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Pablo Carrion

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Posts posted by Pablo Carrion

  1. Kimmo is a new ballsy chef in town. I just met him but I already know he is great cook and a greater person.

    You could'nt come up with his background even if you tried: Finnish by origin, he spent a stretch of time in Central America, cooked his way through some of the best kitchens in Berkley CA, he married a lovely New Hampshire girl, with whom he and has now landed straight into the brutal heart of Madrid.

    And we do know how brutal Madrid can be.

    His (and his patron's) is one of the bravest attempts to morph a traditional spanish tapas bar into a locally sourced menu based on top notch seasonal products that are treated with a lively and fresh approach definitley infused by the Berkley style, using combinations and condiments that veer away from the traditional spanish tastes: pretty much keep the base products that the local clients are accustomed to but take it up a notch.

    It is brave in that the restaurant is relying on the clients recognition of this talent and effort without the establishment making any real noise over it. The kitchen will shine through appears to be Kimmo's and the general mood here. This is not to say that the staff dont match the level of the food, as there is a sense that, subdued and modest as the place may be, there is a down to earthness and harmonious feeling that gives an impression that this operation is well oiled despite its youth.

    Just last night as highlights we enjoyed a delicious and intense spicy squid tomato bruschetta, a hearty pot of mussels cooked with garbanzo beans and chorizo, sweet fresh cod on a bed of spinach in a grapefruit beurre blanc sauce (incredibly good), beautiful sliced beef with cabbage and crumbled blue cheese accompanied by roasted sliced potatoes (with the skin kept on, you would think a simple detail but actually quite a rare treat in Spain). Talk about croquetas to Kimmo and he cringes...he didnt manage to get rid of them on the menu, but if you order them (accompanied by a sweet tomato dipping sauce) and bite into one you'll realise that he has reengineered them away from the classic jamon and bechamel into something quite more special.

    The desserts are few but very well executed. Apparently the chocolate cake is famous although I decline towards the creamy flan with biscuit base. Simple yet perfect.

    He's kept many of the dishes as starter or tapas, which means that, together with Doña Antonia's cosy but informal setting, you can enjoy tasting a greater variety of them.

    If you go there and check it out, you will most likely see Kimmo at some point, as he hits the dining area from time to time to see the reactions the clients are having to his bold new way of cooking.

    I'm hoping he'll get those reactions he is loooking for.

    Doña Antonia

    Calle de Huertas 4

    TF: 91 1568208

  2. That's really a shame. I can only relate to her as I also closed my restaurant

    in december after battling with the council for over 4 years.

    We often discussed the difficulties we each had and tried to mutually boost morale.

    Recently serge and maria have also closed pancake. Too bad how inept the local govt is here.

    It really makes you want to take your business elsewhere.

    The Madrid municipal government is a total disgrace with their attitude to restaurants and gastronomy-at-large. They persecute people who are prime movers of tourism and business income for this city. Miraculously, Diverxo has been able to overcome its own massive problems with City Hall and to move to its new location. Meanwhile, Sudestada not only is prevented from moving to its new premises but is slapped with a huge fine for having stayed open too late one night. I'm sorry to see Karen give up. She was an asset to this city

    For Spanish readers, here's what we recently had to say about this unholy mess:


  3. In Madrid also the newly reopened Mercado de San Miguel for luxury specialities and good tapas by the way.


    In San Sebastian the basement level of the Mercado de la Brexa especially for fish & seafood


    In Denia the Mercado Municipal has great products and you cant miss out on the Lonja ( fish and seafood auction market)


  4. i have to agree mostly with that point, and if not try being on a vegetarian diet in spain... you will really get to know the ensalada mixta crossed with its asparagus (and make sure they hold the tuna and the eggs, please!), patatas bravas, pimientos...beyond that you better start closely interrogating the staff as to the menestra sauteed with ham, ditto the beans, peas or artichokes...which could be lireally swimming in pork fat... to give it flavour...

    Ok I may be exagerating, and one exception would be the grilled vegetable plate which is most often a delight.

