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Mar Calpena

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Everything posted by Mar Calpena

  1. Wow, thanks for answering sooooo quickly! You're a such a wonderful and helpful lot... Torrijos was already on my mind as well, and it's probably going to be either that orCa Sento on Friday evening and either Casa Montaña or El Tossal for lunch on Saturday- I'm a bit surprised by no mentions to La Sucursal, though... I thought it would come up, and was also considering it for Friday.
  2. Hi, folks. I am going to Valencia for a Conference on Thursday and may or may not go to Ca Sento (in one of the reviews in this forum someone mentioned you have to get on the good side of the maitre'd, and I'm not sure I want to go to a restaurant where it's not the maitre'd who has to get on my good side...). I'm looking for traditional places in central Valencia (mainly, the Carmen quarter), as I'll be fairly restricted in mobilty by several appointments. Thanks in advance for any suggestions! Mar
  3. Maybe I should be posting this in the cookbooks forum, but I think it belongs here (if there's a moderator in the room, please change it if this is the case) Phaidon has released "1080 recipes" by Simone Ortega in a luxurious, one volume edition, illustrated by Javier Mariscal and with an addendum of menus by famous chefs. When I first saw the enormous book in Frankfurt's book fair my first reaction was a (very loud for the place and occasion, I have to admit) WTF?! In my heart, Ortega's book is the kind that gets stained and loses its spine after a lot of use in a real kitchen, not something you'd be scared to open in fear of anything happening to it. Phaidon seem to have wanted to dress up an old workhorse (even though we are speaking about a very valuable one here!) as something fancy, and I'm not sure how foreign audiences will react to it, or whether we could say 1080 recipes actually portrays everyday Spanish food. But, then again I may be wrong... Here's a review from Slate about this. What do you guys think? Have you had a chance to take a deeper look to the English version? What would your number one choice in cookbooks be when introducing non Spaniards to Spanish food? Mar (Edited for typos)
  4. I have to attend a Congress in Valencia at the end of november, and I'm thinking having lunch at Ca' Sento. There seems to be a debate on this thread on choosing the degustation menu or making some informed choices... I will be traveling alone, so if I book I won't be able to pick and taste from someone else's plates. This obviously points me in the degustation menu direction, but considering I am not on a expense account and that, frankly, I'm making a bit of an effort to go there (and I DO want to drink wine), is a la carte a better idea for me? Excuse me for asking so bluntly...
  5. I am going to Frankfurt, too, next week (for the Book Fair). Could you recommend me good places near the fair grounds? (I know from experience that we are not going to want to venture very far out after a day's worth of walking around, but will want to eat something decent for dinner after the indignities of lunching at the fair) Thanks in advance!
  6. In Spanish, there's the proverb "passing cat as hare", meaning you are giving someone a fake instead of the real thing (preferably, when cooking). Anyway, get anywhere near my lovely kitten Christie with a knife and you are officially dead!!!!
  7. Hu, I've got so carried away I've posted my reply twice...
  8. Let me put it another way... if it kills you, it's not art (or food). It's poison. It's not stimuli to your senses. Music needn't be harmonic to exist, or painting figurative (or any of the two aesthetically pleasing, or at least in a conventional way, at that). But applied arts (aka crafts) need some sort of practical goal, whether it's creating a chair you can sit on or food that's digestable. And to me, trying to redefine Adria majestic craft as art somehow lessens it. He creates a magical effect out of existing elements (the food, the sorroundings at El Bulli, etc...) which still is edible! Its main purpose is not conveying a political agenda or a mood, although it can do all that, but ultimately it is to nourish and feed. Don't know, I've just got on let's-go-back-to-college, I-don't-believe-in-postmodernism, theoretical rambling mode! ←
  9. Let me put it another way... if it kills you, it's not art (or food). It's poison. It's not stimuli to your senses. Music needn't be harmonic to exist, or painting figurative (or any of the two aesthetically pleasing, or at least in a conventional way, at that). But applied arts (aka crafts) need some sort of practical goal, whether it's creating a chair you can sit on or food that's digestable. And to me, trying to redefine Adria majestic craft as art somehow lessens it. He creates a magical effect out of existing elements (the food, the sorroundings at El Bulli, etc...) which still is edible! Its main purpose is not conveying a political agenda or a mood, although it can do all that, but ultimately it is to nourish and feed. Don't know, I've just got on let's-go-back-to-college, theoretical rambling mode!
