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Simon Sunwoo

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  1. Simon Sunwoo

    El Raco de Can Fabes

    BTW, does anyone know where I can find espardenyes a la plancha in Barcalona or nearby?
  2. Simon Sunwoo

    El Raco de Can Fabes

    Dosconz- it was also a great pleasure meeting you. Thanks for the great photos of me and the crew busy at work. Oh yeah the food doesn't look so bad either. Well my insiders menu could change from day to day, but with my parents I chose to go with mostly the classics. Well we started with the typical amuse geules with a glass of Cava Gran d'Abbatis Brut Nature. I have to say, Santi's amuses are some of the most striking of all the three stars I've eaten at here in Spain. Then I let the super sommelier, Juan Carlos Ibanez, choose our wines for us. He chose a wine from a vineyard we had visited together in the late spring, Can Rafols dels Caus, El Rocallis 2000 Penedes. This is a fine example of the great mineral whites that are coming from this up and coming region. This was to accompany the first few courses which included in order: --"Tomaco" a la albahaca-- a mock tomatoe made by adding gelatin to tomatoe sauce then pouring the mixture into silipad half dome molds. Once chilled and set, you take a mellon baller and scoop out the core, fill with a basil creme anglaise of sorts, put the two half domes together to form a tomatoe sphere (fools a lot of people who think its nothing but a peeled tomato). It is garnished with a sprig of basil, thinly sliced onion and thinly sliced crouton and then drizzeled with a basil oil. --Ravioli de Gambas al Aceite de "ceps" Santi Santamaria-- this dish used to be the bane of my existence for although not complicated to make, takes a long time to prepare. The filling is nothing but a duxelle of cep and onion confit. The ravioli is formed from a mold filled with flattened Gambas de Blanes (red shrimp right from the region, fresh, delicious and expensive). You see four or five flattened shrimp is used as the "pasta" to encase the cep duxelle. The gambas are raw when first used but pass for less than a minute under the salamander before going out, bare seizing the shrimp which is now between raw and semi cooked. --Caviar con Tocino--a great dish again. Classic too. Pork fat from the neck of the pig is slow braised (sous vide) then reheated a la minute, placed onto a unctuous island of potato puree surrounded with a foamy "mantaquilla salsa" and topped with Osetra caviar. Sounds a little bizarre at first but once you take your first bite--Mar y Montanya at its finest. This is when we switched wines, where Juan Carlos chose a suave Valenciso 1998 Rioja. --Llagosta y Espardenyes con Salsa Curry-- Again nothing complicated here. Just impeccably fresh or should I say live spiny lobster and Espardenyes (something well discussed before here on Egullet) a la plancha with a curry sauce. If I learn nothing more that remembering all the seafood I've eaten off this chrome like plancha, I've learned enough. It is one of the finest ways to cook not only fish but a myriad of other food. BTW, for me espardenyes may be one of my favorite things to eat, but very expensive as well. I will need to find a source in the states for them, because I am already having cravings--but luckily still living in Sant Celoni. I have to say the Valenciso was not over the top for this dish and with the curry accents went very well. I don't quite know if the 100% Tempranillo makes for a more sublte and elegant wine or if it was the deftness of the vignerons, but I also tremedously enjoyed it with our next course as well. --Pollo de Bresse (Poulet de Bresse)-- This is where a simple dish hides its somewhat more complex preperation. As has been widely discussed elsewhere in this site, cooking sous vide or vacio (as its known here), gives more control and thus a better finished product. Carved tableside--all I can say is luxurious dining. The cheese course gives you a cornucopia of excellent Spanish cheeses, that I can confess I do not know enough about. A couple of interesting Catalan cheeses are: Cendrat- covered with ashes, Montsec- local hard goats cheese and one of my favorites-Mahon-- made from Freisan cow's milk. I love to tell myself that I am not a big dessert eater, but usually I will have a bite of someone elses. I opted this time to skip dessert and just take sorbets and the mignardise. At this point, I would have liked to have sat around and smoked a Cuban cigar from their great collection (just cause they're not easily obtained in the US and for these prices--got to give them a try), but my parents frown on such activitites. Plus I am not a big cigar smoker. I would like to note that if not for the recent thread on Poulet de Bresse in the French forum I would probably have chosen the Cabrito a la salvia--but I had tried the cabrito enough and was curious to try the Bresse Can Fabes style--plus knowing my aging parents and knowing Santi's generous portions--the cabrito would have been overkill--deliciuos but rich.
  3. Simon Sunwoo