    However, I ceratinly believe that we dont do as much justice as we could in the kitchen when it comes to the extraordinary vegetables that are available throughout spain.

    And I believe that its the case in general with local vegetables, not only in this country.

  5. thats too bad...why vegetables are too often limited to a garnish or as second place to the usual lineups of animal protein obsessed dishes, unsurprisingly resulting in heavy menus, is beyond me...if it were up to me, i would bias towards a delicately selected and cooked menu protagonised by the seasonal vegetable department, while maintaining the richness of few animal cuts. the same could be said for cereals, in particular wholegrains.

    but that is only my personal perspective and choice...

  6. These are EL MUNDO´s Metropoli recently released culinary awards for 2007:

    Restaurant of the year


    Finalists: DIVERXO, ZARANDA

    Top newcomer restaurants of the year


    Top traditional restaurant


    Finalists: JOTA CINCO, ZORZAL

    Top out of town restaurant

    VILLENA (Segovia)

    Finalists: LA PARTIDA (Villanueva de la Cañada), R DEL CALLE (Aranjuez)

    Top foreign cuisine restaurant



    Top more than a restaurant


    Finalists: ALBOROQUE, SULA

    Top up and coming chef

    FERNANDO DEL CERRO (Casa Jose, Aranjuez)

    Finalists: CESAR MARTIN (Balzac), DIEGO GUERRERO (Club Allard)

    Top sommelier

    RUT COTRONEO (Senzone)

    Finalists: OSCAR LOPEZ (Alboroque), DAVID ROBLEDO (Santceloni)

    Top maitre d'


    Finalists: ISAAC GARCIA MESONERO (Gaztelupe), RAFAEL LOMAS (Lagrimas Negras)

    Top tapas or wine bar



    Top decoration



    Top gourmet shop



    Honorary awards

    Madrid: CUSTODIO ZAMARRA (Zalacain´s sommelier)

    Spain: LOLITA Y PAQUITA REXACH (Hispania)

    Worldwide: JACQUES MAXIMIN (Ex chef Table d'Ámis)

  7. Finally managed to make it here and had a great meal. Feel very foolish that it's taken me so long. Anyway, click here for pics.

    Theres something genuinely evil about Etxebarri in that it keeps me from trying other places, I just keep wanting to go back there...I see some updates on the menu, so Ill just have to back once again.

  8. On Saturday I went back to el Riscal to taste their ox meat again, first as a delicious carpaccio and then sliced quite thinly, across the grain, to cook on the dreaded hot plate. We then tasted another cut, which was slightly thicker and even more tender. The meat looked like the best jamon iberico or kobe, vibrant in colour and very well veined with fat. It was so good that I ate it practically raw.

  9. El Capricho is a very idiosyncratic restaurant located in Jimenez de Jamuz, a little village in the middle of nowhere in León. They search working animals from all around the iberian peninsule, mainly Galicia and Portugal. They do sacrifice oxen twice a year, the rest of the year they have old cows from different ages and origins.

    This said, the worst part at El Capricho is their cooking technique, they roast the ox ribs over a charcoal grill for a few minutes and then they serve them with an oven heated clay dish so you can finish the cooking on the table. A technicke that doresn't satisfy me at all.

    At El Capricho they do have the best product, but the worst technique. One can only imagine what Matías Gorrochategui, Antonio Zaldúa or Bittor Arguinzoniz would have donme with these animals.

    Lydia Itoi has also written about this restaurant on Time Magazine, special mention for the pictures illustratig the article.

    Similar to El Capricho, with real oxen, though not as older as the ones from León is El Riscal in Carbonero El Mayor another little village in Segovia.

    I would ban the hot plate concept altogether (just kidding...not!), best way to ruin meat, easiest way to overcook it and end up boiling it, and come out smelling like a greasy spoon...ill take a master grilling it expertly for me over charcoal any day over that.

  10. This place is interesting, http://www.elriscal.com/index1.htm

    they rear their own oxen, feed them with grain and alcohol, not quite Kobe, but very good. Unfortunately in the restaurant they only offer slices of lomo de buey cooked at the table on hot earthenware plates, so you dont get to have the rib steak, which would probably be delicious.

