When Christopher Hall reported his "57 Small Bites of Spain" story about tapas in four Spanish cities, he visited Bar Txepetxa in San Sebastian's old quarter. We brought the December/January 2010 issue of AFAR with us and shared it with the pintxo purveyors in this tiny bar, renowned for its anchovies and sardines. The menu board on the back wall appears in the photo in the lower right corner of the magazine page. The "pintxos" on the platter being tilted toward the camera are actually plastic models, with magnets holding them to the plate. One of my favorites: a sardine with a thick smear of blueberry jam down the middle!
Sometimes this is as close as you would get. Being neighborly helps to get people to pass you your food and drinks. Txikito de Iraeta might have had better luck passing the food around but I didn't care about standing up and eating from one place to the next. The several hundred other patrons didn't seem to mind either, night after night...especially the smartly dressed older gentlemen that spontaneously belt out a traditional cancion from time to time.