An evening at Bil-Toki
During our visit to Elko, Nevada in summer 2005, we had the unique dining experience of eating at Bil-Toki, a Basque dinner house. Mr. T and I had never tasted Basque food of any sort before, so it was all new to us and very enjoyable.
A large group of us gathered at Bil-Toki to celebrate a birthday. The specials were a bit pricey to Mr. T and me -- $15 each -- but lots of food was included and it was a fun way to try an entire Basque meal. Each member of our party chose a different special so that we could all try a variety of main courses. The meals are served family style, with the food coming out in large serving dishes to be passed around the table.
First they brought out a crock of Basque vegetable soup and some Basque bread. The soup was a cabbage soup in a tomato base with carrots, celery, and onion -- possibly a small amount of rice or orzo, too.
Next came salad. This was iceberg lettuce with shreds of carrot and red cabbage, all drenched in a Basque creamy garlic dressing. Very tasty.
Next came the entrees. These included Basque chicken (falling off the bones in a Basque tomato sauce); codfish (breaded and sauteéd, covered in a light lemony cream sauce); salmon (steaks baked and covered with garlic and other seasonings); Lomo (pork tenderloin breaded and fried, served with sauteéd red and green peppers and garlic); and tri-tip ( a very tender pot roast, sliced and also topped with sauteéd red and green peppers and garlic). The entrees were all delicious, but my favorites were the Lomo and the tri-tip.
These entrees were accompanied by an array of side dishes -- French fries, Basque beans, thick spaghetti in sauce, and a vegetable dish that looked suspiciously like Veg-All out of a can -- corn, carrots, celery, and potatoes. (I didn't bother to try any, so can't say for sure. )
If I recall, the only desserts offered were ice cream and possibly pudding, but I can't remember for sure. We went back to our daughter and son-in-law's home for banana chiffon cake with fresh banana icing (both homemade) and rainbow sherbet.
All in all, it was a fun evening and a delicious taste of Basque cooking!
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