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El Bulli 2007 reports


smoz
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I am expecting many, many photos, doc.

Working on them along with others from Can Roca, Ca Sento, L'Esguard, El Poblet, Monastrell and others!

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Thanks so much for posting the pics smoz. The bon bon looks quite different from the one I had last year.

I'd be interested to hear more about the raspberry fondant. Was it soft in texture, like a typical fondant? And did you eat it first and then take the spoon of vinegar? It sounds like a very unusual sweet, hot, sour combination of tastes, and possibly something that could be tried out at home? Any suggestions about how to replicate it?

The texture of the raspberry fondant (as I remember it) was somewhere between a fondant and a jelly however I was discussing it with Mrs Smoz last night and she insists that it was more like a freeze dried raspberry, couldn't be a more different texture so take your pick as to whose memory you trust.

And yes, we were told to eat the fondant first before following it up with the vinegar.

I have no suggestions as to how best to replicate this, perhaps people more gifted than me will have an idea.

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Thanks so much for posting the pics smoz. The bon bon looks quite different from the one I had last year.

I'd be interested to hear more about the raspberry fondant. Was it soft in texture, like a typical fondant? And did you eat it first and then take the spoon of vinegar? It sounds like a very unusual sweet, hot, sour combination of tastes, and possibly something that could be tried out at home? Any suggestions about how to replicate it?

The texture of the raspberry fondant (as I remember it) was somewhere between a fondant and a jelly however I was discussing it with Mrs Smoz last night and she insists that it was more like a freeze dried raspberry, couldn't be a more different texture so take your pick as to whose memory you trust.

And yes, we were told to eat the fondant first before following it up with the vinegar.

I have no suggestions as to how best to replicate this, perhaps people more gifted than me will have an idea.

My recollection is more along the lines of what Mrs. Smoz recalled. I believe the "fondant" was represented by the vinegar. It's funny how small details can be obscured within one's memory when the formation of those memories is bombarded by so many incredible things.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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My experience at elBulli this past Friday for my birthday solidified its hold on me as my absolute favorite restaurant. I will post photos later, but I will apologize in advance for their quality. My camera settings had been altered and the photos were quite dark as a result. Using digital enhancement I have managed to get most of them to a presentable point, though nothing like the plates deserve. Fortunately a number of the dishes are already represented above by smoz.

Early in the afternoon on Friday I was not feeling particularly well to the point that I wondered if I would even be able to make it. Fortunately with the help of a brief nap and some Advil I was able to rally so that by the time we got there I was in reasonable shape. Aside from the fact that I couldn't have missed this meal, I'm very glad I made it there.

What we met upon our arrival simply took my breathe away. We arrived about 5 minutes late for our 7:30PM time and were brought immediately into the kitchen where Ferran, Juli Soler and their team were waiting to greet us and show us to our table - in the kitchen! They asked me if we would mind if we were served the snack portion of the meal there before removing to the dining room! Oh, in addition, we would be filmed by a crew from Spanish television doing a report on the restaurant in the wake of the Restaurant Magazine rankings. What could I say? :laugh: I was stunned and turned into a babbling idiot (moreso than usual :raz: ), but my appetite revived and we had a blast. We ate the first 8-10 courses there before moving into the main dining room for another 25-30 plates. Fortunately my ability to taste was fully intact. Unfortunately, I filled much more quickly than I ordinarily would and couldn't enjoy all the dishes to the extent that I ordinarily would have as I tried to pace myself. Having the opportunity to chat with Ferran and Albert Adria, Juli Soler, Luis Garcia and a number of others on the elBulli team was fun, but an additional highlight was seeing eGullet Society member Dana Revallo again. He is currently chef de partie of warm tapas at the restaurant.

The vast majority of our dishes were new to 2007. Though I enjoyed the flavors and concepts of all of them, as in any restaurant there were some I particularly enjoyed. I will do my best to present and address each dish individually when I post my photos later on. There were new techniques, new concepts and new ingredients, but the overall tenor of the meal was built upon Catalan tradition. This was made more evident to me by the fact that my wife's and my 4 dining companions were all native Catalans, who were able to illuminate some subtleties that I would likely have missed.

By the end of the evening I had waxed and waned with multiple second winds and was feeling pretty good. I would have loved to linger a bit longer after the meal, but it was already after 1AM and my wife and I had to drive to Barcelona airport early that morning to fly home.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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We ate the first 8-10 courses there before moving into the main dining room for another 25-30 plates. Fortunately my ability to taste was fully intact. Unfortunately, I filled much more quickly than I ordinarily would and couldn't enjoy all the dishes to the extent that I ordinarily would have as I tried to pace myself.

