April 26 - May 5, 2020
10 Days/9 Nights
Bilbao/Bermeo/Basque Villages/San Sebastian with castle stay.
Welcome to the Basque Country Portland Food Adventures style hosted by Urdaneta’s Javier Canteras and two of the people who make Portland’s Urdaneta so hospitable, Javier’s wife Jael, and server Aundre! It’s a deep exploration into the roots of this special restaurant, which blossomed from Javier’s popular Basque Country Suppers before taking shape as Urdaneta.
Our exciting itinerary takes you from the bustling city of Bilbao, through the hills and small historic towns of the central Basque region, and finishes in breathtaking San Sebastian and its unrivaled views of La Concha. Explore the incredible contrast of this region, touring the Guggenheim, walking over the sea to reach San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, sleeping in a castle in the Urdaibai Nature Reserve, and of course extraordinary eating all along the way!
This itinerary is subject to minor changes as we get closer to the trip, either in the interest of enhancing the trip or necessary changes due to size of the group, reservation availabilities, etc..
Come be a special Urdaneta and Portland Food Adventures VIP for life. LIMITED TO 15 GUESTS IN ADDITION TO YOUR HOSTS.
Day 1, April 26 – Sunday
Welcome to Bilbao
Arrive in Bilbao, either at the airport or by train, and be greeted by your own driver, who will whisk you off to your beautiful hotel just across the street from the famed Frank Gehry designed Guggenheim Museum. Welcome to the largest city in the Basque region! Along the way you will capture some first glimpses of this beautiful city and it's blend of “old meets new”, ranging from gothic cathedrals to modern sculptures. (For those of you coming from Portland, you'll see another beautiful city on a river with crisscrossing bridges.) Get yourself situated and then join your fellow adventurers for a welcome reception at the hotel as we make our way out for a fitting start with dinner at one of Chef Javier’s favorite Bilbao restaurants.
Day 2, April 27 – Monday
Siete Calles – The 7 Streets (Bilbao)
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel and soak up the view. We will meet and take a scenic stroll over to the famed Seven Streets of Old Town, Chef Javier's favorite part of Bilbao. These 7 streets were once the original walled start of the city and packed with history. Filled with shops, bars, and pintxos, the narrow streets lead from one discovery to the next, some opening up to hidden cathedrals, others with your new favorite bar around the corner. Chef Javier will take us on a tour of some of his favorite areas and then we’ll grab a table on the terrace in the Monumental Plaza Nueva of the Casco Viejo at a cafe that was founded in 1911 for a delicious lunch and coffee.
You’re now free to wander and shop, maybe check out the Ribera Market on the waterfront, full of food vendors and local products, or get just a little lost in those narrow streets and find that perfect pintxos spot you noticed along our walk. (We have plenty suggestions if you need a little guidance!)
After a break at the hotel to drop off some of your new-found treasures, we will reconvene for a traditional late evening, with a casual dinner at one of Chef Javier's preferred asadors. One of his favorite styles of cooking, you will experience this traditional, over flame preparation, something fun to compare to our future visit to Asador Etxebarri, later in the trip.
Day 3, April 28 - Tuesday
The Guggenheim (Bilbao)
After breakfast, explore the environs of your beautiful hotel. We’ll meet mid-afternoon for lunch at the gorgeous Bistro at the Guggenheim, followed by a guided tour of one of the world’s most beautiful museums.
The evening is yours to do as you wish. Enjoy your final night in this city. It's a wonderful place to do any sort of shopping or eating. We will of course be more than happy to make some recommendations.
Day 4, April 29 - Wednesday
Gaztelugatxe (Bermeo-Basque Coast)
After breakfast, we will be picked up at the hotel for a ride to the coastal fishing town of Bermeo. Get a little bit of Javier's personal history in this picture-perfect town on the sea. (You can see his grandmother's house from the park!) Once the hub of the Basque region and the most important fishing town, Bermeo is full of maritime tradition, particularly in whaling. We will walk the park along the marina, where all the locals congregate. There we will get some light pintxos, a basque pastry, and of course a cafe con leche.
Gaztelugatxe, one of the most incredible sights of the Basque coastline. A narrow bridge winds out into the middle of the ocean, leading to a tiny church atop an islet. This chapel dedicated to John the Baptist dates back to the 10th century.
