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Everything posted by vserna

  1. Tell me one better 3-star restaurant in France. I don't know any...
  2. In chronological order, with the chefs: Juan Mari Arzak (Arzak, San Sebastián) Santi Santamaría (Can Fabes, Sant Celoni) Ferran Adriá (El Bulli, Rosas) Martín Berasategui (Martín Berasategui, Lasarte) Carme Ruscalleda (Sant Pau, Sant Pol de Mar) Pedro Subijana (Akelarre, San Sebastián) Joan Roca (Can Roca, Girona)
  3. In addition to the absurdly belated third star for Can Roca, Michelin has been unusually generous this year in recognizing the Spanish restaurant scene, which it usually pooh-poohs... Also notable, a series of promotions in Madrid and the fact that Michelin's inspectors have suddenly discovered the existence, lo and behold, of Etxebarri. Here's a brief rundown of the new ratings as revealed last night in Madrid. From two to three stars: Can Roca, Girona. From one to two stars: Casa Marcial in Arriondas (Asturias), Lasarte, the Martín Berasategui branch in Barcelona, La Terraza del Casino in Madrid and Les Cols in Olot (Girona). From no stars to one star: Etxebarri in Axpe (Vizcaya), La Enoteca of Hotel Arts in Barcelona, A Estación in Cambre (La Coruña), M.B., the Martín Berasategui branch in Guía de Isora (Tenerife), Bo.Tic in Corça (Girona), Julio in Fontanar dels Alforins (Valencia), La Fonda Xesc in Gombrèn (Girona), Cocinandos ine León, As Garzas in Malpica (A Coruña), La Cabaña de la Finca Buenavista in El Palmar (Murcia), Alejandro in Roquetas del Mar (Almería), El Torreó de L'India in Xerta (Tarragona), La Broche in Madrid, DiverXO in Madrid, Kabuki Wellington in Madrid and Ramon Freixa in Madrid. From two stars to one star: Tristán in Portals Nous (Mallorca). From one star to no stars: Kursaal in San Sebastián, Gallery Arts & Food in Gijón, Lillas Pastia in Huesca, El Chaflán in Madrid, Solar de Puebla in Santa Cruz De Bezana (Cantabria), Read's in Santa María del Camí (Mallorca), La Taberna de Rotilio in Sanxenxo (Pontevedra) and Alejandro del Toro in Valencia.
  4. 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: http://elmundovino.elmundo.es/elmundovino/...icia=1242117837
  5. What no one has explained to stereoboard is that these are not 'early morning markets' or 'farmers' markets', but fulltime, permanent covered markets opening six days a week - a Spanish specialty that is not quite like any other version. La Boquería in Barcelona is the most famous one, and overall the best one (with such unique stalls as the Petras wild mushroom stall, http://www.boletspetras.com/) , but the city with the greatest wealth in covered markets is Madrid. Not just the outstanding ones already mentioned (Chamartín is the best one, with the top seafood stall in Spain, Ernesto Prieto, http://www.ernestoprieto.com/, and one of the top butchers in Spain, Raza Nostra, http://www.razanostra.com/default.htm), but even smaller ones can be outstanding. Two good examples are to be found on the same street in Madrid's Chamberí district, Alonso Cano. The larger Chamberí market (Alonso Cano 10) has outstanding vegetable stalls (including a growing array of exotic produce - a reflection of the increase in the immigrant population), three good fishmongers with the new El Señor Martín really standing out, and a surprising cheese and sausage stall, Jamonería Castellana, offering from three or four different Spanish and Portuguese 'tortas' to... New York pastrami. At Alonso Cano 77, four blocks away, the smaller Galería Comercial has one of the best seafood stalls in Madrid. Unfortunately, the covered markets are slowly dying (hence the shrinking La Bretxa): stall owners retire at age 65, no younger people (including their children) take over because it's hard work and not too profitable, and one stall after the other closes - modern hypermarkets and supermarkets progressively take over.
