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Everything posted by Lenski

  1. I also had lunch there last week. I have become a fan of "Roast Bone Marrow & Parsley Salad" a very good dish. We also had the "grilled sardines," which were fine, the "Peas in the pod" were ok, a tad boring. This was followed by a delicious "Roast Middlewhite and Braised Carrots" and the "Braised Rabbit and Onions." Both were superb. And although both waiters recommended the "Gooseberry Jelly and Shortbread" it was just ok for me and a not very imaginative "Strawberry, Meringue and Cream" was very good indeed. After having so-so experiences at "AD," "Maze," "River Café" and others, "St. John" has become my favorite restaurant in London, bar none.
  2. I will be a little blunt. Barcelona might be baby-friendly, but I do not think a nine-month baby would be welcome in the restaurants that you mention. First, I think that you will not enjoy your meal as you should and, secondly, if I am sitting in the restaurant the mere presence of a baby already (fill in the blank and preposition, multiple possibilities) my experience. You will get tons of devil eyes. And in Barcelona--and I think Europe, in general--good restaurants are for adults only, nothing ruins a meal faster than a baby behaving like a baby. Not his fault. Besides, Gresca and Saüc are smoker-friendly... Sorry, and I am glad that you ask, but customers and restaurant people really dislike babies in good restaurants and with good reason. I, honestly, find parents who take babies to good restaurants extremely selfish. Something's got to give, the baby or the good food. Scrooge
  3. Last year I had the pleasure to dine in all the restaurants that you have mentioned. I would choose Mugaritz, Can Roca and Etxebarri. You cannot go wrong with either. My last meals at Akelarre and Arzak were disappointing and just ok, respectively. ←
  4. Very good news indeed. The new restaurant will open at the end of this year or beginning of 2010. According to the press, the restaurant will serve New Catalan cuisine. This was the space that, for a long time, was rumored to be for the new Ducasse restaurant. I am a huge fan of Ruscalleda and I have always thought that she does not get enough credit outside of Catalunya. l Information here And here.
  5. I was wrong. I just checked and both Mugaritz and Arzak are open in August.
  6. Check if the restaurants are open during August. I doubt it since August is the month when Europe shuts down.
  7. People have their favorites so I am sure that you might get a long list. However, for me, not eating at Pinotxo at least twice in a week is as close to sacrilege as I get.
  8. Yep, that's the time we'll be there as well. Googling around, it seems that this is a constant problem at Arzak -- I'm not sure that a non-smoking section actually exists at all! I've now decided that I'm going to cancel, and I probably won't even bother replacing Arzak with any of the other big-hitters. San Sebastian has so much good food that I don't think I'll feel cheated. ← I really hate smoking in restaurants and, for a top restaurant, it is a shame. How can I enjoy my meal when someone is smoking next to me, breaking all the olfactory qualities of the dish and compromising my sense of smell? That is one of the reasons why I have problems enjoying pintxos in the Basque Country....too much smoke in those bars for me to enjoy. And it only gets worse in the winter months. However, Mugaritz is non-smoking.
  9. If interested in desserts, this is a must http://www.oriolbalaguer.com/
  10. L'Angle is inside a Hotel and the prices are relatively cheap. I honestly think that you can skip Berasategui and Espai Sucre and try something different.
  11. As an architect, it reminds me of some of the less successful "Neoclassical Post-Modern" work of folks like Bob Venturi were doing in the 80's. ← Absolutely. And I agree with you. It does not make sense from any point of view. As you mentioned in your last paragraph, we already know that he can cook, let alone copy a recipe. Both as a postmodern experiment and as an homage, it falls flat....and cannot be compared to Achatz's own creations.
  12. And I would gladly switch their places. If I had to compare my last two meals at both "Alinea" and "per Se," the former wins by a landslide. IMHO.
  13. I am very happy about "Celler" also....hopefully, they will get their third star soon.
  14. It missed the mark for me, but others might enjoy it. It did not do anything for me. And, to answer Ulterior Epicure's question, I think that any of Chef Achatz's creation is a lot better than the "Supremes de Pigeonneaux Saint Clair." I am not a culinary historian, and I am sure that Escoffier's creation was groundbreaking at the time, but would I expect Pollock to paint Seurat's "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte?" I would not. I prefer Chef Achatz's dazzling creativity and I go to Alinea to be dazzled and surprised, and this was just an attempt to show that he can pull off a classic? I have the feeling that Ecoffier would have loved Chef Achatz's creations, and he would have added "putain, c'est bon." I think the most offensive aspect was the wine glass, ugly, ugly. I was expecting a matronly lady telling me to be careful with that glass...It was very "Babette's Feast" all of a sudden. Now, it would be interesting to trace an ingredient, or a dish throughout the ages or across borders.
