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LinkedIn Profile


  1. What Spanish wines are you drinking this year? Tasting notes or not. Favorite regions and vineyards. Questions and discussion.
  2. My wife and I will be in San Sebastian for a few days in early July, and I have booked Arzak for dinner one night. Due to financial constraints, this will probably be our major blow-out meal of the trip. I requested a non-smoking table but in the booking confirmation I have been told that the non-smoking section is full, and that we will be seated in the smoking section. It's a long time since I've had to think about smoke being an issue in restaurants, and my tolerance for same has seriously diminished. This might be a deal-breaker for me. Is smoke a problem at Arzak? Is this something I'm going to encounter at all the high-end restaurants in San Sebastian? I've no problem with smoke in more casual surroundings (i.e. pintxo bars), but I'm reluctant to fork out hundreds of Euros for a meal if I'm going to be breathing so much smoke I can't smell or taste properly. I may see if the non-smoking section is free some other night, but if not, should I look elsewhere? Would be grateful for any learned comments!
  3. I recently purchased a few cazuelas of different sizes - they look like this. They were seasoned correctly, or at least the way I was told to. So, after cooking some artichoke hearts with olive oil and parmesan cheese in one last night, I popped it into the dishwasher, and this morning, when I opened the dishwasher I noticed an off-smell - that of rancid oil. Sure enough, it was coming from the cazuela. Bad. So, I'm wondering if the oil soaks into the pores and then turns rancid, or did it have something to do with the dishwasher? Any one else have this problem? And what exactly is the best way to care for this unique cooking vessel?
  4. Does any one know of a bottle shop or licensed grocer that has a Spanish or Portuguese focus, in Melbourne?
  5. I'm creating a recipe for a contest and I need to get my hands on some Spanish specialty food items. Anybody know a great source/store in Boston or suburban West Boston???? Thanks! -Mark-
  6. Does anybody have any experience with The Spanish Pavillion in Harrison, NJ? Thanks.
  7. hazardnc

    Spanish Cavas

    I love cava and Italian Prosecco. I also love cheese. Do either of these sparkling wines go well with cheese? If so, what should I buy?
  8. Good news for Albariño lovers. It looks like this year's harvest is going to be both abundant and high in quality - two characteristics that don't always go hand-in-hand in grape-growing. This is especially good news considering the dreadful forest fires that raged in Galicia in the first half of August and which affected some of the vineyards of D.O. Rias Baixas. Rias Baixas produces most of the Albariño that you are familiar with. Overall damage to the vineyards apparently was not extensive. Ironically, some say that the fires may have contributed to a premature ripening of the grapes (the harvest is expected to be early this year - Sept. 10), because the heat and smoke created a kind of small-scale greenhouse effect and kept nighttime temperatures higher than normal. At least that's one theory that has been thrown around. But the summer has been very warm and very sunny for Galicia (Spain in general is going through a severe drought), so I figure that has been the mot important factor. By the way, the D.O. in July rated last year's (2005) vintage as "Excellent", so keep that in mind for your next purchase.
  9. Please recommend some really good Spanish restaurants in Sydney. We're looking for places that cook excellent paella and have a decent tapas selection. Thanks!
  10. Chef- In the US we have relatively few authentic Spanish restaurants as opposed to say Italian restaurants or French ones. It is true that Spain and it's food (besides tapas) is gaining popularity and I am very happy about that becuase it is a remarkable cuisine, but still in a city as big as Houston, you will find maybe one or two Spanish restaurants, and even those they mainly emphasize tapas. In her book, The New Spanish Table, Anya Von Bremzen attributes that to the extreme regionality and ingredient specific dishes that can be only found in Spain. Meaning that many Spanish dishes cannot be made properly outside of their hometown. Do you agree? If not what is your take on the subject? I'll reserve my opinion of her statement till you post yours Many thanks for taking the time to join us Chef!