  6. Gyozas, dim sum, Vietnamese rolls... These were all born on Asia's streets!
  7. Dos Palillos is a terrific combination of two philosophies - Asian street food and Spanish tapas. No, it isn't wildly cutting edge, but it doesn't pretend to be. Excellent wine list. Go to the bar and order à la carte. Coure is another outstanding (and great QPR) Barcelona restaurant that never gets written up here. Very unassuming but very professional, and they know how to find (particularly) great fish and how to prepare and present it.
  8. Well, it's interesting that no one even thinks of eating anything but Spanish cuisine - whether traditional or Adriaesque - when in Spain! It's a tribute to the newfound international respect for Spanish cuisine, certainly, and that's a positive sign. But sometimes there are some non-Spanish places of great interest around. They can be interesting and sometimes even exciting (particularly if one is here for more than a couple of days and in no need to cram 'the Spanish culinary experience' in a couple of meals). But of course I'm thinking of more personal places, like Dos Palillos in Barcelona or Sudestada and Diverxo in Madrid, not of pizza, which will always be pizza... with one great exception: Fabián Martín's pizza mecca in Llivia, on the France-Spain border in the middle of the Pyreneees mountains, which is to modern pizza what Etxebarri is to modern grill techniques... Spain's international restaurant scene is much richer these days than it used to be, and it includes a number of cuisines that are difficult to find elsewhere in Europe, including very good Peruvian, southern Mexican, Filipino, Moroccan, Cajun/Creole, New Californian places and, yes, even noteworthy burger joints. We have all kinds of pizza here now, including the cheese-heavy Argentine-style pizzas that are little-known in the US, and of course Chicago deep-dish. But the classic, thin-crust Naples style dominates. Sometimes they come from wood-fired ovens. Best places in Madrid (which is the main center for international cuisines in Spain) are Maruzzella, Pizziccheria, Sicilia in Bocca and Ouh Babbo! By the way - the excellent pizzaiolo at Ouh Babbo! is Iranian and his colleague at Pizziccheria is from Gorizia, in Friuli on the Slovenian border - again, proof that you don't need to be from the Vesuvius' hillsides to be good at this!
  9. Very interesting to hear that Chirón has now reached such a fine level, Rogelio! Two brief notes on English terms: "Criadilla de tierra" is the common Spanish name for Terfezia arenaria, the "desert truffle", common in the sands of Extremadura. It's a poor man's white truffle, with good consistency but not much flavor. Mero, Epinephelus marginatus, is the European dusky grouper (sometimes known as sea perch). One of the tastiest types of fish around!
  10. Who told you that? Let's face it - pizza is neither nuclear physics nor haute cuisine nor a deconstructed conundrum. A city with as much fine food as Barcelona or Madrid obviously has good spots for pizza already - the peculiarly named Genova-Milano, for instance. Let's face it: Naples, Manhattan and Chicago are no longer the only places in the world where you can have a decent pie... Spain has been swamped by Italian cooks, pizzaioli included, over the past few years. The level of Italian cooking now found in Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia is uncommon in Europe outside of Italy. Italians love to live in Spain. As a result, the pizza situation has greatly improved, to pizza fans' great relief. Ferran loves street food and doesn't ever attempt to re-invent it. He's been serving rather good burgers (including a nice Italian burger, BTW) in his Fast Good joint venture for years. That doesn't mean there aren't other, and even better, burger joints around, which doesn't deter him from doing his own version. BTW, that unlikely British success story, Pizza Express (Pizza Marzano, on the continent), has contributed to the improvement of the pizza scene in Barcelona.
  11. Tiny, tiny tavern. Good comfort-food offerings in 'ración' (large tapas) form. Cash only. About 30 euros with wine.
  12. I see there are new additions from Murcia and Granada - two terrific vegetable places indeed - to this old thread, which really makes me happy because they further debunk the thread's initial assertion...
  13. Well, not quite in my book. Diego Cabrera's cocktails at Arola Gastro are great, but I still rank Estanis Carenzo's at Sudestada as the best in Madrid - and not just the legendary caipirinha. What I don't know is if you can just go in and have a cocktail or if they're only served to diners - which isn't a great problem, of course, because it's also one of Madrid's best restaurants...
  14. It's curious: if I had to single out the most widely preferred Madrid restaurant among my French friends, it would probably be Goizeko Wellington, which to them has just about the right combination of 'cuisine de terroir' and a few modern winks.
