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Txikifest 2013 at Txikito

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Txikifest 2013 at Txikito

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As warm and sunny skies finally came to NYC this weekend, Txikifest took Chelsea by storm! For the third year in a row, Eder Montero and Alex Raij the owners and chefs of Txikito packed the back alley behind their famed Basque Country restaurant with Txakoli wines from 15 different producers and pintxos (Basque-style tapas) from ten different restaurants.  With proceeds benefitting Sanctuary for Families, this celebration of Basque Country culture was not to be missed! (For Txikifest 2012, read here.)

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Eder Montero and Alex Raij at Txikito

On Friday, two days before Txikifest, Eder and Alex hosted a press luncheon at Txikito, featuring wines from Ameztoi, Xarmant Arabako, Uriondo and Doniene Gorrondona, served with a number of amazing dishes from the menu.  The Piperrak, or "blistered Gernika peppers with sea salt" were perfect.  "You'll see a lot of green pepper here [on the menu]," said Alex, "which goes great with the wine."  The marinated white anchovies, divine.  "When I first tried them," she added, "I fell in love with them.  They reminded me of a Jewish delicatessen."

We've never had creamier Kroketas, made with cod that'd been salted in-house.  And the Tortilla de Bakaloa was rich yet not heavy, and definitely something we could eat daily.  "We do this at brunch," said Alex, "or if someone wants to have a traditional cider house dinner.  Organic eggs and salt cod with an emulsion of salt cod.  It's cod on cod and oil on oil."  Hmmm...no wonder it tasted so damn good.

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The squid and ink was so tender, the rings just melted in one's mouth.  This dish "always leaves such a strong impression," said Alex.  "It's the ultimate surf and turf.  It's a squid dish but it eats like a meat dish...it's super minimalist. Four basic ingredients.  It's one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten," made from "very good squid that is local here and very tender."

Since running one restaurant isn't enough for the dynamic duo, Alex and Eder also own and operate El Quinto Pino and La Vara in Brooklyn, totaling the trinity that hosted yesterday's Txikifest, where along with André Tamers and Steven Alexander of De Maison Selections, TEW had a great showing.

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Matt Kelly of Mateo in Durham, NC, with Steven Alexander and André Tamers

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Patty, Greg and KU with Alex Raij

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Pouring Ameztoi

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The band

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Carlos of Vinos Libres

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Dalia, Ivey & Scott

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Thank you Jason, of Txikito, who did such an amazing job organizing the event!