  11. bills

    Spanish Notes

    Notes from a tasting of wines from Spain and ex-Spanish territories. 2005 Quinta do Ameal Vinho Verde – OK, so this was from Portugal, the organiser also allowed this – Iberian peninsula and all. Not much nose until it warmed up, then some smoke. Bit flat in the middle, finshed better than it started, an obvious attempt at a ‘more serious’ VV. Maybe some wines aren’t meant to be serious…. 1995 Remurez de Ganuza Rioja – nose of toasty oak and well developed fruit, on the ripe side. Fairly youthful in the mouth with good length and an uplift of acidity at the end. New age Rioja made the way the reviewers (who like California cab) like to see them. 1994 Pesquera – this Crianza is now in prime drinking range. It showed a mildly stinky nose with some cheesiness, backed by cocoa and spice, a nice mouth feel, soft tannins and good length. Perhaps the most traditional wine of the evening. 1996 Errazuriz Don Maximiano Cabernet – didn’t give much varietal cab clue, but a nose that was more honey, the fruit not huge, then sliding into a spiciness and soft tannin. Nice now. I almost brought my 1993 – guess I should get into them to see what is happening. Our only new world entry. 2001 Terra d’Hom Priorat – sweet cocoa nose with huge fruit, excellent balance and surprisingly soft tannin. New world style, and not built for the long haul, rather for early pleasure. Would work well instead of Port with cheese. 2000 Quinta do Valle D. Maria - a wine from the Douro with a heavily oaked nose, lots of in your face fruit, a bit hot, sweet and fruity on palate and not too complex. Better try my 1998 soon. 2002 Finca Sandoval – from Manchuela, a combination of mostly syrah with mourvedre – a Spanish Rhone, if you will. Another non-traditional wine with a warm nose, sweet, young, blackberry and anise, tannic, young and not complex. Would be interesting to see if it improves with age – I’m not sure if it will or not. Anyway, tasty when young!.
  12. Hola Jose! I work in gastronomic tourism here in Barcelona, and most of our clients are Americans. So I was wondering if you had come to any conclusions about what the main appeal of Spanish (and, may I say, Catalan!) cuisine is for Americans? What are the characteristic flavours, textures and/or techniques that intrigue and entice them? What do you think they would like to know more about (or what do you think they SHOULD know more about?!) Thanks for doing my market research for me ;-} Kirsten
  13. I'm passing through Teruel in the first week of January and wondered if I would be able to get hold of some truffles. I won't be able to make it to the truffle market in Mora de Rubielos (sp.?) so wondered if there were any shops which might sell them. A long shot, I know... ps these truffles seem to be T. melanosporum - same as Perigord truffle - does anyone know if the are as good?
  14. Before the spring of 2003, I was a food and wine enthusiast like many others with a passion for travel, dining and fine wine. It was at that time due to an inopportune respiratory illness before a planned trip to SARS-filled China, that I discovered and became involved in eGullet, an episode of serendipity that changed my life and proved that the internet is indeed a land of opportunity. Over time, as a result of my involvement with this organization and the connections I have made through it, I have had the good fortune to develop a deep interest in culinaria into a true avocation. The result is that I have been conferred with press credentials for such culinary events as The Starchefs International Chefs Congress, The NY Fancy Foods Show and now the 2008 Madrid Fusión, something I would never have dreamed of five years ago. Though I am no more than a competent home cook, events like the Starchefs Congresses, the CIA's World of Flavors programs and Madrid Fusión, intrigue me because of the confluence of incredible creativity, especially in an area that appeals to me perhaps more than any other creative endeavor - the culinary arts. I relish the creative give and take that these programs foster as well as the opportunity to improve my personal understanding of what these creative icons are accomplishing. It doesn't hurt, either that these events often afford an opportunity to nourish the gustatory senses as well as the intellect and the soul! I arrived in Madrid on Sunday morning, taking the day to recover and re-orient myself to a city that I had not seen in person since 1974. Helping me do that was none other than eGullet Society member, Rogelio, who took me on a walking tour through old Madrid with stops for tapas before culminating in a fabulous lunch at Asturianos, however, that is material for another discussion. The rest of the day, I spent acclimating to the time