    El Raco de Can Fabes

    Sorry for the late post but I have been on a job search/eating extravaganza. Dosconz, I would be surely astonished if you came down with something due to the food at Can Fabes, but stranger things have happened. What you ate are called gambas plasticos--I believe due to the plastic like shells of the shrimp, and they arrive every morning fresh from the purveyor and are under maticulous scrutiny and storage once they arrive. Usually, the dish would have been under my supervision--coming from garde manger/cuatro frio, but being the end of my stay here (my last day in fact), I had left as chef de partie some two weeks earlier and was just general help/advisor that day, so I cannot say precisely if they (the shrimp) were suspect that day. The gambas crudo are laid on a bed of brunoise of manzana verde (green apple), topped with lemon confit, tomatoes, red bellpepper, xtra virgen olive oil and a caviar sauce. I had eaten at the restaurant with my parents last week but opted to select my own menu--one of the benefits of being an insider. I can say that it made for a great last impression on me-- as will Catalunya and Spain.
  4. Simon Sunwoo

    Aligue

    Docsconz, when you arrive at Can Fabes, drop by in the kitchen, it would be a pleasure to meet you. It is also my last day of work there.
  5. Simon Sunwoo

    Martin Berasategui

    Rgrugby, yes Martin Berasetegui is easily accessible by train from San Sebastian if youre having lunch (don't think they'll be running after you finish a three star dinner). I forget the exact details but the local train system brings you right into Lasarte and then it is a relatively short walk, about a mile along a fairly suburban neighborhood, to his restaurant. Once there just ask around and hopefully the locals will point you in the right direction. One lady walked me about 2/3 the way, and we had a lovely chat on the way as well. I believe for the whole, I paid about 5 euros for the trip. Remember, there are a couple of train stations in San Sebastian. Just ask the person at the hotel or pension and most likely they will be extremely helpful. BTW, MB was the highlight of my trip there. Enjoy.
  6. BTW, I got to try my first datiles de mar this summer and its too bad there isn't a more environmentally friendly means of harvesting them. They were exceptional.
  7. Very interesting topic. I, having worked with some items I had never even seen back in the states, and others I have worked with but never in its wild form, would like to know the legalality of some of the items I've seen here in Catalunya. What are the seasons for tortola (turtle dove), paloma (dove), becada (woodcock, becasse), estornino (starling??), pichon (pidgeon), cordoniz (quail) and ortolan. I know most of these can be found farm raised but as I recall, some of the ones I've seen had shot or shot holes in them (and needless to say its a pain plucking there feathers especially the wild ducks). Also, are such items as becada and surely not ortolan even legal at all to possess here? Also, what I was recently told was that the hunting season officially doesn't start til Oct. What are some of the game/birds that have been banned? What are being highly protected? And what can one readily hunt?
  8. Simon Sunwoo

    Cooks Tour Continues

    Divina- do you know how much entrance is with and without membership?
  9. Simon Sunwoo

    Cooks Tour Continues

    Divina- do you know how much entrance is with and without membership?
  10. Simon Sunwoo