For the final leg of the day, we’ll head a little further south and check in to a beautiful 13th century castle nestled in the breathtaking Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve and home for the next two nights. Tonight, a delicious wine-tasting with some light bites in the wine cellar of the castle. Perfect, after the hearty lunch we will have had.
Day 5, April 30 – Thursday
Urdaibai Estuary/Castillo de Arteaga
Breakfast at the Castle. Enjoy the grounds of the estuary and it's many offerings. You are truly in the heart of the Basque countryside today, so choose to do as little or as much as you would like. A 30 min hike will lead you to the Caves of Santimamiñe, one of the most important Basque archaeological finds of ancient cave paintings. Maybe sit down with a book atop the castle turret and relax for the day. Lunch at your leisure in the castle, then we’ll all convene with our group for a beautiful dinner in the elegant and whimsical restaurant on-site.
Day 6. May 1 – Friday
The Tree of Guernica/Asador Extebarri/Pintxos in San Sebastian
After breakfast we’ll bring our bags downstairs to be transported to one of the best meals you’ll ever have in your life, and in the top 10 on San Pellegrino’s World's Best 50 list, Asador Extebarri. Done exclusively over fire, Chef Victor Arguinzoniz focuses on the simplicity of the ingredients, all taken from the nearby area, and truly lets them shine. It will be a most memorable experience.
On our way to lunch, we will take the opportunity to stop in the city of Guernica, which you may recognize from Pablo Picasso’s celebrated painting bearing the city’s name. Here we will see the famed Tree of Guernica, the reminder of the tragic loss this city bore, when they were bombed in 1937. Though the city was destroyed, both the Basque Assembly House and the lone oak tree survived, and the Tree of Guernica is now one of the most important symbols of the Basque people and their struggle for independence.
After lunch we now bid farewell to the Basque countryside and head towards San Sebastian! Check in to your 4-Star hotel, get refreshed, and head out for the thing San Sebastian does best, Pintxos! We will take an evening stroll on the boardwalk as Chris and Javier show you some of the prime spots, which things to order where, and get acquainted with this beautiful city.
Day 7, May 2 – Saturday
San Sebastian Boat Tour/Rooftop Chef's Dinner
After breakfast at the hotel, meet up with Chef Javier at the local street market and peruse the vendors to help him pick the day's produce. We’ll then meander down to the harbor by way of Old Town to board a private charter for boat trip through the Playa del Concha and out to sea. We’ll enjoy some wine and a light lunch out on the sea.
After our San Sebastian voyage, we’ll meet in the evening on the rooftop of one of Javier’s friends, where Chef Javier will don his chef’s apron and cook a spectacular Basque Supper with the ingredients we procured from the market, while watching the sunset over San Sebastian. This will be a very special, intimate evening and always one of our favorite times to be together as a group. Javier, Jael, and Aundre will give you a little taste of what they do back home, while we swap stories, talk recipes, and family history.
Day 8 May 3 – Sunday
FREE DAY & NIGHT - Here’s your opportunity to perhaps enjoy a romantic day with your significant other with no real plans at all, or maybe schedule your own excursion to La Rioja for wine tasting. Venture back to that one pintxos bar for a second trip or ride the ferris wheel on the boardwalk. It’s all up to you, and we will help guide you with whatever your wishes might be for your perfect day in this perfect city.
Day 9, May 4 - Monday
Michelin Star Lunch/Final Evening
Our final day will center around a beautiful Michelin starred lunch a little outside of town on a terrace overlooking the hills. It will be a time to reflect and enjoy one last taste of this delicious region. You’re free in the evening to stroll around the Concha Bay or hit the pintxos bars.
Day 10, May 5 - Tuesday
Shuttle to Bilbao airport at 4am or 9am or head elsewhere directly from San Sebastian by train or car.
Thank you so much for being with us on this incredible journey!
SEE PRICING AND TERMS IN THE RIGHT HAND COLUMN
Chef Javier Canteras
Javier Canteras is the Owner and Chef of Urdaneta, a tapas-style restaurant deeply rooted in the appreciation for traditional Spanish gastronomy and drink. Quietly tucked away from the bustling Alberta neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, Canteras’ urbane menu dedicated to inventive pintxos, and alongside a menu of hearty, old world tapas, celebrates his Basque upbringing with bold, sophisticated flavors that transcend the typical Spanish fare.
