Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by victornet

  1. Len, A bit off topic in that food is not involved, but with 3 days you might consider a drive to Cadaques. The scenery between the 2 towns is breathtaking (if vertiginous) - see photo - and you can visit Salvador Dali's house in Cadaques. It's a lot of fun - slightly tacky, but not ridiculous like some of the other sites on the Dali trail. Reservations are limited, so book the tour in advance.
  2. Neu, Thanks so much for the Documenta report. Adria was one of the first announced artists because the clever curators chose to announce one artist whose name began with 'A' and one with 'Z', playing a game of suspense with the art world. When Adria was not mentioned in any reviews or personal reports I got, I was wondering what his participation was. Since the reports were uniformly less than stellar, this is probably an ok thing. I'm much happier having finally made it to El Bulli this year than following the art trail. (Though doing both, as you did, would have been great.)
  3. David Chang uses xanthum gum to thicken whipped silken tofu. I was making this recipe tonight (as the tofu was expiring) when I realized I did not have the xanthum gum. Oh well! Blew the texture but still got the taste to contrast with cherry tomatoes.
  4. One thing worth mentioning. While the pace of dishes later in the meal is one or two at a time, during the 'snacks' portion you are bombarded by possibilities. This picture shows a number of 'snacks' served all at once. The instructions (i.e. eat this portion of the dish in a specific way before another portion of the dish) are much more relaxed at the very beginning.
  5. Although I'm basically a red drinker, I did not ignore the many posts suggesting starting with cava and moving to white wine. I let the staff at el bulli lead with this, and we had a very moderately priced cava (brut nature gran riserve 03 - we ordered a glass, and while they kept pouring we paid for the glass), followed by a 'glass' of white - pazo de senorans 05 (quite nice, but we could have skipped this and gone from cava to the red). The high point for me was a more serious Rioja red they recommended (ca. 90 euro) Pagos Viejos 1998 from Artadi which was just what I wanted with this meal. We closed with a enjoyable dessert wine (again, inexpensive) Hospital de Sant Joan Baptiste at Malvasia de Sitges. I placed myself in their hands and the trust was amply rewarded. The list is full of expensive and desireable choices for those who so desire, as well as great bargain choices for those who have alloted their budget to the menu - the ideal choice a fine restaurant can offer.
  6. Here's my last image of a dish that others have not posted. It's marinated mackerel belly - chicken and onion "escabeche". It came right after the peas with artichokes puree - a pure expression of springtime, and before the hare juise which preceded the rabbit brains. Thus this was the transition into the final protein statement. It was a terrific dish (sorry that I did not feel like taking notes during the dinner so I'm probably coming up a bit short on the descriptions of each dish's taste) - absolutely one of the high points. In addition to the pure taste of the marinated mackerel, I think the picture shows the multiplicity of other elements it rhymed with.
  7. I think that this is most likely potato foam under the ham. In any case it was an enormously enjoyable dish. This dish, called clam/octopus, has not shown up on some other recent menus. It was one of the more complex dishes we had. Upon first taste, my wife felt it was not one of the more successful. But as we got into it, I thought it was among the most fascinating. I think the black 'bubbles' on the bottom were little capsules of squid ink or something similar. It gave the dish a peppery slant that few of the other dishes had. Coming right after the 'asparagus in different cooking times' it was especially dramatic.
  8. I haven't bought one recently, as I no longer work in the neighborhood, but Dean and Deluca (soho) usually had the Tomcat whole wheat sourdough baguette (also often sold out by days end) - always my favorite bread there. I can sometimes get tomcat breads at a deli near home, but never anything matching this loaf.
  9. Here's our gorgonzola shell (and my first successful photo upload - I hope). Convex rather than concave.
  10. I ate at the ssam bar last night, for the first time since they changed the format. Before, I believe the menu was similar to what is lunch now. I was a fan of the brisket ssam, but would generally have preferred the ramen soup at Momofuku over the ssam bar if it were not for the wait you experience if you are not there at 5:30. (My mom was in a hospital nearby last Autumn, and being able to follow visits with a stop at ssam bar really helped). That said, our dinner was terrific. I had a starter of sea urchin and whipped tofu that was out of this world. Great contrast of textures, excellent spicing (here's where what I take to be the asian elements came in). I followed this with a pan roasted chicken that was executed on a similar level. Besides very good product cooked correctly, the saucing and spicing lifted it to a very high level. My wife had a hamachi starter and the artichokes - both very fine. I haven't read past the current page about the controversy here. But this was one of my favorite nyc meals in a long while. Service was also very attentive and friendly. When we inquired about the carbonated sake drink others were having a sample was promptly offered. Every question we asked about a dish was answered by an enthusiastic explanation of every element (The folks next to us had a terrific looking plate of at least a half dozen cured vegetables that we had not ordered as it was just described as "pickles" on the menu). I'm sure I'm at least 20 years older than anyone working the front of the house, but as long as you like rock and roll I do not see age being an issue (of course we ate the 'early bird' shift ). I've got a cooking class at de gustibus with David Chang coming up this week, and I can't wait to learn some of his techniques.
