Friday, September 16, 2011

End of Summer Slow Down

I don't know where it went, but summer flew by in a blink of an eye. The summer season was intense. A week of fireworks. 60 person barbecues. Six-course pintxos tours that end in massive food comas. Weekly pub crawls that end in massive hangovers. Opening a new reception and chill out area for the hostel. Friends coming. Friends going. Whew. Now that it's calmed down a bit I can take a few minutes to sit down and write about it all.

It's been quite an intense lifestyle change, working at a backpacker's hostel in the small, tourist-packed city of San Sebastián.

Reception

Chill Out

I've traded my apartment with an actual bed, my own kitchen, and bathtub that I could actually feel safe bathing in, for a mattress on the floor in a room the size of a closet, a kitchen I share with 40 other people, and waiting in line for the bathroom. It feels a bit like going from the real world back to living in the college dorms.
 
Kitchen

But I wouldn't trade it for the world.

I have never been happier, more at home, more myself, than I am right here. Something about this city makes me the person I want to be. Possibly even better. And the friends I've made here? They are my life-savers. I don't know how I would have been able to get through this summer without them.

Chill Out

I've managed to survive on a ridiculously inconsistent sleep regiment, dragging my zombie-like self out of bed at 7:30am to open up the kitchen for guests, siesta-ing for a few hours mid-day, and then going out till 3, 4... sometimes 5 in the morning. All to do it over again the next day. Strangely, I'm still in once piece.

My diet, or lack there of, has hit every culinary spectrum, ranging from foie gras, beef cheek, and duck breast, to ham sandwiches, cheeseburgers, and canned tuna. Still, I've managed to (or so I think) get into better shape than I was back in Paris. It must be the early morning bed-making routines coupled with the all night dancing.

I've had some of the most memorable experiences of my life these past few months. One in particular, was my 27th birthday. Nothing too over the top; an unforgettable 3-course dinner above our favorite restaurant... planned, cooked, and served by one of my favorite people...

David

The Table

A first course of mixed greens with seared queso de cabra (goat cheese) & balsamic vinegar reduction...

First Course

Main course of solomillo (sirloin steak) with hollandaise & mushroom sauce, honey-glazed carrots, and patatas bravas (a local dish of fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce & alioli)...

Solomillo with Mushroom Sauce and Hollandaise, Patatas Bravas, and Honey-Glazed Carrots
Photo Credit: Alyssa Prohias

Main Course

It was perfection, mind you. It took every ounce of strength not to lick my plate clean.

Licking the Plate Clean
Photo Credit: Alyssa Prohias

And the pièce de résistance (I know, super corny, but totally fits the bill)... the birthday cake. Moist, fluffy sponge cake perfectly layered with Kahlua creme, raspberry jam, Bavarian creme, and coated in dark chocolate ganache. Each slice served with a compote of fresh strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. I just about cried.

My Birthday Cake

Cutting the First Slice
Photo Credit: Alyssa Prohias

My Slice of Cake

Vino

It wasn't just the food that made the birthday unforgettable (although it was damn freaking fantastic), but spending it with my "San Sebastián Family" is what truly made it the best birthday I've ever had.

Asier

Sara

Simon

Bevan

Tim

Me & Alyssa

I have to thank everyone who planned, prepped, helped, and cooked. So... THANK YOU!!! This birthday was definitely one for the books.

Now the leaves are starting to turn orange, and I'm subconsciously reaching for long-sleeved shirts before even looking out the window. There are still a few blazingly hot, sunny days when I can enjoy turning a few shades darker and playing volleyball in the sand, but I know those days are dwindling. The city is a lot more peaceful now and the streets much quieter at night. I still love it. 

I'm looking forward to the off season, when I can come back down to earth a little bit. This Urban House high has been quite a ride, but now it's time to focus! I'm hoping *crossing my fingers* to jump back into the blog FULL STEAM... complete with new recipes and cooking experiences. I'll have more time to cook now, so I'm sure there will be some stories!

1 comment:

  1. its going to be a sad end when everyone departs... boo :( but what a summer eh! weeeeeeeeeeeeee!

    ReplyDelete