - (readership 32,000), "Life in the Finger Lakes" magazine, (for which he writes the Fruit of the Vine column - readership 27,000), and the 2005/6 OZZIE Award winning LGBT magazine "InsideOUT" - (readership 50,000).
Frisbie's column, "Main Street Views", ran for five years in Ulster Publishing's Saugerties / Woodstock / Kingston / New Paltz newspapers - (circulation 16,000). He is on hiatus from his column "Notes on the Village" which ran bi-weekly in the Saugerties Post Star for several years.
Frisbie also does occasional reporting and photography assignments for these newspapers.
In addition, he is the substitute host and occasional co-host of WKNY AM Radio (Cumulus Broadcasting) Saturday morning "Speak-Out" program with Jodie McTague - (40,000 listeners - Arbitron).
And, finally, his audio essays appear on WAMC.org Northeast Public Radio (parts of 7 states - NY, MA, CT, VT, NH, PA, NJ, and SE Canada)
Links to articles:
Many SPAIN articles appeared on
Catskill Mt Guide Sept 2005 "Saffron" http://www.catskillregionguide.com/articles/article.php?id=880&page=1
Catskill Mt Guide August 2006 The Model of Bilbao, Spain What Can the Hudson Valley Learn?
My Content Gather.com Public Radio Literary website - http://rfrisbie.gather.com/
Links do not exist to these clips:
Citizen Magazine July 2005
On a recent tour of Catalonia, where they are celebrating the "Year of Gastronomy and Food", I learned that Spain ranks higher than other European Union countries in life expectancy, and that Europeans, on average, live longer than we do in the United States. After being there a short time I think I know why this is true. The Spanish are a relaxed people, with beautiful scenery, a great climate and an incredible cuisine. But more than that, they, and their fellow member nations, were in existence long before the Americas were discovered. Certainly long enough to know better than we do how important their quality of life is to their health. I saw less sprawl, more attention paid to pedestrian and bicyclist needs, and lots of busses, subways, and trains. They live in a planned civilization!
Our United States has more than twice the land area of the 25 member European Union, but our population is only two-thirds the size of theirs. Four out of five Americans own cars, while less than half the Europeans do. These statistics are not as unconnected as they may seem. The European Union has a better mass transportation system than we do, so they don't need to own, and dodge, the many gas-guzzling cars we need just to get around this great country of ours. They can transport goods and raw materials more efficiently, at least partly because they have a smaller area to cover, so the impact of trucks on their streets and roads is lessened. That means the air they breathe is better, and there is less noise -- good news for the more densely populated European Union.
In Kingston, we have four pre-Revolutionary War stone houses on the corner of an intersection in the stockade district, and it is the oldest such intersection in the country. In Barcelona, I marveled at a 14th century entrance to an old section of the city until our guide pointed out that it was built on Roman foundations which dated back to 1 AD. That historical perspective, and the wisdom gleaned from many extra centuries of urban living, led the Spanish people to consider quality-of-life issues as a priority when they planned for growth. That's how they knew to make the cities, and the country itself, more comfortable, and more hospitable for their citizens. And that's why it was so wonderful to spend days walking through the ancient streets enjoying the food and the scenery. . <snip>
Article for InsideOut Magazine March 2006
Bilbao, Spain, is not a gay travel destination the way Madrid and Barcelona are. But if you crave great food, architecture, and art when you travel, (and who doesn't?) Bilbao has all that and at least one "gay friendly" hotel. Plus, there are enough nightspots to pique your interests, whatever they may be.
The Barceló Nervion hotel is right in the center of Bilbao. It is a small 3 star hotel, halfway between the best Bilbao has to offer - the Guggenheim Museum with world class tourism and food on one side, and the bars and clubs in and around the old city on the other, with plenty of good food there too. It's about a ten minute walk each way. I walked everywhere, even in the rain, just to burn off the calories, but there's plenty of public transportation if you like the way those calories look in the mirror. You'll find a few gay bars along the Calle Barrencalle, but if you can control your libido for a few nights, there is so much more to do in Bilbao than cruise.
I came for the food, and toured the old city weekdays at noon for the Basque version of tapas called pintxos (peenchos). This centuries old section is a pedestrian Mecca, with narrow streets and no cars allowed. On its edge, right on the river, is the public market, with three levels of the freshest fish, vegetables, meat and fruit you could ask for. It made me wish I had a kitchen in my hotel room. The bridge nearby crosses to what the guide called the "red light district" as he cautioned us not to go there. I made a mental note to come back after dark to satisfy my "other" appetite before seeking out some great food.
