5.199 Bogavante


23 (Wed) July 2014



at Karola Etxea

-Getxo, Biskaia, Euskadi, Spain-

with W and DJ

Mission to Spain + Holiday (Day 4 of 9)

In Getxo.  From Monday to Friday, I’ll be attending a 5-day workshop food law.  With W and DJ tagging along, we’ll stay an extra couple days for fun in Barcelona.

The workshop is hosted at the beachfront Hotel Igeretxe, where the view can be distracting.

Summer Academy in Global Food Law and Policy.  Not a government thing, more of a roundtable among academics, as well as industry operators.  Unusual for WHO to join something like this, though we need to get better insights on how players outside our usual circles are thinking – e.g., how can the private sector exploit legal loopholes to penetrate protected markets?  Discussions cover WTO, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, Codex Alimentarius, US Food Safety Modernization Act, Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HAACP), certification, labeling, fraud, etc.  What fun, especially in this country!

It is held in Getxo because the guy who runs the thing has a summer house here.

One obvious perk about a private sector event is the food.  Nothing remarkable, but the lunches have been consistently good.

Salade Niçoise (3.0)
Halibut in Lemon-Butter Sauce (3.0)


Over the course of 11 days, through a combination of personal and professional travels – relating primarily to the aforementioned mission in Spain – I will be in 9 localities across 5 countries, eating and documenting at least 1 meal in each of them.

Today is Day 5 /  Locality 3 / Country 3.

(For additional posts, see 11/9/5.)

Located in the old fishing village of Getxo, in the former home of a fisherman who used to host parties at the end of the season to celebrate, according to our tour guide.

Karola Etxea is a Spanish restaurant.  Specializes in seafood.  Opens for business at 2100.  Current ranking on TripAdvisor: 8 of 84 restaurants in Getxo.

We had seen the place on the tour on Day 1 – the tour guide had given it a strong recommendation – so we came back for dinner tonight.

The menu, as posted on the storefront.
The ultimate point-of-sale marketing, on display, at storefront, under lock and key: the day’s catch, purchased from a nearby market – the lobster was still twitching.

Arriving for dinner at 2030, the cleaning lady seemed shocked that we’d dared to come so early – not merely “Sorry, we’re not yet open,” but offended like “WTF are you doing here?!”.  We came back at 2100, the official opening time.

Stairway to delicious.

At 2100, they let us in but begrudgingly.  We were, of course, the first customers.  By the time we left at 2200, we were still the only customers.

It is true, apparently, that Spaniards eat dinner late.

Monkfish & Scallops with Mushrooms & Truffle Sauce (4.0)

The food was amazing.  The bogavante (lobster) was grilled to perfection, an expert touch of char for extra bite.  Seasoned with a deft sprinkle of salt and pepper to enhance yet preserve the natural flavors.  Even better, it came with sweet and succulent eggs, thank you very much.  No doubt, the best lobster that I’ve ever experienced.  DJ was beside himself, couldn’t believe that something could taste so good, me too – actually, I only got 1 bite, and W 1 bite, the rest going to DJ.  The monkfish and scallops were also perfection, a sublime blend of soft and succulent textures, earthy and buttery flavors; it could also have served as the post’s featured dish.  Tonight was the only meal in GMTD history that I’ve had 2 dishes rating 4.0 in one sitting.  My only regret is that we didn’t try everything on the menu.

Hotel High Tech, our accommodations for the week – if, by “high tech,” they meant “low tech,” then okay this place was high tech.
Overlooking Hotel Igertxe, with the fishing village in the distance overlooking the bay.
Towards downtown Getxo.

(See also FOODS.)

(See also PLACES.)

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