  10. I have to agree with Bourdain on the craft/art debate. While you can point at just anything and declare it "art", as Marcel Duchamp did with his ready mades, there's at least one technical limitation to food: it must be edible. Therefore, cooking is applied or decorative art, because ultimately there's no aesthetic pleasure to be found in cooking if the preparation renders the food unedible, no matter how elevated the idea it's meant to convey. Having said this, I think that the inclusion of Ferran Adria in Documenta should make us question what we define as art, not what we define as cooking.
  11. My brother went to eat to Manairó yesterday and he came back raving. He was so enthusiastic I was thinking of splashing out and going there next week. However, the reviews I've read are mixed... Fellow eGulleters, has any of you been there? I trust your opinions more than those of anonymous reviewers in other sites or, bless his generous soul, my not particularly gourmet brother! Mar
  12. This Sat the 30th. By all means stop by if you like. ← Grrrr... I'll probably be out of town this Saturday! Hate to miss that...
  13. Don't forget the classics: Leonardo's Kitchen notebooks is hard to beat when it comes to weirdness (hey, the fellow gives proper etiquette for poisoning other guests, invents a machine to chuck meat... from a live cow! and makes chairs out of marzipan. So much for becoming famous on one or two masterworks ). Also, I've been meaning to buy Last suppers: Famous final meals from the death row for a while, but it both intrigues me and creeps me out. Anyone read it?
  14. Hey, I'm really looking forward to getting some of your pasta! Drop us a line when you open, as I don't want to miss that! Mar By the way, whereas I'm linking this thread from my blog, is there somewhere where non English-speaking people could follow on the developments? If you are not already doing this from your respective blogs, would you mind if I asked you a few questions to write something longer (as I really think it would make a very interesting story to follow)? (EDITED FOR REALLY EMBARRASSING TYPOS!)
  15. Docs, Please stop posting those splendid cheese photos. Specially when I'm reading you at work just before lunch. My colleagues can tell I'm slacking by the roars from my stomach. Mar
  16. Who inspired you most in your decision to write of food? I picked a bargain edition of "Best food writing 2000" in a discount bookshop. It made me realise the variety and quality of (English language) modern food writing. A few years ago I left journalism for good, and decided that if wrote again it would be about a subject I was passionate about. What is it particularly that you write of within the wide-varied subject? My view is that of a passionate amateur. Tongue-in-cheek commentary on Spanish gastronomy, recipes, chronicles of my culinary mishaps, food as a metaphor of life... I'm more interested in what food means culturally, and how it shapes people's view of life than in dry handbook instructions. My voice is that of the average person on the street who likes to eat well, not the one of the fussy connoisseur. When did you take up the pen? I'm a journalist by trade, and I've always enjoyed writing about food and wine... As I said, when I changed jobs (I am now a comic books editor) I decided I had earnt my freedom to write about what I damn please. Where do you wish to publish your writings? Do you have any specific magazines/journals or publishers that you have an urge to present your work to for acceptance? Surprise, surprise: nowhere. You see, English is not my mother tongue, so I have to accept that my prose will never be good enough to grace the pages of Saveur or Gourmet. Spanish newspaper food sections are normally written by staff members and quite short at that, and Spanish food magazines are mostly devoted to recipes. There's one Catalan food magazine called Descobrir Cuina I'm very keen on, but it's not common practice in Spanish journalism to submit one's work out of the blue. So I guess I'll stick to my blog, which is written in Catalan, forever. I've earnt my living as a journalist for over a decade. Whereas I would love to make money out of my food writing (and could live with the exposure, too), I don't need it to believe in what I do. How do you hope to have your writings affect the world of food and people? If I make anyone smile, or think about the way they eat (or enrage them!) for five minutes of their life, I'm happy enough. Having said that, every time one of my readers leaves a positive comment I'm in heaven.