This sounds like much more than the usual amount of dishes, so I can understand that pacing might have been an issue. Being in the kitchen must have been so cool. What was the atmosphere like? It seemed very quiet and calm for the brief few minutes that I was in it last year, but being there during the service must have been very interesting.

There were new techniques, new concepts and new ingredients, but the overall tenor of the meal was built upon Catalan tradition. This was made more evident to me by the fact that my wife's and my 4 dining companions were all native Catalans, who were able to illuminate some subtleties that I would likely have missed.

I am really looking forward to hearing more about this.

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We ate the first 8-10 courses there before moving into the main dining room for another 25-30 plates. Fortunately my ability to taste was fully intact. Unfortunately, I filled much more quickly than I ordinarily would and couldn't enjoy all the dishes to the extent that I ordinarily would have as I tried to pace myself.

This sounds like much more than the usual amount of dishes, so I can understand that pacing might have been an issue. Being in the kitchen must have been so cool. What was the atmosphere like? It seemed very quiet and calm for the brief few minutes that I was in it last year, but being there during the service must have been very interesting.

It was very cool. I was actually overwhelmed by the attention. The kitchen itself was the model of order and calm attention to their work. Out front in front of the bull it was a bit more hectic with people and cameras and voices and laughter. It was a blast!

There were new techniques, new concepts and new ingredients, but the overall tenor of the meal was built upon Catalan tradition. This was made more evident to me by the fact that my wife's and my 4 dining companions were all native Catalans, who were able to illuminate some subtleties that I would likely have missed.

I am really looking forward to hearing more about this.

Hopefully later today if I get the chance. If not, then Thursday.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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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.

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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.

You have good reason to be excited Victor. I'm afraid that I won't be able to get much if anything else up before Thursday. You will likely have some of the same dishes that we had, but then a number will probably be different as well. Enjoy!

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Here are photos and comments from the "Snacks" portion of our meal, which were served to us while sitting at the table in the kitchen as we were filmed entering the restaurant and sitting down for this portion of the meal. Apparently the video was broadcast on Spanish national tv a few days ago as I received word from friends who saw it and recognized us!

A fair question might be how I managed to get this reservation since I did not get one through thee usual Oct. 15th email channel. In fact I had been turned down at that time. For one thing, not knowing my schedule, I was unable to give a firm time upon my initial request so I was not in the least bit surprised that I had been turned down. Of course, even if I did give a firm time, the likelihood was that I still would have been turned down just out of sheer numbers and probability. In any case, the entire reason for my trip and the way I wound up at elBulli was a direct result of last November's "Spain and the World Table" conference that was part of the CIA/Greystone's amazing "World of Flavor" annual food conferences. While there I had the opportunity to view several of Ferran's demonstrations from close-up and had the opportunity to chat with him. When I half-jokingly told him that alas, I did not get a reservation this year, he suggested that I email him at the beginning of April to see if anything had come available. I did and they did - on my birthday no less! As a result of the Conference my wife and I were returning to Spain regardless of a reservation at elBulli or not, but when it came through that certainly was the icing on the cake.

I was happy enough to have my reservation and chance again to dine at elBulli, but when we walked in and discovered the additional honor and attention, I nearly died. For obvious reasons I could not chronicle our entry. I will just have to rely on my poor memory for that. I did bring some photos that I took at Greystone as gifts for Ferran, which I presented to him upon our arrival.

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Some of our Catalan friends at the table with the television camera observing us right back.

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An unparalleled photo opportunity and an incredible birthday present.

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Juli Soler presenting me with a wonderful bottle of cava.

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Kripta Brut Nature Gran Reserva 2001. Juli Soler said that it would certainly be the best bottle of cava that we would have that day. It was and much more than that!

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Mango Leaves with Tagete Flowers. Much has already been said about these lovely delights. The mango flavor was exceptional.

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Pepitas de Oro or "Golden Nuggets". These were curried crunchies with a fine, clean flavor and good crunch. Fun.

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Catanias Saladas or "Salty Catanias". these were an elBulli version of a classic Catalan chocolate-almond bon-bon. Though somewhat bitter on their own, they married perfectly with the following dish when eaten either directly before or after.

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Beetroot/Yoghurt meringue/profiteroles Light with an airy sweetness, they captured the flavor essence of the perfect beet. When combined with the Salty Catanias the result was synergistic.

