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Everything posted by AlexForbes

  1. Last weekend, the last tapas were served at Barcelona’s Bar Inopia, co-owned by Albert Adrià – but he’s been too busy working on another project to mourn over the closing (the place will soon reopen under a new name, Lolita). Albert is opening with brother Ferran Adrià a restaurant, also in Barcelona. According to Pau Arenós, one of Spain’s top restaurant critics, wrote in Friday’s El Periodico newspaper: “Albert in October will cut the ribbon of the new business, in association with Ferran and the Iglesias brothers, Pedro, Borja and Juan Carlos, owners of Rías de Galicia. He says “It’s in the Paral-lel district and still does not have a name. It will measure 300 square meters and have four bars. One will serve fried foods, shellfish and ham. Another, montaditos. The third will be a parrilla and there’s also one for desserts, very important”". Arenós, always one to coin new terms, says Albert plans to devote half a year of intensive work to the “hipertapería”. Click here to read the full article, in Spanish.
  2. I just read a blog post on New York blog Grubstreet about Anthony Bourdain's new book Medium Raw, which will be released in June. The post includes quotes taken from the book in which Bourdain, in his typically ultrahonest and harsh style, minces no words and bashes Gael Greene (favourite subject is herself), Ducasse (killed haute cuisine in the US), Alinea (where dining is a joyless experience), etc. I was laughing outloud as I read this, I must admit. My favourite quote? "James Beard House (...)provides comfort and succor and the illusion of importance to a bunch of supremely irrelevant old fucks". I kinda agree, to be honest... I just had to share the link...
  3. Just had the most amazing dinner at Quique Dacosta in Denia and was very surprised not to find a topic dedicated to the place other than an ancient one that still bears the old name it had, El Poblet. How come?! Has anyone been recently? Comments??
  4. You can always count on the brothers Ferran and Albert Adrià to pull a surprising new move without doing much explaining.... 41 Grados, the funky and avant-garde "bar" which served up until recently the brothers’ Bulli-style “snacks” and iconoclast drinks, is no more. After being open for only a few months, it has ceased to exist in its original form and has quietly “morphed” into a tiny urban El-Bulli-type restaurant, which opened a few days ago (Oct 18 to be exact). This new 41 Grados is not similar to Tickets, the brothers’ contemporary “tapas bar” next door, but much more ambitious in its gastronomic explorations. Diners – a mere 14 lucky few of them – will be served a succession of 41 courses. Albert Adrià has been feverishly working on the menu for several months and is visibly excited to be going back to creating whatever wild stuff comes to his mind. He’s even designed the tableware to match the new “dishes”. Older brother Ferran being too busy touring the world as the face of giant Telefonica as well as attending to several other engagements, such as promotional events for his latest book, Albert is clearly the one running the 41 Grados show. As was customary at El Bulli, reservations for 41 Grados are only taken online, by email (experience@41grados.es). There is, however, an additional hurdle: tables are only available for even numbers of diners (no solo critics allowed, therefore): either two or four. I went there 2 nights ago and all I can say is..... BOOK NOW! Amazing.
  5. Judging by how famous chef Kylie Kwong is in her native Australia (she's written a series of cookbooks and done a few TV series too, apart from owning the famed Billy Kwong restaurant), I am surprised that I can't seem to find any comprehensive reports of a dinner at Billy Kwong. How Chinese is the food? Is it merely Chinese-inspired? Has anyone been, lately? I might share with all of you a link to a profile of chef Kwong published in the Sydney Morning Herald. And here is a nice set of photos of dishes, posted on Flickr, though they were taken back in 2007....
  6. AlexForbes