change. The following morning I spent walking around Madrid taking in Picasso's Guernica at the Reina Sofia Museum and walking through the Retiro Park before taking the efficient and clean Metro to the Palacio Municipal de Congresos in northeastern Madrid where the conference would be held. Madrid Fusión is a large conference with a lot of coordination involved. Over 4100 people were involved with the event as either guests, speakers, journalists or staff. Speakers, mostly chefs, numbered 54. There were 140 members of the international press and over 500 from Spain, who provided daily newspaper and television coverage of the event. Given the complexity of the event and my relative inexperience as a first time participant, check-in to obtain my credentials prior to the 3:30 PM start time proved hectic and somewhat chaotic, although I did manage to complete the process and obtain a simultaneous translation transmitter/headphone set prior to the delayed start of the program. This year's Conference was billed as Gastronomy, Internet and New Technologies. Indeed there was a focus on these elements, where in years past according to what experienced Fusion goers told me, there had been none. Indeed, one would think that this would be a natural topic for this conference that celebrates all that is new and inventive in the world of food. Unfortunately, these elements when presented conflicted with other presentations and demonstrations and my involvement with these was minimal. Hopefully, others who were involved can relay their experiences here. Over the course of the next few weeks, I will do my best to convey a sense of what transpired at the conference as well as the flavor of the event.
  15. My husband and I are staying in BCN for 2 months halfway between Boqueria and Santa Catarina markets - we're having a great time shopping and cooking but after 3 weeks we have decided we need to dive deeper into the markets and ingredients but lack the language facility to do so. Any recommended guides? Or any egullet/foodie BCN residents who could help (for a generous lunch??!!) Thanks
  16. Currently, Spain has arguably the best seafood and pork products in the Western world. Yet when it comes to how vegetables are treated, it is a sad state of affairs. What breaks my heart is that walking through the markets in Spain one is confronted by some of the best produce in the world. But what gives you wonder at the market bears little resemblance to what is served at the table—bland, textureless vegetables that have been so overcooked that might as well have come from the freezer. Salads are lackluster—some lettuce, tomatoes, a few olives and onions. No interesting lettuce variety or inventive dressing. Peas and favas are almost always stewed with sausages to the point where the vegetable retains none of it delicate flavor. The most common way of cooking spinach, swiss chard, broad beans or cabbage is to boil for 20 plus minutes until it is mushy an textureless. Then it is often sautéed in pork fat as if the goal is to extract out the flavor of the vegetable so that you can cover it up with the taste of meat. I can understand how vegetables like eggplant, peppers and artichokes may benefit from being cooked in this slow-simmered approach but why would you do this to green vegetables? Am I missing something? My experience is mainly with Cataluña and Andalusia. Maybe vegetables are treated differently in the north. Are things different in the Basque country, Galicia, Asturias, or Cantabria? How can a cuisine reach such amazing heights in terms of its treatment of seafood and meat and simultaneously be so behind the times in its treatment of vegetables?
  17. I have a recipe for making romesco sauce and roasted chicken breasts. In the directions, it says the sauce can be made ahead and chilled for up to two days before serving. However, the directions don't specifically state the sauce should be reheated before serving with the roasted chicken. Soooo, is this type of sauce traditionally served cold, hot, room temperature or it just doesn't matter?
  18. Happy New Year to All! I prepared cocotxas pil-pil for lunch today and they were UNBELIEVABLE!!! I would like to ask for recipes as the flavors and the flesh texture of the cheeks are extremely sensitive. In addition, what wine do you drink with the dish? Many thanks and Happy Eating!!!
  19. This is a question for all the Spanish wine experts out there... I have a chance to swap a bottle of 2001 Bodegas Luberri Rioja Finca Los Merinos for a bottle of 2005 Alvaro Palacios Les Terrasses Priorat. I know that I can drink the Rioja now (and even if I trade it, I'll get to enjoy a glass!) but am wondering if the Priorat will be a better treat in a few years' time. Should I go for it?