Canteras’ family moved to the US when he was five. A native of Spain, he frequently took trips back with his family where he learned to make desserts and family dishes alongside his father and grandfather. His family cooked together, creating simple yet inventive meals that drew inspiration from recipes passed down throughout the years, the fresh produce found at local farmer markets, food trucks, and tapas bars found across the vast Basque region. The ideas of family meals were – and still are –important to Canteras and his family. Before his grandfather’s passing, Canteras’ fondest memory was of the traditional txokos, a somewhat secret society made up of members who came together to cook and experiment with new techniques.
Canteras holds an impressive culinary track, spanning almost two decades as an established Executive Chef and Owner in several restaurants and projects globally. Upon graduating from the Western Culinary Institute, he immediately dived into the restaurant industry, leading Noir, Northwest Grill, and the Portland’s Living Room Theaters as Executive Chef. He was the personal chef for Stahancyk, Kent & Hook law firm in Portland, Oregon and launched Salt and Flame Catering in Vancouver, Washington. In honor of the traditional txokos he once attended, Canteras established the once-a-month Basque Supper Club pop-up in Portland, Oregon. His most recent venture led him to a brief staging role, working alongside Albert Adria of Bodega 1900 in Barcelona.
Itching to make his roaming supper club a permanent business, Canteras opened Urdaneta in 2016. Urdaneta is a celebration of traditional Spanish fare that sings an ode to the bustling tapas bars found within the heart of Madrid. The thoughtful menu straysaway from the standard Spanish-fare while still honoring the elements and traditions rooted in classical cooking techniques. Many of the dishes reflect those rare moments in time – a fond childhood memory or recent homecoming – of his native Spain, which he now shares with Portland’s growing Spanish food scene.
Outside of the kitchen, Canteras loves to spend time with his wife and stepdaughter. He also considers himself to be a huge movie buff and loves to play music in his free time.
IN HIS OWN WORDS:
Please take a listen as PFA and Right at the Fork podcast host Chris Angelus interviews Javier.
10 days/9 nights
Pricing: $6990/pp Double Occupancy (special $250 off this price for the first eight people to book before April 27, 2019)
$1300 single supplement (we can help try to match you with a roommate if you would like)
(see deposit and payment details below)
Reservations accepted starting 8pm March 18, 2019, with limited early bird or loyalty discounts going to the deposits on a first-come, first-given basis through our ticketing site here (this site is used only for $500 deposits to claim spots on the trip in advance of checks for the 50% deposit).
Balance of 50% of cost of trip due within two weeks of this securing deposit payment via check only. (All payments are refundable until 4/27/2019). Then, balance of full cost of trip due by 1/15/2020. All payments made after 4/27/2019 are non-refundable. Payments other than initial $500 deposit (fees added) may be made by check only.
While our trips feature smaller groups for maximum enjoyment and interaction, this trip is subject to a low minimum number of guests. Please do not buy airfare until we inform you that the minimum has been met.
WHAT IS/ISN’T INCLUDED: This trip includes accommodations in beautiful 4-Star hotels, hotel taxes, transfers (or reimbursement) from Bilbao airport on 4/26 and specified transfers from San Sebastian to Bilbao on 5/5, at least 12 food and/or beverage experiences, and transportation to our excursions away from the city. They do NOT include airfare or trip insurance (which we strongly recommend and can be purchased online), mini-bar, incidentals, gratuities (generally for drivers, tour guides and some restaurants) and personal expenses.
Lastly, our groups are really fun, and we want to make sure we keep them that way. So, if you’re a flexible, open traveler who appreciates the opportunity to sit back and let us do the planning and the legwork while you eat and drink really well, this trip is for you. If you need to be in complete control of your schedule, and need to know what’s happening months in advance on Friday at 3pm during the trip, this may not be the best way for you to travel. Our guests who put this in our hands report the times of their lives!!
We can help you with excursions before, during and after as well.
YOU ARE WELCOME AND ENCOURAGED TO CALL CHRIS AT 503 314 4221 TO DISCUSS THE TRIP BEFORE OR AFTER MAKING YOUR DEPOSIT. (Please note: Response time will be slow or limited to email only between April 3 and April 18 while on our PFAMelbourne trip!)
*Deposit refundable until 4/27/19. After that, all payments made are non-refundable. We strongly suggest you buy travel insurance.