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  1. What a boring, tired cliché this 'service in Spain' thing is becoming... Of course bad service is a present-day bane - but all over the place, France included, not just in Spain! And - can any complaints be made about the service at Diverxo, Senzone, Kabuki Wellington, Etxebarri, and so many other restaurants that should have a Michelin star (or more) if the same standards were applied to Spain as to, say, Tokyo or Las Vegas? Certainly not! ← I wish it was just a cliché. And I'm not the only person who does. I've been on the receiving end of shockingly bad service in two one starred places in Spain in the last year. (I should also add that I've received some excellent service in other starred and non starred restaurants.) Michelin awards its first star pretty much for food. With the second and the third, decor, placement, service etc come into play much more. There would be an awful lot more Michelin stars in Spain if the service was as good - half as good, even - as the food. .
  2. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. All you need to know about what should and shouldn't go into Spanish gazpacho.
  3. I put it down to sloppy - and sometimes just plain bad - service.
  4. I think Coure deserves a star.
  5. Can anyone tell me anything about Devon House, a nouvelle Jamaican (?) place that I understand was on Madison Avenue (at 93rd Street) in the early/mid eighties? I'm working on something very eighties...
  6. Congratulations - it's just arrived and looks great. A late night platter of canned sardines, avocados, and pickled sliced chiles at the Opera Bar in Mexico City is very appealing. As is the recipe for Anasazi Cowboy Chili with Buffalo and Nopales - I have direct access to cactus but have never cooked with it. I'm really looking forward to this.
  7. Not forgetting my Brutish collaborators, Malcolm Bennett and Aidan Hughes, yes, I am the author of Daft About Lager. The book was published in 1989 and my overriding memory of it is going to the Penguin offices in Kensington twice a week in a cab to pick up the many, many cases of lager we were sent, and then paying for the cab with the likes of Tennants Super or the particularly horrible Kestrel (remember that?) equivalent. It's very nice to know that you were thinking about it and consider it irreplaceable.
  8. It's a recipe book, but we've listed substitutions if you can't find that exact bean. The introduction is by Thomas Keller of the French Laundry. I thought I'd give him a break and help him out with a little promotion! Some of the recipes are from my restaurant customers like Manresa, Range, Blue Hill at Stonebarns and some are original, from my kitchen and some by Vanessa Barrington. We chose not to make it Mexican even though there is a lot of Mexican and Latin included. There's a lot of theory on cooking beans (including The Parson's Method from our own Russ) and an entry on how to reinvent a pot of beans. I'm pretty pleased with the way it came out. Amazon seems nutty today but it's on Barnes and Noble and smaller bookstores seem to have it already. ← I just ordered a copy through amazon.co.uk You try my beans, I'll try yours.
  9. If I'm not too late, you have to go to Mesón Juan Peña.
  10. Pacomeralgo is good. And I'm pretty sure Moo (one michelin star?) at the Omm (spelling?) hotel is open. There's an 'open on Sunday' section in La Guia.
  11. 1080 Recetas was first published in 1972, the height of the formation of the Spanish middle class. At that time people were doing what we would now consider to be some pretty crazy things in the kitchen. Things, for example, like substituting olive oil for the more expensive and aspirant northern European butter and/or sunflower oil. I've just noticed that Amazon says 1080 Recetas is '... the definitive book on traditional and authentic Spanish home cooking' and posts the book's recipe for chorizo y patatas as - presumably - an example of this. '3 tablespoons butter or 4 tablespoons lard, 5 tablespoons sunflower oil'. You'd be very hard pushed to find anyone who makes chorizo y patatas like this nowadays. And no one would have made it this way before 1968 or thereabouts. 1080 Recetas is a lovely book, a lovely memento of a bygone age.
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