  20. I've been doing a lot of Portuguese cooking lately, and the famous chili sauce, piri-piri, seems to be compatible with virtually everything. I'd like to make the stuff, but it seems that every recipe I can find is quite different; some include olive oil, others just vinegar; some use fresh chilis, others dried. I'm quite surprised by the wide variation in recipes, and am not sure where to start, nor which is the "real" piri-piri. Can anybody out there with knowlege of Portuguese food tell me how to make the real piri-piri that is found in restaurants and homes in Portugal? (Cross-posted at the Cooking forum). Thanks! Austin
  21. Could anyone here supply me with the names and addressess of some Asian retail stores please? May be Indian, Chinese or South East Asian Thank you
  22. I found a great wine shop in Spain. In San Sebastian, about an hour (or two, depending on your route) East along the coast from Bilbao. It's Vinos Ezeiza, on Prim 16 (+34 943 46 68 14). (Finding it was not accidental. I asked the sommelier at Akelare to recommend a wine store in San Sebastian.) It's a dusty old shop, filled with interesting wines. Mostly Spanish, mostly Riojas, but lots of other stuff as well. (He had a bunch of Vega Sicilia wines that were outside my price range.) And older stuff: wines from the 50s, 60s, and 80s. Some French, even. The old guy who runs it speaks no English, but he's great. He definitely knows his stock. This is what I left with. (I flew to Spain with an empty 12-bottle wine shipper.) 1 x 1964 Vina Albina Rioja 2 x 1982 Montecillo Gran Reserva Rioja 3 x 1991 Vina Real Gran Reserva Rioja 2 x 1994 Vina Real Gran Reserva Rioja 1 x 1995 Vina Real Gran Reserva Rioja 2 x 1994 R. Lopez de Herdia Rioja 1 x 1995 R. Lopez de Herdia Rioja And he gave me a bottle of local Basque white as a gift. I'm going to buy some cod to have it with. Most of the bottles were 20 or 25 euros, with the older three being as much as 50 euros. (My total bill for the 12 wines was 330 euros.) I have no idea how often anyone gets to this part of the world, but if you do happen to get there this shop is worth a trip. He said that he's open from 8:00 to 8:00, without a siesta.
  23. I just bought some queso valdeon cheese from the supermarket (although it was labelled queso valdon) . the cheese counter guy there couldn't tell me much about it. our exchange was as follows: me: wow, what kind of cheese it that? clerk: it's blue cheese. me: I can see that. what can you tell me about it? clerk: nothing. it's from spain, and it's wrapped in grape leaves *awkward silence* Anyways, I bought 100 grams and tried it as soon as I got home. I love it! It's very strong and complex, but not overpowering. Can anyone tell me anything about it (typical age, what sort of milk etc..)? Any other Spanish cheeses I'm missing (I'm sure there are lots)?
  24. During my junior year of college many many (16) years ago, I took a semester and attended school in Seville, Spain. The food, I can get here in the states, but the beer that I consumed by the bucketload in Seville was called Cruzcampo, and I have NEVER seen it in the United States. Does anyone know why it's so hard to find beers from Spain in the US? lack of interest? Surely it can't be from lack of quality.....I'd stack that Cruzcampo up against a Peroni any day of the week. I travel a lot with my job, so if anyone has seen it, let me know, I'll schedule a trip there.
  25. In Cucina Paradiso the heavenly food of Sicily by Clifford Wright he discusses cucina arabo-sicula. Is there a similar sort of folklore about Arabic or Moorish influences in Spanish or Portuguese cooking? Are there any books on the subject? Tommaso d'Alba, a Sicilian writer wrote La Cucina Siciliana di Derivazione Araba. Are there any books or articles about the Moorish influences in Spain or Portugal? I consider Oran, Algeria to be very Spanish influenced. The Spaniards came in in various stages of history and of course many Moors and Moriscos settled there. We have Spanish loan words in our derja (dialect). Sometimes it gets a bit confusing because an Arab loan word into Spanish came back to Algeria in it's Spanish form and became part of the local derja rather than the original Arabic word. Oranian Rai music has Andalusian influences.
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