    El Bulli 2010

    This is the end... Just had dinner at El Bulli (May 19) and felt ecstatic and sad at the same time. I made a video of my dinner, as a souvenir and an homage:
  7. Just got back from Barcelona and Spanielking the answer is YES - you need a reservation in both cases, so you can't go to Tickets and then just wanter into 41o. 41o has a street entrance but can also be accessed via Tickets but no matter: you need a booking all the same, as this is a bar where ppl are not allowed to stand, meaning only those w a booked seat are allowed in. I tasted a few bites (amazing) and a few drinks (also amazing) at 41o, then, thanks to a friend who'd snagged a rezy, moved on to Tickets for dinner. More on that as soon as I edit the photos!
  8. First of all, I know that theoretically this topic should be filed under food periodicals, but.... Restaurant Magazine's annual ranking of the world's top restaurants is very much a British thing. British magazine, big awards ceremony in London on Monday, Heston Blumenthal of The Fat Duck usually #1 or #2 (although who knows how the recent mishap might have affected his "handicap"...) So I started the topic here. "Best of" lists are love-hate affairs, and as soon as they come out there are legions of bloggers and journalists who criticize them. But, like it or not, the fact is the list has become very well-known and respected around the world. The magazine's PR people have been feeding the press (i.e. me) with little tidbits to keep us salivating for more. First, we learned that Robuchon will go up on stage at the Freemason's Hall on Monday to pick up a Lifetime Achievement award. Today, I got another press release. A juicier one at that. It says "The votes have been counted, the flights have been booked and the chefs are heading to London to hear the results. The S.Pellegrino World`s 50 Best Restaurants Awards take place in London on Monday 21 April 2008. It`s the biggest chefs night off of the year.This year a host of new talent finds itself on to the list, who will have made way for the 9 newcomers?" so... who wants to start guessing who's been dropped off the list? I'll get the results as soon as they're out Mon night, via Twitter, and post here. Let the discussion begin!
  9. So Jason Atherton is opening his Pollen Street Social in London. It'll be right behind the Apple store on Regent Street, on, obviously, Pollen Street. Sounds like he's trying to do something very different than what he became known for while working for Ramsay. Does anyone have details? Seems like the opening has been delayed to mid-April, although they're taking table reservations starting March 31... Here, the location on Google Maps. And here, the chef's official website.
  10. AlexForbes

    Santi Santamaria dies

    Here is the news, in Spanish, in EL PAIS newspaper. I still don't get what caused the death. And at such a young age!
  11. I've been trying to do some research on Yam'Tcha, the tiny and hard-to-define restaurant owned by Adeline Grattard (ex-L'Astrance) and I've been surprised by how little info there is about the restaurant here on e-Gullet. Wonder why... From what I have found online, her cuisine is far from the stereotypical Cantonese fat/calorie bomb, and seems delicate and dainty, the ingredients barely messed with. Fooding has said "not only does (the food) look like nothing you've known before, but what's more, it sends you straight on a trip to thousands of kilometers away without ever leaving your seat". Fraçois Simon called his meal there "impeccable", and the restaurant, "one of the hits of this Spring" (he referred to spring '09) Has anyone been recently? Any photos to share? thanks! Yam'Tcha: 4, rue Sauval ( closed Mon and Tue. Set Menus 30 euros at lunch, 45 + 65 at dinner.
  12. I really need to find out if La Montée still offers a large variety of cheeses as it did in the beginning. I know the focus is not on cheese anymore but... has anyone eaten there recently? Can anyone tell me if they still offer a solid cheese board with at least 5 cheeses? Thanks!
  13. AlexForbes

    Dos Cielos

    Ochowie, I also tried Dos Cielos, and I was also very impressed. What a restaurant! I loved that the twin chefs were both in the kitchen - they even took my order!! - and I loved that all the amazing breads are baked in-house. I went for lunch with two fellow foodies and had the tasting menu, which was faultless from beginning to end. Very interesting wine pairings, too. The full report with dish-by-dish photos is on my blog (here's the link). Although it's in Portuguese, you can just have a look at the amuses, dishes, cheese cart and breads, and it's pretty clear that the Torres brothers aren't messing about... I fully recommend Dos Cielos, despite the odd location, in a business district away from the more touristed areas.
  14. AlexForbes

    El Bulli 2010

    O.K., so.... I can finally say I've had dinner at El Bulli. While I was there, I almost had to pinch myself at times to make sure I wasn't dreaming! I've come away from the experience changed, in a way. That's how much it impacted me. I tried to transmit what I saw, tasted and felt during the 5-hour long dinner in a video, which I've posted on this link. I really hope it will transport you to that wondrous night, in that wondrous place. And I also spoke to Ferran at length after dinner, about the huge changes that are in the plans (last service EVER will be on July 31, 2011). I've got a video of that, too, but the chef is speaking in a mix of French and Spanish....
  15. AlexForbes