    Bedua also serves very good chuleta http://www.bedua.es/ and so does Epeleta http://www.elanuario.net/idEmpresa/55760/ficha.asp

    but then there are so many great asadores up there.

  11. I think you are right for the majority of sales, bread is a democratic buy most of the time. However, a lesser % of the time it is a specialty buy, and times are changing over here, you can see that from the amount of specialty shops cropping about. Of course lets see how many of them make it through the first year, and much will be up to the quality and uniqueness of their produce and service.

    I wish we got more of the regional breads you mention in Madrid. Whilst a democratic loaf will always be price oriented, I quite welcome some quality competition to the faux artisanal and frozen bread so many of the industrialized bakery chains are offering, some of them not so cheap either. I think there is certainly a growing market for really good stuff, both here and over in other markets like the US, if not ask Sergi, he's had to instigate a croissant quotia (as Mark did with his bread) and he's already thinking of moving the bakery to another location to deal with the demand he's had in the 6 months he's been open for.

  12. It is really much appreciated.

    When Mark Furstenburg was over here, we discussed the need for good bread in Madrid, and how interesting it would be to recover some good traditional breads, such as Galician, Zamoran, Levantin recipes.

    I also think Delipanific is above average although they told me their doughs are brought frozen from France, and the baguette is really quite average. I liked their Campagne better the last time I was there, however Pan.Cake is in another league, in my opinion. Their croissants are also the best I have had outside of france.

    There is another place off calle mayor, close to plaza Herradores that does good galician hogaza and empanadas, and quadrapanis and Viena la baguette are also above average.

    Viena Capellanes featured a very good ancienne type baguette made with a swiss patent, I think it was called pain paillase, but I think they stopped selling it. This was hands down the best baguette I had in Madrid at the time.

  13. After spotting this week's Metropoli review of Pan.Cake http://www.elmundo.es/metropoli/2008/01/03...1199353350.html

    a relatively new bakery/pastry shop on Castelló, I stopped by and met Sergi and tried his creations. Good bread is much needed in Madrid and Im happy to say, in my opinion, Sergi is a 1st class chef baker making the real real stuff along with delicious croissants and brioches... on top of it, he's using organic flour.

    I still have to try out Maria's pastries and chocolates, but Im sure I won't be disappointed.

  14. interesting, thanks! looks like ill be sticking mostly to tasting bourgognes, then. out of interest ill try to get my hands on the catalan reds anyway.

  15. i found two PN reds, can rafols del caus 2001 and torres PN 2005, apparently Penedes is the PN region in Spain, although it appears to be rare.

  16. For a couple of days, yesterday and today, Juan Cuevas from Blue Hill NYC and Fernando del Cerro, the young chef of Casa José in Aranjuez (Madrid), will be cooking at Casa José. Later in August, the del Cerro family will go to NY where Fernando will cook both at Blue Hill NYC and Stone Barn with Juan Cuevas and Dan Barber.

    Yesterday night, a tuesday in July in Aranjuez, the dining room was packed with people who came from Madrid, Juan and Fernando were excited and happy as two children and the menu was balanced and well conceived, with an exceptional carré of lamb over purée of aubergines trademark of Juan.

    The beginning of all this goes back to 2006, when Bux introduced Juan Cuevas to vserna and gave him notice of his attending to Madrid Fusión and Víctor took Juan for dinner at Casa José. Good for all of them!

    I just had a terrific meal at Casa Jose and chatted with Fernando about local products from the Aranjuez area. He tells me that many of the vegetable gardens from where he gets his excellent seasonal artichokes, leeks, etc. have been around since Carlos III set about establishing Aranjuez as the major vegetable and fruit orchard in the 1700´s.

    What a great experience...

  17. Andra Mari is definitely next on my list.

    If you take the "tasting" menu at Victor he serves half portions of most of the menu and charges half the dish price. I think we paid 145/head, including the 7 courses, 3 different wines, desserts, and of course the caviar will make it a bit more expensive...but well worth it!!

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