Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Lopez explains that querencia is a place where one feels secure, ‘a place from which one’s strength of character is drawn.’ In Spain, it is the place in the ring where the wounded bull goes to renew his strength and center himself, ready for a fresh charge. What a beautiful concept: ‘A place in which we know exactly who we are. The place from which we speak our deepest beliefs.’” -Juanita
Would it be too presumptuous to say I felt that way in Basque Country? Maybe it was the daily heart-to-hearts with Leslie, the extended chats with locals (read: I spoke French/Spanish well enough to be understood!), or, simply, the moments of silence we strolled alongside each other, taking in the sights and smells, occasionally stopping for a three-course gourmet meal with wine.
The first was Restaurant Léonie, where the impressively comfortable, contemporary atmosphere encouraged us to dine forever hours. We savored ham from nearby Bayonne with tomato-brushed toast, celery romoulade and crabmeat, catch-of-the-day sea bass with ham-roasted potatoes, baby cuttlefish atop lard and eggplant caviar, three local cheeses, and vanilla fromage blanc with speculoos.
And after decaf coffees and tea, we stayed even longer. Martin wanted to know how we'd heard about their modern bistro (LaFourchette), how we were enjoying Pays Basque (very much so), and where we'd come from. La chance to be studying in Paris, but wow, how he adores New York. Like so many others, he looks back on his visit fondly. He has a friend living in Brooklyn, too.

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