Some of the best pintxos were at Victor's on the Plaza Nueva, and at Gatz and Busterri, both nearby in the labyrinth of cobbled streets. <snip>
Article for InsideOut magazine July 2005 (see pdfs above)
I just got back from one of the most gay-friendly cities in Europe - Barcelona. The food, the scenery, the climate - everything was fantastic! But, if I had to name one thing about the city I liked most, it would be the people. They are so beautiful! The streets were filled with gorgeous young men and women to lust after, and they were so open and accepting, it made me wonder what is wrong with the United States. Our society tolerates, and our government legislates, bigotry and hatred against lesbians and gays, even though our country was founded on the principle of equality for all. When it comes to our marriage laws, some in this "democracy" are more equal than others.
That is not the case in Spain. Recently, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and his Social party introduced a bill giving same-sex couples the right to marry, and the legislature passed it. The government-backed bill now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to get final approval in the coming weeks. When that happens, Spain will become the third European country, after the Netherlands and Belgium, legalizing gay marriage, with a law that states, "Matrimony shall have the same requisites and effects regardless of whether the persons involved are of the same or different sex."
From the United States point of view, that is some pretty radical thinking. And it's not just here. In Italy, the new Pope went ballistic! He urged Catholics, who make up nearly 80% of the population of Spain, to ignore the law, and use civil disobedience, even at the risk of losing their jobs, to prevent its enforcement. But, apart from the bold headlines in the newspapers, no one seemed to pay any attention. During my one evening in town I saw gay and lesbian couples walking along the narrow streets hand-in-hand, or arm-in-arm, moving easily to the rythms of the Catalan music coming from the cafes. Much later, it was the universal music from the clubs they moved to, but always it was with a freedom we can only hope for here.
As open as Barcelona is, there is no defined "gay" area. Small gay cafés can be found just off the Ramblas, in the medieval section where the jousts used to take place, called El Born, and just a few minutes walk from there are the big gay clubs of the Eixample, or Modernist district. In this case "modern" means from the early 1800s, when the city expanded to a grid pattern of streets, each block looking more like a doughnut than a square, with wider, high-visibility intersections, and interior courtyards. Here is where Barcelona's top architects, including Antoni Gaudi, designed the most sensuous and beautiful buildings to be seen in front of, especially on the arm of your lover. And, since the clubs don't get going until well after midnight, there was plenty of time to stroll around and admire both. Judging by the crowds doing just that on a Thursday night, this city never sleeps. . <snip>
WAMC commentaries on http://www.wamc.org 7 states & SE Canada NPR feed
Macau – Where Food and Hospitality Are Your Best Bets (766 words) recorded (scheduled) June 13, 2007
It is exhausting and frustrating to look out over Macau and try to describe it, because I know that by the time you hear this it will have changed. There have to be more cranes and construction projects on these three islands than anywhere else in the world. The steady hum of building and industry carries on three shifts a day, seven days a week. The flashes of the arc welding on the unfinished towers, soon to become the new skyline, compete with the strobe lights and acres of neon that identify their already completed neighbors. Lakes, harbors and lagoons are being filled in – "reclaimed" is the term used – so much so that the original lighthouse, built in the 1800s, is far inland. Even the popular nightlife section for the locals, called the "docks" is now landlocked, as billions of dollars are invested in new four, five, and even six star hotels being built on newly minted Macau shorefront. The pace is incredible!
What drives this unbelievable growth? Gambling. Over twenty million people visited Macau last year. Most came for the casinos, spending nearly a half billion dollars. Macau now boasts the largest casino in the world (The Sands) and more casinos than anywhere else in the world. In fact, where Macau was once known as the Las Vegas of the East, Las Vegas will soon be known as the Macau of the West. It is that big! But, once you can get beyond all the garishly lighted casinos, you’ll find that in Macau, the food and hospitality are your best bets.
The Portuguese colonized the Macau peninsula over 400 years ago, bringing their kitchen ways along with their genes to create a fabulous blend of peoples and tastes. Their Iberian sense of family and hospitality are all reflected in modern Macau, which is the true birthplace of Asian fusion food. A location on the ancient spice routes guaranteed Macau a thorough mix of cultures and foods. Curry, coconut, turmeric, and coriander, along with regional cooking methods and implements, found their way to this outpost on the South China Sea. Cantonese cooking, with its clean simple emphasis on the flavor of the food, is widely acknowledged as the best of Chinese cuisine. It was the Portuguese and the neighboring Cantonese cooking on Mainland China that had the greatest influence on what is now known as Macanese cooking. So, while some people came for the gambling, I came for the food, and I was not disappointed.
