My first night in Barcelona I had to get my hands on some pintxos (or pinchos if you prefer Spanish). These are essentially a style of Basque tapas served on bread. Most bars that serve pintxos have plates lined up along the counter with small toasts topped with a dizzying array of flavorful treats. Many are serve-yourself establishments where you simply take whatever looks tasty off the plates. Here comes the clever part: The name “pintxo” comes from the word for toothpick, which is also the manner of paying your tab. Each item has a toothpick through it which you keep on your plate after eating. When you go to pay the tab, the toothpicks are used to tell how many you have eaten and you simply pay per toothpick.
The place I visited was Sagardi, a chain based on the Basque sagardotegi (cider house) traditions. The drink of choice here is, obviously, cider. Basque cider is a little flatter than most ciders and generally poured several feet above the glass in order to aerate the the drink. Fun to watch, more fun to drink.
I had my fill, counted my toothpicks, (paid my tab,) and wandered off to explore the city. The great thing about tapas bars, is that if you get a bit peckish later in the night, you can pop-in and get a quick bite to eat. I would know. You should too.