  15. I am sure that many of you have heard or seen the "Supremes de Pigeonneaux Saint Clair" that Alinea is now serving. In case you have not, here it is. It is just ok. I do not understand the reasoning behind putting it on the menu. It did not do anything for me and the old-fashioned cutlery and wine glass that accompanied the presentation seemed out of a Merchant-Ivory production just worsened it. It was like going to see the latest Adams Opera and find one of those endless Handel arias routinely sung stuck in the middle, and it was not "Ombra mai fù." Why? I do not know. It is curious since that was one of the two dishes that I felt missed the mark. I did not care for the "yolk" either. Among the many, many winners were the "roes" with traditional garnishes (Brioche foam), and the "Pork Belly" was outstanding: I did not care much for the lobster with popcorn, corn, mango curry, a dangerous butter spherification but I am in the minority: My favorites were the "white asparagus," the "lilac" and the pear (olive oil, black pepper, eucalyptus) topped with Murray River salt. Perfection in a bite: The "wagyu beef" with powdered A1, potato, and chips had the added trick of dry ice smoke. The kind they use in false volcanoes for the science project. The beef was outstanding but the rest was just fine. The smoke did not do much for me. The whole dish strongly reminded me of another chef... The desserts were better than I remembered from my last time, particularly the "rhubarb" with cotton candy, onion (red in different textures) and lavender air (they used the pillow thing filled with lavender aromatics). Incredible how well all the disparate elements worked. The "Chocolate" was just fine for me but the "kola nut" was outstanding. The place was packed (recession, hello?) which made me happy but a little too much movement for my taste....from now on I will try to avoid weekends at Alinea. Overall, it was another great night of dining but, truth be told, I have had better at Alinea and I am lucky to have had many.
  16. If you go to "www.informesemanal.tve.es" you will find a long video on the conference.
  17. That will teach me to read the menu more often and not ask for whatever the chef wants....not that I have ever been disappointed at Etxebarri.
  18. I had never seen (let alone eaten) the grilled egg yolk. I hope it is still on the menu a couple of months from now...
  19. Alan Richman has published "Kitchen Savant," an interesting article on Chef Carlson in the current issue of GQ.
  20. If you are proficient in Spanish, an interesting article from M/F2009 "Who's Afraid Of Science?"
  21. They did this year. They closed on December 21st (Sunday) and opened, I believe, on January 5th. I am not sure if they do it every year (I think I have been there closer to the NY, but I cannot tell for sure).
  22. Yes, it is a Carles Gaig restaurant. And yes I do. l Info here on Fonda Gaig
  23. I ate at many restaurants in and around Barcelona during the last 10 days. I had a great time, as usual. One of the restaurants, a relative newcomer, was “Fonda Gaig” and it was a great experience. For anyone who has never experienced Catalan cuisine, “Fonda Gaig” is a must-visit. Now, it is a no frills cuisine – a home cooking type of experience; Catalan ‘soul food’ if you will. I think the whole menu clearly encompasses the culinary DNA of Catalans. Among the outstanding dishes, “Tebi de pop amb millfulls de patata i mongetes” (Octopus with mongetes) and the classic “Macarrons del Cardenal,” typical Catalan fare but very good. We ended with “Trinxat de la Cerdanya,” (Amazing dish, I have a pic but it is blurry, but the cansalada was huge) “Vedella estofada” (Beef stew with Mushrooms). Once again, this restaurant is highly recommended if you want to try the fundamentals of Catalan cuisine. I also had another great meal at “Gresca.” This is my favorite bistronòmic in Barcelona. We had several dishes. A new one for me was the “Carpaccio de pop amb butifarra negra” that Mireia, a great hostess, highly recommended. It was the octopus layered amid the butifarra and mounted on a mousseline of potatoes. Very good. I visited Tapaç24, where I had a great “Escudella” and Chipirones. “Tapaç24” and “Paco Meralgo” are among my favorite tapas places in Barcelona, along with “Pinotxo” and “quimet” One night, after dinner, we visited “Moo” and we had desserts there. Truly spectacular, the ‘Trip to Havana’ is, in my opinion, one of the top desserts in Barcelona. There was also a fig and chocolate concoction that was incredible. Overall, this trip represented another great gastronomical tour. A few disappointments, but that is the way it goes. In less than a month I have eaten in Chicago, San Francisco, New York and now Barcelona. Time to give the liver a rest…until next week. I went to many restaurants but I only posted only about the ones that I enjoyed. I will also post a few comments in the Manairó and L’Angle threads separately (I visited both of these exceptional restaurants again during this trip). I still have not visited “Dos Cielos” but the buzz is getting stronger. Anyone? Questions? Ask Lenski
  24. Don't download it, it will soon be out on DVD. And you could ask for someone to tape it. I thought it was a riveting documentary. The night they are waiting for Bruni's review is priceless. And I have never understood why people allow themselves to be filmed while fighting. Talk about issues within that family. l
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