Macau is easy to get to by plane, but most people arrive for a few days visit via hydrofoil ferry from Hong Kong. They get the best overall view of the three islands and the illuminated fantasy of the skyline from the water. I flew in with the executive chefs from the American restaurant group, PF Chang Chinese Bistro. We were there to experience the unique flavors of Macanese cuisine with an eye towards developing new regional recipes for their 150+ US restaurants. We had lunches and dinners in the best restaurants, plus we also had great meals at the Macau Wine Museum, the Macau Institute for Tourism Studies (which is basically the Culinary School) and the Civil Servants Retired Association. That one was a surprise. It isn’t really a restaurant, but the cook there is one of the last who remembers how to prepare some of the more unusual Macanese dishes, such as her incredible Tamarind Pork, African Chicken and even Duck Stew. Everyday of our visit the exotic African, Vietnamese, Chinese and Portuguese ingredients combined to make Macanese cuisine unforgettable.
The trip wasn’t just about food. Each meal was accompanied by robust Portuguese wines. Surprisingly, they are cheaper in Macau than in Portugal, or even here in the US. The most spectacular wine tasting we attended included a sword wielding sommelier who chopped the top off our champagne bottle and poured bubbly from the jagged neck. What an event that was! He assured us that any potentially dangerous glass shards were carried away by the exploding wine. I had to believe him if I wanted to taste it - and I did!
Language was no problem wherever I went. In Macau all the signs and menus are in English, Cantonese and Portuguese. Plus, it is a comfortable and walkable city, and the people are very friendly to tourists. Macau even earned a World Heritage designation with over twenty historic sites. Forget about the gambling. The museums, the cathedral, the public gardens, and especially the food are all reasons to visit Macau. I know I can’t wait to go back.
Article on Bilbao that became a commentary (aired Oct 23rd, 2006 10:35am)
Tapas, By Any Other Name . . .
On a recent visit to Bilbao, Spain, I found out that tapas, by any other name, still taste great! Where's Bilbao, you ask? Since the 1997 opening of the Frank Ghery designed Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao is on all the art & architecture tourism maps, but it is only recently being discovered for its food. That will change when the new harbor for cruise ships opens in March of 2006. Then Bilbao will be the immediate world's "new" gourmet travel destination. For now, off season, there are just surfers and a few stray "foodies" such as myself, in the heart of Basque country, on Spain's North Atlantic coast, enjoying the best the region has to offer: good surf, great food and genial company.
Naturally, people here speak Basque, which isn't similar to Spanish, and has enough x's and z's to be Greek to me. So when I asked at the first tavern for tapas, they said pintxos (peenchos), literally meaning food on a stick. Both are bite sized snacks either on little skewers, or with a toothpick stuck in them. They come in all shapes and flavors, and are usually served on a crusty slice of bread. Eating them is the social equivalent of a buffet dinner party. You can have them as appetizers as the locals do, or make a meal of it while visiting with people around you. Either way, you're enjoying very good food!
Pintxos can be something as simple as olives with an anchovy filet, a fried sweet green pepper dipped in salt, or a single, translucent slice of Iberian ham in a small dinner roll, each with a toothpick holding it together. Some more complex varieties are a skewered fresh anchovy filet wrapped around squid, with tomatoes and watercress in an ink sauce, or a puff pastry "boat" stuffed with crab salad skewered with an upright shrimp "sail". These beautiful and elaborate creations aren't the "norm", but when bar-hopping for pintxos I found that the selection was only limited by the creativity of the cook. One thing for sure, all are made with the freshest local ingredients.
A typical pintxos crowd moves from bar to bar, so if you stay in one place long enough you can meet the whole community as the waves of patrons move through the neighborhood. Eventually I got caught up in the rhythm, nodding to familiar faces as I ate and drank my way around the old section of the city. The dining is so casual that one helps oneself to the lavish spread along the bar, motioning for a glass of wine or beer to wash them down. A plate is a rarity, but napkins abound, and the custom is to drop them on the floor when you're done. The best way to settle up is by counting the toothpicks. It's all done on the honor system, holding up fingers if language is a problem. When it comes to food, language is never a problem for me! . <snip>
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