  15. As you can see, it's a mere 200 grams in a seven-liter batch. My guess is that it's there basically for color.
  16. "In a country whose national cuisine includes hundreds of varieties of finger food known as tapas, bravas is becoming the gourmand's benchmark." The WSJ is a great newspaper, but when it comes to food and wine it often lapses into sheer foolishness. This is one of those instances. Also, they used to pride themselves on their solid reporting. The fact they didn't even mention Las Bravas won't enhance their journalistic reputation (but I reckon it won't hurt it much either - food and wine aren't hallmarks of WSJ coverage, as I mentioned...) By the way, there's a gimmick in the Las Bravas 'patent' - what this bar did, back in 1960, is register its name, so that no other Spanish bar may call itself 'Las Bravas'. But it certainly didn't obtain a patent for its recipe. Bravas potatoes are a Madrid invention, and traditional 'bravas' are often found here. The addition of all i oli, popular in Barcelona, makes the result something else - but not 'bravas'. There's an 'inventor' in Spain who has unsuccessfully attempted to patent a recipe. It's a pretty good one, though, so here it goes (large amount, of course - for bar use!): Five liters mayonnaise, 100 grams garlic cloves, 100 grams hot 'pimentón' (paprika power), 0.2 liters tomato ketchup, two liters water. Blend together for two minutes.
  17. Sorry to sound harsh. But I must confess I still don't understand your comments on fish, and seafood in general in Spain ("I do not know what they are or what they should taste like"). That's one staple that seems to me particularly easy to identify and evaluate, whether I'm in Madrid, San Francisco, Tokyo, Oslo or Istanbul...
  18. Pedro is right. You've been to a strange set of places. And you don't seem to appreciate the difference between the sole at Combarro and the sole anywhere in ths US! You really don't know how seafood should taste? ("We both enjoyed the fish, but I could see that an expert would need to have several meals with several items to compare "freshness.'") Well, thta's peculiar, really. I'd say that obviously Spain (save for the service, about which you write in very satisfied terms) is not for you. If it were, I would tell you to go have seafood at O'Pazo, paella at El Ventorrillo Murciano, steak at Asador Ansorena. All of these places have been amply written up here on eGullet. But you seem to trust a hotel concierge better than this site...
  19. Talking about El Bulli's demise may be somewhat premature. Ferran badly wanted to have an autumn to work with so he could serve a seasonal menu, a luxury he hasn't had over the many years since El Bulli went to the six-months format - and the fall is probably the greatest gastronomic season in Europe. Of course we can all surmise that he'll have a great run this year, with all sorts of twists and finds around game and fowl, and then call it quits for good. But I personally doubt it.
  20. Unfortunately, Senzone is now out. The chef is leaving.
  21. Ferran is revealing himself as a faithful reader of El Periódico, one of Barcelona's newspapers: it's the only one among the various media here, be it print or electronic, which uses the tecno word. Way to go!
  22. I was anxiously waiting at the exit of the Ferran-Heston debate (I had to conduct a wine tasting in an other room and couldn't attend), and then I saw docsconz and he gave me the terrible news: "They are still at a loss trying to find a name for their cuisine. But the 'techno...' word hasn't been uttered by anyone." I was flabbergasted. No. I was crushed.
  23. Ah, how thrilling, a whole culinary school in desperate search of a name for itself. It's even more exciting than Indiana Jones looking for the Holy Grail! The Mexican angle is most eagerly expected by Spanish participants, as José Carlos Capel was truly impressed by what he found on his prospecting trip to Mexico. So Ricardo Muñoz, Bricio Domínguez, Enrique Olvera, Mónica Patiño, Patricia Quintana will be expected to make as much of a splash as Gastón Acurio of Peru did three years back. There will be a tasting by our wine estates association, Grandes Pagos de España, Wednesday afternoon, BTW.
  24. 1. Name names, please. "Two one starred places"? Anonymous accusations carry little weight. 2. So, bad service in two places and good service in more places - do you think this vague reference proves any point whatsoever about the overall quality of service in Spain? Please be a little more serious. This is so frivolous!
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