  11. Our meal on the 16th was closer to yours than to docsconz'. I did not have the 'eureka' anchovie unfortunately, but we had marinated mackerel belly - chicken and onion 'escabeche', after the peas with artichoke puree and just before the hare juise, (i.e. instead of the stone crab) and it was very much a high point of the meal. The sequencing of the dishes in the savory section was particularly well orchestrated. Our gorgonzola shell was followed by the LYO tomato - textured oil dish, one that I enjoyed but not a favorite moment in the meal. Instead of the razor clams we had clam / octopus - a very complex dish , perhaps the most peppery item in our meal. It was not one of the dishes that just grabs you with the first taste -but by the end of the dish I was wowed. I'll post a photo later (I have figured how to get an image into image gullet, but perhaps someone can point me to a link explaining how to insert photos into a post - I'm sure I'm overlooking something obvious - I do have a photo of the gorgonzola ready to go)
  12. Great reports. I avoided reading Dr. Sconzo's first reports in advance of my meal at El Bulli last Wednesday, and I believe this increased the surprise factor. When we were seated we were asked if it was ok if it would all be a surprise, described as each course was served, with a printed menu delivered upon departure. I thought this was the perfect way to proceed. There is definitely a thrill seeing Juli Soler as you enter the door, and then are shown the kitchen and introduced to Chef Adria himself. (and we are not vips ). The only time I've had similar hospitality in the states was when Charlie Trotter's mom showed us all around his place, tv studio and all - as a new yorker I sort of figured that was just an extreme example of midwest hospitality. We had about 2/3 of the same meal as docsconz - I'll report next week as I can make time - got to catch up on work and then try to get some tomatoes in the ground this weekend. I do remember the polenta gnocchi and they were great. We did not have the lamb brains, but upon beginning the meal we were asked (despite our emails that we would eat anything) if we REALLY both were willing to have rabbits brains. They didn't like the expression on my wife's face (too polite to say no, but unexcited) so we got to taste an extra dish. The rabbits brains were quite good - almost the only animal protein apart from the Joselito pork fat on the large bean with black garlic, and my wife had an excellent dish of very thin ham draped over a white mound of something tasty we could not identify (this did not show up on our menu, so we are literally clueless). It's hard to describe the performative nature of this meal. So many tastes and instructions and servers and surprises. It was just the greatest. At the risk of oversimplifying things, after eating at the French Laundry some years ago I felt that I had had a unique experience but had scratched that particular itch. Not long into the El Bulli meal I kept thinking, 'can I come back tomorrow (or any other day) for more?'. In part I'm much more sympathetic and in awe of Adria's ideas and using "humble" ingredients (though of the highest quality and freshness) rather than 'luxury" products, which are not always best served by much intervention. I'm afraid I was unable to take docsconz' advise and try l'Esguard just north of Barcelona (guess I need another trip to Spain )- the only day we had time and the car was the day after El Bulli. I was right in guessing that I would be in no rush to eat that day. We slept late and ate nothing all day except a few snacks in the car (late in the day, after visiting Salvador Dali's home/museum in Cadaques - a drive at least as thrilling as the drive to El Bulli at this great moment of springtime with yellow blooms all around). By dinner the next night at Hisop in Barcelona (excellent) we were ready to re-enter a more earthly orbit. Will try to figure out how to post photos by next week and add more description.
  13. Boy, am I excited. 7:30 - 1am allows a lot of courses. We tend to be embarrased to be Americans in Europe and do not ask to eat before 8:30 (when we usually enter an almost empty joint). Tomorrow night (Wed.) is the last night I'm sure I can see further comments (before flying to Spain Thurspm with dinner at El Bulli next Wed.) - though our Madrid hotel promises free wi-fi so I will look for updates. So any further revelations will be much appreciated. We've eaten at Alinea, Minibar, and WD-50 (frequently) but this is our first visit to the mothership (indeed, it seems appropriate to play George Clinton on the drive up to Roses). Really enjoying this thread, and will report in 10 days.
  14. I'm going in 2 weeks so this adds to the excitement. Glad to here the good Dr. got a reservation. I was sympathetic to his story on another thread about not getting a seat this year due to hospital scheduling. It's taken me 4-5 years to align the stars and get a reservation. And I just rejiggered my trip due to a grand prix race in Barcelona in 2 weeks (most hotels booked).