    Cooks Tour Continues

    OK to narrow down the recommendations list near Naples, I will be staying in Sorrento for two nights, as of for where I don't know. My budget is short, but since good pizza is cheap I could manage to spend one more meal of 50 euros inc wine. My budget is short also in part because I will be dining at a three star at Parkheuval in Eindhoven, Holland--as well. So any 12 euro or less meals or options will be appreciated as well. Thanks. Dosconz- the Agriturisom Saliani looks very interesting because for full board its 60 euros/day. How much are the rooms and how far from Don Alfonso is it? There web site is kind of vague so any further comments you have on it would be appreciated.
  11. Simon Sunwoo

    Cooks Tour Continues

    Update--Will be flying into Verona on the 7th and need to get to Del Pescatore. Does anyone know the best way to do this. I might be the only one on egullet willing to take a bus to a three star. Will probably be taking lunch there on the 8th and then taking the Eurostar from Verona to Naples. Then on to Don Alfonso, where a fellow cook had worked (he filled me in on how to get there by public transport) and a couple of side excursions (Capri and Pompei) then up to Rome to fly home around the 15th. Since I will be dropping half my budget on these two aforementioned restaurants, any recommendations on less expensive restaurants would be appreciated.
  12. Simon Sunwoo

    Cooks Tour Continues

    Ore--Congrats on the big move. Keep us posted on your findings and experiences. How, btw, did you land your job? And where in So Cal did you work? How long are you staying for? Maybe when I make it down to Campania, I'll stop by. Tanabutler-- Sorry, but not familiar with Senor Rancho Gordo, although if he is a fellow egulleteer, that makes him extended family to me. Most likely will be at the Slow Foods event in Torino for the entire time. Depends on what lands on my doorstep. Albistion--I spoke with my fellow cook, Gianni (my Don Alfonso connection) and he informed me that Santi Santamaria is very close to the Santini's. I am told it is the place for learning pastas and great seafood. Very small kitchen however. Anyhow, Santi has been away for quite some time now and will be in Galicia for two more weeks, but when he gets back, I will definately ask for his assistance. I hear only great things about the place, apart from the fact that there isn't much to do outside of work. Still seeking any information on the white truffle festival as most of the tourists sites are quite vague.
  13. Simon Sunwoo

    Cooks Tour Continues

    Divina--yes I've heard so much about Slow Foods and would love to go. I looked up the event on their site and it looks well organized and informative. My only worry is that the 60 euro membership plus the event cost might make it too expensive. Will have to investigate more. Hathor-- I am in no doubt that your son had a food epiphany, I sure did. Love the cuiisine almost as much as the area. Btw, what is "beta"? Albiston-- I would love more than anything to work in Dal Pescatore. My roommate, the asistant sommelier at Can Fabes, and his girlfriend ate there last summer and raved about it. Not only was the food divine but the winelist was spectacular as well. I will try to send my resume there but need to first get it translated into Italian. Unfortunately, I will not be able to share a slice of Napolitan pizza with you unless you will be in the area btwn the 8th-12th of Sept.
  14. Simon Sunwoo

    Cooks Tour Continues

    Albiston--thanks for the reply. Since both restaurants are around the same area--or should I say on the same peninsula, I should be able to go to all three. Indeed, I've heard wonderful things about Napolitan food--from an Italian coworker nonetheless. He has just come back from vacation so I should be able to get the ball rolling through him with Don Alfonso, but again I was looking for a more solid footing in traditional fare. Would you recommend a different region altogether? My goal in life is to be able to take my acquired experience to supplement my abilities to cook "California cuisine." I've heard that Piedmonte and Lombardi tend to be more rich than the cooking of the south, which is not to say that it could not be incorporated into a Californian's chefs repetoire. Also of interest, but just through vague notions and recommendation is Tuscany. Also, any news on the white truffle festival in Alba?
  15. Simon Sunwoo

    Best of both worlds

    Awesome, I will definately make Galicia a tour stop, probably in the fall or early winter. Thanks a bundle Victor and enjoy your time in Cantabria. And if its not too inconvenient, please keep posting on all your findings.
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