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Fritas de Fruta These pineapple "fries" tasted better than the best pineapple while supplying the wonder of how they managed to do it in the first place.

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Alfajenjes These citrus balls were delicious, but I can not figure out what exactly "alfajenjes" are.

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Rice and Parmesan Cookies More wizardry, the flavors and textural contrast were right on. Delicious.

This part of the meal is given over to whimsy and technical prowess and play. It was fun, stimulating and delicious. If only I didn't eat so much in my excitement!

We were then led to our table in the main dining room to complete our meal.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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.

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An unparalleled photo opportunity and an incredible birthday present.

R U kidding me...that is awesome Doc, what a memorable evening :biggrin: The snacks or tapas portion of the El Bulli experience is so impressive from the whimsy to the serviceware. Of course, great shots as well!

Edited by molto e (log)

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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John,

Thanks for sharing your wonderful experiences and pictures.

How did you get the reservation there? I failed in the past 2 years. I guess, one need to stay overnight around Roses area since El Bulli only opens for dinner?

How does El Bulli stand compare to your other Spanish gastronomy, like Can Fabes? I'm curious to try, but not very sure if I will like molecular gastronomy, but my experience of Gagnaire's in Hong Kong is very positive. Could we actually put Gagnaire's cooking similar to Ferran Adria's and Heston Blumenthal's?

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John,

Thanks for sharing your wonderful experiences and pictures.

How did you get the reservation there? I failed in the past 2 years. I guess, one need to stay overnight around Roses area since El Bulli only opens for dinner?

How does El Bulli stand compare to your other Spanish gastronomy, like Can Fabes? I'm curious to try, but not very sure if I will like molecular gastronomy, but my experience of Gagnaire's in Hong Kong is very positive. Could we actually put Gagnaire's cooking similar to Ferran Adria's and Heston Blumenthal's?

If you listen to Santi Santamaria, Can Fabes is the polar opposite to elBulli. I don't buy it. The plating style and sense of experimentation are different and Adria is more willing to explore ingredients from the rest of the world, but both chefs are, in fact, highly creative basing their work on their native Catalan cuisine.

Gagnaire's work and Adria's are not directly comparable. Each is quite unique and personal, although I would venture to say that at this point in time Adria has more imitators. Nevertheless, I have never encountered anyone else to do what Adria does as well as he does. It remains my favorite restaurant in my experience. Early in the season elBulli does serve lunch on Sundays instead of dinner. That would be a good option in lieu of dinner if you didn't want to stay in Roses, although Roses is not a bad place to stay. We had reasonable off-season rates at a hotel considering that it is currently off-season. While the hotel, The Goya Park is no great shakes, at 48 Euros per night (internet rate) it was fine as a place to sleep for a few hours.

elBulli is a unique and wonderful experience. I would recommend continuing to try to get a reservation. The next time to try for 2008 will be around October 15th.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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We were led to a large, comfortable and well lit table in a corner of the main dining room.

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Pistachio Sponge cake with Yuzu and Sesame Sponge Cake. we were instructed to eat the pistachio cake with yuzu cream first to be followed by the sesame cake. I was starting to get full from all the snacks and this course hit me at a bad time as a result. It was fine, but not one of my favorites or one of the more memorable courses of the night.

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Horchata Flowers. This frozen treat was quite refreshing, reminding me of a delicious not-too-sweet horchata that my wife and I had in Valencia with Rogelio and his wife a few days earlier. It helped to rejuvenate my stomach and my palate for at least a few courses.

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Papel de Flores This compressed parchment was composed of floral cotton candy that was muted in its sweetness. Light and airy it was pure flavor. The photos above are meant to convey the process of peeling the "paper" from its presentation base. For a prettier photo of the paper itself see Smoz' post above.

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Peanut and Curry and Mandarin Bonbons. Flavorful morsels, the curried peanut bonbon provided a nice flavor combination with the curry bridging well to the mandarin.

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Raspberry Fondant with raspberry Vinegar. This dish was addressed well by smoz above. This was the last of a fruit and flora tapas part of the meal. Subsequent dishes evolved into a more substantial purely savory portion of the meal.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I am enjoying your reports Docsconz, especially the way you are tantalising us by revealing them bit by bit, a few dishes at a time, looking forward to hearing about your savoury courses.

From your picture it looks as if you had the same table that we did.