  15. Since this seems to be a "dead' thread (no posts in over a month) I'll add a note from right field. This tasting tour is great, one of a kind, but so unlike a New Yorker's experience of our scene. It reminds me of my experience of the Paris food scene - with brief extensive episodes separated by big blocks of time. Certain thrills that are great the first time burn a bit too bright, and certain disappointments (the soup dumplings at Joe's Shanghai for example) that may not be international experiences but are quite nice as cheap eats disappoint. So if anyone cares, I'd opine that I may have had one of my best meals in nyc in some years at Jean George, but have not been (or needed to return) for some time. It satisfies that need for a 'special' experience. I've eaten many more times at WD-50 (loving the high wire act, creativity, and sublimity of the dishes that do excel, and understanding those (like the pork belly)that do not fit into a 3 course format - this is the restaurant at which I felt it was ok to order the Chicken dish and had a sublime reward) as well as Cafe Boulud during the Carmellini years. I think the many comments confirm the rap on David Bouley - when things go well it is like a gift from heaven-sometimes unmatchable, but sometimes you are brought down to earth by ridiculous stuff like waiting forever for a 'simple' course. Back in the day (80's ?) no one in NYC could cook on his level - now there are a lot of talented chefs out there. Glad you got to Katzes - that's real NY (personally I drink cream soda with pastrami, never got the attraction of cel-ray). Too bad you did not visit NYC when the spicier "Roumanian" pastrami was available at Shmulkuh Bernstein's. Thanks so much for the report - enjoyed heartily.
  16. what a tease. let's have some actual info!
  17. We booked the Almadraba in December via their website. our "double standard" room (with breakfast) in mid-May is costing 137 euros.
  18. I got a yes for May 16. Totally psyched.
  19. I've gotten polite replies saying the year is booked, but to try if I'm in the neighborhood. I did try from Barcelona once, but did not succeed. I sent an email today, but will send another on the 15th.
  20. I've been trying for years as well, and an email sent last week bounced. If someone gets through, a post here will be much appreciated.
  21. I spent the weekend in Rochester celebrating my 30th U of R reunion. While I must report that Genessee Cream Ale has not improved, and both Smitty's and it's progeny Snuffy's are gone (though it only took visiting 3 Wegmans to find one with some Snuffy's sauce on the shelf while rabid, nostalgic U of R alumni were in town), I will affirm all the above positive comments about Tastings at Wegmans. Good food, good wine list and prices way below those I suffer through in NYC. While my delicious short ribs there was not on the level of WD-50 or Craft, for example, it cost $18.00 and I had to take half of it home! Others in my group had the sushi and it was quite good. I'd be a regular there. I can tell you that while food everywhere 30 years ago paled next to today's options (on the average), Rochester had farther to climb than some cities (many of my friends were waiters so I tasted a lot) and it has excelled.
  22. I ate at the "Table" last November, and loved it. As far as I know, the food is largely the same as at Atelier, but eaten at a more comfortable table, which you have reserved beforehand. After a life changing meal at Jamin about 20 years ago, I stayed away as Robouchon's places became fancier. I wasn't ready to mess with the memory. Now the rules have changed, and Robouchon rules. The Atelier and Table reflect a chef who has changed (in what I find to be all the best ways) as the world has changed. Certain luxurious excesses are no longer imaginable, but artistry and inventiveness have triumphed. The simple things, such as the potato puree and a spectacular cheese course, are done at the highest level. The Spanish influence is a breath of fresh air. The aesthetic position is not in your face (like El Bulli, Commerc 24 in Barcelona, or my favorite NYC hometown restaurant, WD-50). This is a quiet restaurant, in a quiet, wealthy neighborhood. The staff buys into the concept, and it would be hard to walk away less than excited.
  23. I was just cruising the Texas forum to confirm some Dallas recomendations for friends who are on the way there, and would love Dan to elaborate on Gagnaire and pretentiion. I've had a couple of great meals there, tested a couple of Gagnaire's labor intensive recipes for a cookbook, but only recommend it for friends interested in culinary performance art (admittedly, my better friends, as opposed to being able to send anyone with good taste buds to Robuchon's Table). Dan, any elaboration will be appreciated. I've still got some forum cruising to do to remember the name of the place I got the great Cabrito in Dallas.
  24. I've just read the more argumentative posts here, and wish to inject another complicationn to the discussion: EU regulations. I'm a fan of the more artisanal hams of Spain and Italy to the degree I've been able to taste them while visiting both countries. I admit to being impressed by the degree to which ham infuses everyday life in spain - i.e. the ham as a fixture on the kitchen counter. In Italy the EU regulations really seem to be making inroads against the production and distribution of the better artisanal hams. You almost have to be a "friend" of a restaurant to get culatello in the Emiglia Romagna these days.
  25. I certainly do not want to enter a theological discussion of hams, but as a practical matter, if you enter the boqueria and go straight to the back (center) you will find a vendor of very fine ham (Belloto, etc.). It will undoubtably be confiscated if the customs dogs (I've never seen any, but then again I suspect the hashish smugglers don't see them either) smell the good stuff, so buy a quantity you can afford to lose. While I seem to be able to get perfectly good stuff here in the USA (don't tell any one, or Bush will outlaw it!), you might look for a good bottle of pimenton, the spectacuar Spanish smoked paprika.
  • Create New...