    El Celler de Can Roca

    Just had a (5-hour long!) lunch at Can Roca and all I can say is WOW WOW WOW. One of the best meals of my life. Will post a full report as soon as I have time, but for now, the dish-by-dish post is on my blog, w names and pics of all the dishes... Amazing! Can Roca report
  16. Hi Chris, the location is Paral lel (near the subway station with that same name) but I don't know the street name or anything. Albert told a common friend that they'll first open a cocktail bar, as early as Oct or Nov, and then the actual "tapas bar" in January 2011.... I was at El Bulli recently and spoke to Ferran about it and he told me he and Albert are at this very moment very busy brainstorming what they'll have on the menu, doing tests, etc. They will be more involved now, before the place opens, than afterwards, since they won't actually run the place themselves, only supervise.
  17. UPDATE! After talking to Albert Adrià himself, and also Ferran, I found out the opening has been postponed until January 2011. Their "avant-garde tapas" place will be in the Paral-lel area of Barcelona.
  18. A few hours and two dozen websites later, an "a-ha moment": e-gullet's own John Talbot has also written a few lines about Yam Tcha, posted on his site back in early 09 (meaningful in case of a new restaurant). I love his economy w words: "tea pairings (...) are delivered with a mini-lecture by Chiwah Chan, the husband of the chef – one Adeline Grattard who worked at the Aleno-era Scribe + l’Astrance under Barbot. I’d asked several friends/critics/etc if this was Asian or fusion or world food and been told it was Asian-inspired and it is." A lesson in apt summarizing!
  19. Meg, I clicked on the link to your Paris by Mouth collaborative site and.... WOW! What a genius idea, and what great content and look! Congrats! The only thing I missed was a search that would allow me simply to type in Yam Tcha... Boston, thanks for the feedback. The Hong Kong link, if I'm not mistaken, is that chef Grattard's husband is from there. Now, back to YamTcha: yes, I know it is a pain to book a table there for my own experience, as well as several Brazilian friends'. But hey, that never hurt a restaurant, right? Maybe even adds to the "I want to see this for myself" factor. Through the Paris by Mouth site I ended up finding an excellent dish-by-dish report with photos, but it's in French. here's the link.
  20. AlexForbes

    El Bulli 2010

    Victornet and KennethT, thanks a million for the tips! Will post full report here after I return from Roses. Can't wait!
  21. Fairfranco, pasteis de Belem are a famous variant of Portugal's national pastry, the pastel de nata. Sort of like the donut to Americans: they're EVERYWHERE. The pasteis de Belem are said to be so much better, blah blah blah, and so this ancient old pastry shop that makes them - the ONLY one allowed to sell pasteis de Belem, which have a sort of D.O.C. protection - expanded into what looks like a whole block of houses they've joined together to make room for the hordes of tourists that go there to try the famous little custard tarts. The recipe is "a secret", of course, so no amount of Googling will ever tell you if the dough is philo or milles-feuilles. To me, it seems like philo which is then somehow fried or put on a hot plancha to become extra crunchy and golden-brown. Delicious but very very fatty. They sell thousands of them a day. But IMO, a fresh, well-made pastel de nata still warm from the oven is just as good, and less greasy. This is all, of course, VERY off-topic! Now, back to Kathryn's account of her Spanish dining tour de force.
  22. Hi Kathryn, I've been reading your posts of your trip to Spain with relish. I'll be in Barcelona in September, so all this info is very useful. Last time I ate at Inopia it had just opened, and I didn't wait one minute. It was amazing, and by the sounds of it, has only gotten better w time! Question: when exactly did you go on this trip, or are you still in Spain?
  23. Kropotkin, very interesting topic of study! I am actually researching something that is quite different yet has a slight overlap: a new trend in gastronomy that has been coined neonaturalismo. The return to nature, to one's terroir. The main names associated with this trend are Rene Redzepi of Noma (Denmark), Albert Adria, formerly of El Bulli, and Andoni Aduriz, but several other "tecnoemotional"chefs play with the idea and go very far in researching their terroirs, in an almost philosophical sense. To answer one of your questions above, YES, the 2 Roca brothers Joan and Jordi do indeed toy with memory and landscapes in their cuisine. The most obvious example is their unique technique of distilling earth. Yes, earth from their own garden. Google it and you'll see what I mean. other than that, you are in good hands in this forum. Rogelio, Pedro and other Spanish egulleters are quite the pros. cheers
  24. I'd like to reinforce Austepicure's question: has anyone been to the "new" Mugaritz? I am curious to know how much it has changed... thanks!
  25. AlexForbes

    El Bulli 2010

    First of all, let me just say a HUGE thank you to Victornet, I know how much work it is to upload photos of long dinners, dish-by-dish! Victornet, these are so useful, thanks for posting! As for El Bulli, guess what.... I got a reservation!!! U-huuuuuuu! So I'm flying from Montreal to eat there in September, w a fellow foodie and now we're trying to figure out where to spend the night. I did read LesleyC's recommendation: BUT..... I'm thinking this is too far from Roses. And, frankly, I'm not going there to hang out and enjoy the scenery, I just want a comfortable enough little hotel as close as possible to El BUlli and rafa's. Suggestions?