  17. Hi, James! I've recently renewed my subscription to Saveur (the digital edition, as the print one is too expensive for me and is bound to suffer the indignities of the Spanish post). Whereas I really enjoyed the article on the Basque country and felt it captured well both the atmosphere and the food of the area, I think most of your Spanish readers must have felt quite offended at one thing that appeared there. You mentioned ETA as a Basque separatist group that has "violent struggles" with the Spanish government. Excuse me, but they are a terrorist group, full stop. Last Christmas they put a bomb in Barajas airport that killed two innocent people, the last in a long list that spans 30 years. Calling it only a "separatist group" feels like excusing them for all this (there are other perfectly legitimate separatists groups that are not violent), and naming its manners "violent struggles" with the Government borders on the intolerable. Obviously, I enjoy the magazine far too much to cancel my subscription for this, as I've loved it for years and look forward to receiving every new issue. But let me just say that I was shocked by the expression, which none of the international news organizations or the UNO use anymore. Anyway, good luck on your new job! We'll keep a close eye on you! Mar (Edited for typos)
  18. Actually, paellas were originally served in the middle of the table, as they were peasant food that was often produced right by the orchard where those lovely vegetables came from (and those orange branches too). The other day I saw a tv show about Fallas (which is Valencia's best known celebration) and the host went to a small town in the region where paella was eaten just like this, from a common plate, and where Fallas are also celebrated. He looked somewhat shocked, and the people eating told him it was the best way to enjoy it, and that it encourages conversation and community. As for the proper way to prepare paella, there are always heated debates about what it should or should not have, to the point there's even a joke about it. I don't know where I read it, but it sure made me laugh: Two men need to cross a dark, forbidding forest. They have no compass, and wild animals are rumored to wander around the area. Their main concern, though, is not getting lost in the wilderness. The first one says "I'll take a rifle with me, so that if we have to face some danger we can always shoot. Maybe someone will hear us, or maybe we'll hunt something to eat." The second one says: "I'll take a camping stove, a paella pan, some rice, vegetables, water, oil and meat." The first one replies: "Are you so scared of starving to carry all this with you?" The second one replies: No! It's just that iif we get lost, I'll start preparing a paella and in five seconds flat there'll be twenty idiots peeping over my shoulder and telling me that IS NOT the proper way to do it."
  19. Ferran Adrià once suggested eating soft Jijona Turrón with a pinch salt. Most of my older relatives think this is disgusting, but I think it really brings out the almond flavor. Alicante makes hard turrón (praline-ish, nougat-ish type of thing), and Agramunt (in Catalonia) is also famous because these produce, and whereas it's not Denominación de Origen (D.O), it's Indicació Geogràfica Protegida (the Catalonia only equivalent). Turrones (or torrons, in Catalan) are mostly eaten in Christmas... Funnily enough, most of the industrially produced ones ALWAYS have expiration dates for November the following year (imagine why). I don't know if this has already been quoted here, but there's an official page for Jijona and Alicante turrón D.O. here and for museo del turrón. and this one for Agramunt.
  20. I really, really want to thank everyone who's contributed... I asked you for a few restaurants and you have given me an entire Dublin guide! I'll sure be trying some of those, and once again thanks, thanks, thanks! I had heard about Irish hospitality, but this a lot more I'll let you know how it goes. I'll probably be trying the Winding Stair one of the nights, as I want to eat in a mid-prize place at least once (that's what happens when one starts booking holidays as if there was no tomorrow...) Mar
  21. Yes, I had seen this thread. It looks really good and I'd probably try it back home, but as I hail from Barcelona I don't really want to eat tapas when I'm in Ireland... However, thanks
  22. Hi, everyone. I'm travelling to Dublin on April, 26th until the 29th. As this was a bit of an impromptu decision (a tempting aerlingus offer), I can't really afford going to very good places (read expensive), but I'd love to eat decently and, most definitely, not go the fast food route. If at all possible, I'd love to try traditional Irish food without going for broke. Also, I'd appreciate any advice on what foodstuffs I could take home with me from my visit. Thanks everyone in advance!
  23. No words to describe the stuff they sell... I can't possibly walk past them and not buy their ensaimades. I'd love to just move in there and spend my life eating their bread. Amazing.
  24. By the way, Bryan, when exactly are you coming over? Because it it's this weekend, I don't think you'll be able to find a place at Can Roca. There's a gastronomic fair in Girona beginning on Friday, so I should imagine that's where everyone will be heading for dinner...
  25. Mar Calpena


    Hi, Chris, what a gambes experience you had! Fishmongers at La Boqueria can be quite imposing, and your text reflects an ultimate reality about the stuff they sell: it's irregular. I know this is going to sound like heressy, as I am the first Boqueria lover in the city, and nothing beats this market for variety. But, and this is a big "but "to utter, it has its share of overpriced stuff. Most people who work there have first rate products and know them back to front, but all the better for them if they manage to sell that bruised mango or that not too fresh bunch of basil... I felt somewhat saddened by your description of Barri Gòtic. Now and then you'll see grafitti stating "Tourist, you are the terrorist" in the walls of streets like Boqueria or Avinyó. That kind of German (but they could have been from virtually anywhere) tourists has become all too common, whereas the traditional places that give Barcelona its charming give way to yet another Starbucks or another semialternative club geared towards Erasmus exchange students. I don't want to sound pessimistic or deterr anyone from coming over here. As I said, La Boqueria is still probably the best market anywhere, and Barri Gòtic has a lot of charm. But, just as your experience with gambes, it can give you quite a mixed feeling. Thanks for capturing it so well!
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