Pirate John Burger steps in for Don Day today to report on the Basque pintxos dinner that was held last week in San Miguel. And why is Pirate John doing a guest spot instead of Don Day doing the reporting you may be asking. Let’s just say that, on this occasion, he might have been better at talking his wife into attending an expensive event than Don Day was.

By Pirate John, ambassador of healthy living and good times.

Last Tuesday evening, ah yes, the election night, Miniature en Mexico was held at Marie Xoconostle Cocina Mexicana on Cuna de Allende. Eight chefs, seven from the Basque region of Spain and one from Mexico, were invited to each prepare a pintxos or tapa for a tasting extravaganza. I had not seen anything regarding this event but fortunately, Don Day, leaked a brief overview at a luncheon. At $1200 pesos each, attendance took a little justification. But my wife Debra and I soon came up with “a bon voyage party for me, her upcoming birthday, and not wanting to be riveted to the election results” excuse. But the coffin nail was the offer of unlimited wine, gin and rum. Heck, I can consume $1200 pesos of even cheap wine.

So, we signed up, and smartly preordered a taxi as it turned out to be a very unusual rainy November night in San Miguel. Meaning that not an available street taxi would have been found that evening.

I am fortunate to have experienced great chefs and amazing cuisines throughout the world. I’ve sat at Michelin chefs’ tables and had $400US+ tasting menus. Yes, they do exist and are rarely worth it. But I have never experienced an event where everything, and I mean every aspect of a foodie occasion was so enjoyable. Maria Xoconostle and their entire staff deserve an immense round of applause for pulling off such an event with flawless precision. And a special thanks to Antonio Garcia Carreño, a partner in the venue operation, for providing me access to all of the behind the scene activities.

So let’s get this over with. Excellent, magnificent, wonderful, supreme, marvelous, remarkable, first-rate, unsurpassed, preeminent. I think you get the picture.

You may ask why am I writing this. After all, it was a one time event and therefore can’t be recommended per se. First of all, I think that it deserves praise and exposure. Secondly, if things go as planned, these chefs will return in June. But this time they will be dispersed throughout a variety of San Miguel restaurants as guest chefs. So heads up for their reappearance.

Now, I am not even going to try to review all of the dishes. It would take thousands of words. Photos are better anyway? Be forewarned. I am not a photographer and there was unlimited booze. So pardon the glare and gradual increase in blurring.

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A Rainy Night In Georgia earworm from the wet cab ride was wafting in my mind as we entered. Ah, yes, it was beautiful.

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Spanish Cava was presented as a precursor. Pete and Kathleen Turner from Seattle enjoyed the bubbles with my wife, Debra.

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Yes, there was great music throughout the evening, soft and pleasant during the savory pintxos and then San Miguel’s own Media Luna for the dessert portions.

The first dish was a black sesame cone filled with red tuna and sardine ceviche in an avocado cream sauce! OMG was repeatedly heard as it was devoured.

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And what would a Spanish tasting menu be without a fabulous shrimp brochetta.

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Google translated as Discordant Snatch Pigs, this “snack” of succulent cubes of pork and roasted red bell peppers served over a crisp potato hash brown pancake. It was sublime.

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Normally when you bite into some pulpo, you expect a little rubbery bounce back. Not so with Chef Sostenes marinated pulpo over potato strudel with rue-infused avocado cream. At tableside he explained that he pressure cooked it first. It really was as good as king crab.

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This dish even required instructions and took the chef several years to develop. First you place a prepackaged tablet into a small bowl filled with a variety of crispy fried seafood. Then you pour a a jar of highly reduced and warm seafood sauce over the top – pun intended. Think plop plop, fizz fizz, as the dish effervesced.

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Delicious Spanish Verdejo and Tempranillo varietals were poured lavishly thoughout the evening. The white was superbly mineralistic and the red was like raspberries with chocolate. Did I just say that? I promise, no more superlatives.

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The eight chefs and the pirate.

Not shown but just as good, was a coco puff pastry, a chopped taco, and a chocolate house with three insects, one being a Mezcal worm. Debra confessed that I finally got her to eat bugs and she liked them. Perhaps the snifter of a delicious barrel aged rum helped?

As a food lover you often need to search for the good. I am glad that Miniature en Mexico found me.

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And look for this young woman’s future promotions of the next event.

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