Edited by smoz (log)
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I am enjoying your reports Docsconz, especially the way you are tantalising us by revealing them bit by bit, a few dishes at a time, looking forward to hearing about your savoury courses.

From your picture it looks as if you had the same table that we did.

Thanks, smoz. Of course there is no such thing as a bad table at elBulli but that was indeed quite nicely situated! The first time at elBulli we were in a large corner nook where I actually felt comfortable using a flash as it was fairly isolated and private. This was a little bit better for observing the rest of the restaurant.

The little bit at a time approach is not out of a desire to tantalize - it is simply a matter of time management as posts like these take a fair amount of time to put together.

Bryan - I can say that I can't recall anything cooler ever happening to me and I have been a pretty fortunate guy in my life!

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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...continuing into a more savory realm...

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Oyster Yogurt This was amazing. It had perfect oyster flavor and brininess, but with the consistency of fine yogurt.

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Tempura of Pedro Jimenez These tempura sweet grapes were to follow the oyster yogurt. They provided a fine counterpoint.

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Brioche of mozzarella A couple of people in our party preferred to avoid uncooked items and so were sent this instead of the oyster. I did not try it.

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Fresh Almonds These "crystal almonds" are available for only a brief couple of weeks as they occur during a specific part of the maturation of the almond. It is a product that Adria considers as one "with soul". Unfortunately for me, it came at a time of the meal when I was particularly sated and not sufficiently recovered to fully appreciate. My loss as it is unlikely that I will ever have the opportunity to try one again.

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Crab "Anemone" ala Romana This fried crab puff was fun and delicious. I am a sucker for anything with crab. I was starting a brief cycle of gastric recuperation, but then crab will do that for me. Even so, I wish that I was hungrier to enjoy the dish as much as it deserved.

The above courses were served with Pazo de Señorans Seleccion de Añada 2002 Albariño from the Rias Baixas. I love albariños and this one was excellent. As the next courses were served with a different wine accompaniment, I will break here for now.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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The next wine, this one from Mallorca - unusual in itself - was crisp and a fine match for what followed.

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Passion Fruit Raisins These were tasty morsels to break up the savory elements in the course of the meal. Interestingly, these were not listed on our printed menus nor the original kitchen ticket.

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Icy Truffle of meringue To be honest I don't remember much about this dish. :sad:

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Haricot bean with Joselito PancetaThis was one of my favorite dishes of the night. It had a wonderful mouthfeel and great pork flavor integrated with that of the beans.

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Parmesan Frozen Air with Muesli This dish was fun, refreshing and yes, delicious. See smoz' post for a nice photo with the muesli added to the frozen air.

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Anchovy with ham, Stevia Air and Smoked Toasted AlmondIf I wasn't full I would have loved this dish with its use and play on the different taste elements of salt,sweet (Stevia is a natural sweetener from a South American plant), bitter and umami. As it was I couldn't really appreciate it. It was killing me that here I was full and fighting with myself with the bulk of the savory courses and the desserts still to go. This was not a good day to not be feeling my best!

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Gorgonzola Shell, Celery and Apple This dish was subtle, but anther one that I couldn't fully appreciate. At this point in the meal I was shot with my taste buds responding to sweet more than anything else. I had to get up and walk around several times to keep things moving. Each time I did, I managed to feel a little better and rejuvenate for a couple more courses. The tragedy for me was that here I was having my dream meal and I was unable to fully appreciate it. While my stomach was having a hard time, I was able to appreciate the care, effort and ideas that went into each dish. I couldn't and wouldn't finish most of the dishes to preserve what I could of my ability to taste and appreciate them. This got me through the meal without falling into utter despair and once I came to this realization I was able once again to enjoy the meal for what it was and what it meant to me.

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LYO Tomato with Textured Olive Oil The freeze-dried tomato, textured oil and basil was simply a classic tomato salad in a different form. It was delicious and fun. Is a dish like this something I would generally prefer to the original? Flavor wise it would stand up to any non-deconstructed and manipulated salad of the same ingredients so it did not lose anything there. Part of the textural allure was the novelty. That, of course, would be diminished with subsequent tastings, though the textures were pleasant in their own right. In sum, while I don't know that I would prefer it to the original, I can't really say that I would prefer the original either. This was therefore a successful modern course in that it was at least as delicious as the original (and perhaps more-so) while being fun, creative and beautiful (despite the poor quality photo).

