The Pintxa San Antoni is a yearly (2015 is its 7th year running) pintxos (pinchos) competition for participating bars in San Antonio. Every Thursday night from February 26 through April 2, participating bars will serve their pintxos with beer or wine for 2 Euros (or a tapa with beer or wine for 4 Euros). The organizing party made a special map with a route of all the restaurants, an app, and even offer a free train that runs from 8-11pm that takes restaurant-goers to each of the bars. It actually runs. I know this because I’ve gotten stuck behind it many a time.
What is a pintxo, you may ask?
A pintxo (otherwise spelled pincho) is a concept similar to a tapa, but a smaller portion, and can usually be eaten with your hands. Often it comes on a stick or skewer, and is meant to accompany an alcoholic drink.
From my understanding, Ibiza doesn’t have as big of tapa/pincho culture as in other parts of Spain. Therefore, La Pintxa is a great opportunity for winter residents to try tiny portions of a variety of food from numerous restaurants that perhaps they wouldn’t normally go to. Moreover, it’s great chance for both those who live in San Antonio (and those who don’t) to have an excuse to go to restaurants on a week night in winter, and go bar hopping for a reasonable price (I’m sure those who live in other, more affordable parts of Spain will squirm at what in Ibiza we consider ‘affordable prices’).
For me, given my school-private lesson-girl’s school-tutor the girl sheltered schedule, it is amazing to see young people all in one place. Sometimes I am so stuck in my routine that I forget people actually live on this island… and they even socialize!
While my friends and I wanted to go to as many bars as we could, time constraints only permitted us to see a few. However, of the two times I’ve had the chance to go to la Pinxta, I’d like to highlight some of the places we went, and the pintxos we were impressed with. I’m no food blogger, but I hope you’ll enjoy it regardless.
The first Thursday I went I tried a delicious curry chicken (forgot to take a photo). The staff at the bar was a little aggressive for my taste, and there is always one waiter there who I consistently have awkward eye contact with. The first time I went, there was a middle-aged foreign couple – I would guess an Italian woman, maybe German man- feeding each other and taking up a lot of space, so trying to get the bartender to pay attention to you was a challenge. I like this bar for its music (Spanish rock).
This past Thursday, we got a seat by the burning fire (after 5 minutes my cheeks had melted), and savored our duck dumplings with plantains. The bar was less crowded this time, which was great – because we got our pintxo quickly, and also annoying because we got the up and down from every middle-aged man in the bar.
Crowded – obviously for a reason – we got here and had to hover for a while until there were open chairs. One of the guys we were with, who is clearly a local hero, was greeting by screaming admirers as we walked in. I really enjoyed the deep-fried meat ball with breading on the outside and raspberry sauce.
This restaurant was popping – but the pintxos were not. This is the famous Mexican restaurant where every table is equipped with a telephone that you can use to call other tables. I had an unfortunate ceviche, that was difficult to handle. The good news is, we ran into people we knew and got to use a bathroom for free (TNSTAAFL?).
Even more fun than the pintxos, our experience as Cebo was solidified as entertaining when we ran into two people we knew. First, I ran into a student of mine (one that fancies himself a big-shot in the classroom) from the high school. He was doing the Pintxa with his mom, and he was deeply embarrassed to run into me. I relished in his angst. As I introduced myself and started speaking to his mom, he looked mortified. His face looked like he had just ate something sour and his chin sunk into his neck. He quickly removed his eye contact with me and grabbed for his security blanket – his phone.
After this humorous encounter, we had chicken and beef tortillas with cheese, and spicy brie, jamon serrano and avocado pinchos.
Our next encounter was almost better than seeing my student’s skin crawl. We ran into one of the boys that my friend and I had met at Flower Power. This time, it was a boy that had flirted with my friend. He came up and said hi, and made some insinuating remarks as to when we would all dance together the next time. My friend, similar to my student, was mortified. While I feel for her, I was extremely entertained.
Almost empty, the highlight of stopping by this bar was the Oasis and Savage Garden (REMEMBER THEM) music videos playing on the big screen. Throwback!
I had a scrumptious skewer of tandoori chicken, and our friend had eggplant cheese concoction.
And then our friends were like, “SO OVER IT” so we moved…
One of the fanciest places we went, the vibe was very different. There was a younger crowd but it felt more formal and less opportune to joke around with people.
For me, it was time to go for the dessert. I had a coconut ball covered in chocolate, and a coconut almond white cake.
Always a crowd favorite, both Thursdays that I went I couldn’t resist the chocolate dulce de leche coconut balls they serve.
Because of my strong aversion to almost all forms of electronic music, it’s hard for me to stomach the atmosphere. It’s darker and less inviting to reach out and have a conversation with people. But those dessert pinchos make everything worth it….