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  1. Does anybody know where Chef Hakon Orvarsson is working now? He used to be the Executive Chef of Vox Restaurant in the Hilton Nordica. J.
  2. Great post, glad to see you didn't censor yourself -- some powerful images here.
  3. I highly recommend Casa Maera. Simple, traditional food cooked by the charming wife of the owner. They feature fish and shellfish from Isla Cristina. The restaurant is closed on Sunday nights and on Mondays. I am not sure if they are open in August, I suggest calling ahead. Let the owner guide you through the menu (which is "sung", there was no printed menu when we were there). They basically offer whatever is fresh, and whatever his wife happened to cook that day (incredibly, she is alone in the kitchen). When we went we had several fantastic dishes including: - Revuelto de Bacalao (bacalao omelette with crisp potatoes) - Albóndigas de Choco (cuttlefish "meatballs" -- incredible) - Garbanzos con Langostinos (the star of the night -- chickpeas with langoustines) The owner was a taxi driver for many years and, if the mood strikes him, will entertain you with corny jokes and hilarious stories all night long. We laughed for hours and ate like Kings. Casa Maera Regla León, 23A +34 93 434 3605
  4. At Can Roca -- pretty much everything is excellent. Particular standouts on my recent visit included the "Gelat de Ceps", "Fideua sense Fideus" and the Apple and Foie Gras Savarin (which is justifiably famous). The Rocas are some of the best chefs in Spain right now in my opinion. You may need to call ahead and ask them to include the Gelat de Ceps the day before you go. They don't always serve it as it requires some pre-preparation and they can sometimes run out. At Can Fabes -- you can see my previous post on this, which was mixed. The one dish which definitely did stand out, and to which I still think about fondly, was the Pops (baby octopus) with Miniature Gnocchi. Outstanding. If Santi has them on the current menu I would definitely order them, or ask them to include it on the tasting menu if you aren't doing the a la carte. Enjoy your meals! J.
  5. A little out of the way, but *highly* recommended. In my opinion, the Roca brothers are some of the most talented chefs in Spain. J.
  6. José Andres uses hot isomalt to make the bulb. They place a blinking (usually blue) LED inside. J.
  7. This photograph is priceless John. As much as I love your food photos (and must confess a similar obsession when I eat out myself), this is a GREAT photo that really captures the end of service in a high-end restaurant kitchen. The expression you captured of Santi is priceless, and the scrubbed down stove in the foreground is perfect juxtaposition... Chapeau! J.
  8. A very eloquent and well-written perspective Victor. I for one completely agree with you and also hope that the alleged payments were not made. If they were, I don't see how they will be able to dig out easily from the mountain of bad publicity and public backlash they will certainly face. It's a very messy and disturbing situation to say the least. We had a heated discussion tonight during staff meal where one point of view was that they had no choice (if it is true) but to pay. I made the same argument as you, which is who else would be better able to resist a payment demand than these well-known Basque "superstars" who are revered not only in the Pais Vasco, but throughout Spain. J.
  9. David -- How could we refuse an offer like that ?! Email me when your travel dates get closer and we can nail things down. J.
  10. The sweet-savoury discussion is one that I am following with interest -- docsconz, it might even merit a thread on its own as it seems to be a trend that both bux and robert brown commented on in their dining travels. In our own case, we made a conscious decision when working on the summer menu to highlight sweet-savoury combinations in several dishes, particularly with fruit, which is something I feel works well during that season. The classic combination of melon and proscuitto comes to mind. For example, the langoustine tail with melon “ajoblanco” that we served in summer has no added sugar, just the natural sweetness of the melon to play off the inherent “sweetness” of the langoustine tail. That particular dish is very refreshing in summer, but just would not work in fall or winter. Now that we are into the fall menu, our focus has turned from sweet to “umami”. Warm, savoury dishes featuring wild mushrooms, braised and shredded oxtails, crisp quail breasts, creamy lentils and braised and pan-seared pork belly... J.
  11. Had lunch here last week and was dissapointed. I had the halibut and while the batter was superlative, the fish was dry and the chips were ... well, let's just say that I agree with the other comments regarding the chips...
  12. I am heading up to London for a few days later this month and am on the prowl for a good shop or professional kitchen outfitter where I can find utensils, tools, etc. I would prefer a restaurant supply shop, but if anyone knows of a home kitchen shop, I would happily browse through the aisles there too. I am looking for stuff that I might not necessarily find here in Barcelona. For example, I am in dire need of a professional "egg topper" such as this one, or this one. Any suggestions? J.
  13. More suggestions, this time from Jordi's girlfriend. She works for Turisme Catalunya in Lleida and spoke to some friends in La Seu who made the following suggestions: - Restaurant de l'hotel Andria (La Seu d'Urgell - 973.350300) - Restaurant del Parador Nacional (la Seu d'Urgell - 973.352000) - Restaurant La Masia (Montferrer - 973.352445) - Restaurant Taberna Noguers (Pont de Bar - 973.384020) - Restaurant Cal teixidor (Tamariu - 973.360121) In Lleida itself, she repeated the suggestion to dine at Malena. J.
  14. I spoke to Jordi and he suggested two restaurants already mentioned by other members: - Gerry Dawe's suggestion of Can Boix - Victor's suggestion of Malena In his opinion, Malena is heads and shoulders above the others and merits any extra effort necessary to go there. He was less enthusiastic about Casa Irene. He felt that since it became known that the King dines there every so often, it has become more "commercial". I have not dined in any of these places myself, however I have 110% confidence in any restaurant Jordi recommends. Let us know how your meals go. (and take pix!!!) J.
  15. My sous chef spent 3 years at a restaurant just outside Lleida and knows the area very well. I will ask him for suggestions and let you know. J.
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