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  1. Dear Robert, With your wisdom and kindness you touched the heart of eGullet and made it smile. Without you, the well of inspiration dries up and the muses flee, but your words stay for other eGullet generations to see and learn from, and I hope we’ll have a chance to read many more of your thoughts and experiences.
  2. lxt


    “I’ll even deliver the piglet myself if I have to!” said Robert Brown about a month ago in a tone more matter-of-fact than suggestive. Unfortunately, the rebellion of the spirit sometimes is forced to face the despotism of reality, and for a while it seemed that Robert’s hopes of having a roasted suckling pig would not materialize, when George Mendes’ “That’ll be no problem; I’ll try to get a small baby pig just for your table,” and Marco Moreira’s confirmation restored hope. Let me take a step back from my narrative for a second and say that I’ve been an advocate of Tocqueville for a while
  3. Milla, your are exactly correct that finding other diners whose objective criteria and tastes correlate to your own standards and preferences is the ultimate goal, but I’m not insisting on mandatory agreement when it comes to subjective preferences, only on a certain set of conventions that would comprise the objective criteria. Referencing Alex’s point for instance, even though my opinion that Benno couldn’t properly calibrate the intrinsic brininess of the oyster juice and Iranian osetra caviar in Keller’s “Oysters and Pearls" on our first visit to Per Se, rendering the dish overly salty,
  4. …But we are beyond “what tastes good or doesn’t” already, and the point is that despite the fact that a dish can taste the same to two different diners, their opinions on this dish may be contradictory, because their judgment varies not as much in their primary, physical reaction to the dish, but in the interaction between their subjective and objective standards, “perception of meanings” that affects their final word. That is why in my post on the other thread I compared my thoughts to Vedat’s well-argued review as an example of how the same physical reaction to a dish may result in two oppo
  5. Culinista, there is one point you made that, to my mind, reflects a general misconception that Adria doesn’t just rely on technical innovations or advances in designing dishes, but views these techniques as an end in itself. I believe that this misconception originally arose from both 1) an inability to fit Adria’s cuisine into existing predefined styles, all of which he rejected in favor of an extreme reductionism, and 2) an exaggerated emphasis on his technical adaptations/innovations, again as a result of an inability to use the conventional approach of evaluating individual dishes, since
  6. Here are my thoughts on El Bulli, which have been percolating for nearly a year, now disgorged by my reading vmilor’s treatise on El Bulli vs Can Roca - A lesson learned and visiting José’s MiniBar a few weeks ago. Though this writing predates my having read the several current El Bulli discussions on the board, it seems particularly appropriate to post it here and now. --------------------------------------------- Gagnaire, L’Arpege, L’Ambrosie, Ducasse, The Fat Duck – these provoke heated debates on their contributions to contemporary gastronomy, significance in the culinary world, individu
  7. lxt


    My understanding is that the old Tocqueville has stopped serving lunch, but continues serving dinner for now and that the new Tocqueville is not yet open. To be absolutely certain about the scheduling and transition, give them a call.
  8. lxt


    Tocqueville is about to reopen in larger quarters just down the block from its current location. It is in the process of transformation from a lovely neighborhood restaurant to a more ambitious enterprise. I always enjoyed the economy of design of the old location, which has been preserved and gently transported to the new dining room. The high-ceilinged room continues to convey a comparable play of delicate esthetic contrasts of gray/blue and gently yellow colors. The large wall-mirrors, mimicking windows, establish weightlessness and should serve as perfect reflectors of incoming light di
  9. Vedat, getting back to La Pergola… Perhaps “carpaccio of red beet and tuna with wasabi” – a millefeuille of fish fumé/wasabi gelatin and raw tuna, with marinated beet cubes on the side, and a piece of sticky-rice roll (stuffed with rectangular pieces of raw tuna and slightly acidic asparagus) clothed in a thin deep-fried layer – would be a good example of what I had in mind, incorporating both a contemporary flavoring of gelatin and an incoherent attempt at modern fusion cuisine. What meant to be a delicate dish invoking Asian motifs on the Italian ground turned into a juxtaposition of dilu
  10. Bux, I just read your review of Le Calandre. We seemed to have some of the same dishes. I’m glad you took pictures, which made me relive our meal, since we left our camera at the hotel by accident. I wouldn’t probably consider Cannellone an interesting dish if not for the olive oil Alajmo used in the tomato purée and as a splash on the plate – extracted from rossa olives, the oil is produced by the Alajmo family. Even the taste of fresh tomatoes in the purée couldn’t disguise the tomato flavor of a different nuance coming from the oil, delicate and flavorful. I believe Alajmo sells this oi
  11. Robert, I’m continuing my response on the French board, where this subject originated.
  12. I’m responding to Robert Brown’s post, initiated on the Italy thread, here. Robert, I think that tasting menus alone don’t prevent diners from excelling in learning about gastronomy. It is even possible to consider that tasting menus help establish a primary vocabulary, providing a certain level of comfort for beginners to familiarize themselves with a chef’s cuisine without much confusion or strain and before their “dining personalities” (that is, their preferences and abilities to traverse the carte and choose “winners”) has emerged. I remember that tasting was a preferable way for me so
  13. Bux, I’m glad you made it to Italy this year. I'm looking forward to reading your reports.
  14. John, thank you very much. The kid was not on the menu that day (the lamb was). I inquired about it and was told that the restaurant was not currently serving kid and that this dish was unavailable. However, when the time came for a meat course, we were served kid – a surprising gesture we greatly appreciated. The reason for my interest in the kid at Can Fabes was your original report, which made me want to try Santamaria’s sous vide interpretation. However, when I specifically asked whether the meat was cooked sous vide, I was told no, that the version we were served was roasted for thre
  15. Not only did my trip in late May/June present us with the opportunity to taste the same ingredients from different regions of Spain and Italy, both in their bare incarnation and transformed by the hands of creative chefs with different cultural backgrounds, but we were able to observe how controversies occupying the chefs’ minds – between the desire to be extravagant and the constraints imposed by the caution of tradition; between the instinct to wipe out the past and the nostalgia to preserve it; between the notion that cultivated taste does deserve to be heeded and the egalitarian idea that
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