A number of the preceding courses as well as the following courses were based on traditional combinations or tweaked from traditional preparations either with the addition of new and/or unusual ingredients, textures and techniques. The LYO tomato is an example of the tweaking of traditional preparations while the haricot bean and Joselito panceta is an example of a variation on traditional combinations utilizing creative technique. There was a range of flavor profiles from pure examples of the ideal product to quite complex flavor combinations. Examples of the former include the pineapple, and other fruit dishes while the anchovy is a clear example of the complex flavor combinations achieved within the context of a single dish.

More examples of elements of Catalan tradition will be forthcoming.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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gallery_8158_4615_34238.jpg

LYO Tomato with Textured Olive Oil The freeze-dried tomato, textured oil and basil was simply a classic tomato salad in a different form. It was delicious and fun. Is a dish like this something I would generally prefer to the original? Flavor wise it would stand up to any non-deconstructed and manipulated salad of the same ingredients so it did not lose anything there. Part of the textural allure was the novelty. That, of course, would be diminished with subsequent tastings, though the textures were pleasant in their own right. In sum, while I don't know that I would prefer it to the original, I can't really say that I would prefer the original either. This was therefore a successful modern course in that it was at least as delicious as the original (and perhaps more-so) while being fun, creative and beautiful (despite the poor quality photo).

A number of the preceding courses as well as the following courses were based on traditional combinations or tweaked from traditional preparations either with the addition of new and/or unusual ingredients, textures and techniques. The LYO tomato is an example of the tweaking of traditional preparations while the haricot bean and Joselito panceta is an example of a variation on  traditional combinations utilizing creative technique. There was a range of flavor profiles from pure examples of the ideal product to quite complex flavor combinations. Examples of the former include the pineapple, and other fruit dishes while the anchovy is a clear example of the complex flavor combinations achieved within the context of a single dish.

More examples of elements of Catalan tradition will be forthcoming.

What was the consistency of the pineapple fries...raw pineapple...fried...hot / cold?

What was under the creamy top of oyster yogurt course?

There is no doubt that the imagination, creativity and inventiveness that is on display be that the serviceware or the actual creations is amazing! Not to sound like Alice Waters, but in the case of the tomato course...why? The perfect heirloom tomato vs freeze dried tomato, I would have liked to seen the natural product incorporated with the inventiveness. Though I am looking at an image rather than tasting it as you did. Obviously, not many, if any diners will eat that course more than once so the novelty will not be challenged.

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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LYO Tomato with Textured Olive Oil The freeze-dried tomato, textured oil and basil was simply a classic tomato salad in a different form. It was delicious and fun. Is a dish like this something I would generally prefer to the original? Flavor wise it would stand up to any non-deconstructed and manipulated salad of the same ingredients so it did not lose anything there. Part of the textural allure was the novelty. That, of course, would be diminished with subsequent tastings, though the textures were pleasant in their own right. In sum, while I don't know that I would prefer it to the original, I can't really say that I would prefer the original either. This was therefore a successful modern course in that it was at least as delicious as the original (and perhaps more-so) while being fun, creative and beautiful (despite the poor quality photo).

A number of the preceding courses as well as the following courses were based on traditional combinations or tweaked from traditional preparations either with the addition of new and/or unusual ingredients, textures and techniques. The LYO tomato is an example of the tweaking of traditional preparations while the haricot bean and Joselito panceta is an example of a variation on  traditional combinations utilizing creative technique. There was a range of flavor profiles from pure examples of the ideal product to quite complex flavor combinations. Examples of the former include the pineapple, and other fruit dishes while the anchovy is a clear example of the complex flavor combinations achieved within the context of a single dish.

More examples of elements of Catalan tradition will be forthcoming.

What was the consistency of the pineapple fries...raw pineapple...fried...hot / cold?

What was under the creamy top of oyster yogurt course?

There is no doubt that the imagination, creativity and inventiveness that is on display be that the serviceware or the actual creations is amazing! Not to sound like Alice Waters, but in the case of the tomato course...why? The perfect heirloom tomato vs freeze dried tomato, I would have liked to seen the natural product incorporated with the inventiveness. Though I am looking at an image rather than tasting it as you did. Obviously, not many, if any diners will eat that course more than once so the novelty will not be challenged.

I do not believe that the pineapple was actually fried. The consistency was dryer than raw pineapple, but it wasn't simply dried. It wasn't crackling crisp, but it had bite. Somewhat candy like but without the cloying sweetness of candy it had perfect pineapple flavor - a curious but delicious bite.

The oyster was basically oyster yogurt - creamy and delicious but without the flavor dilution that cream or real yogurt would have provided. I have no idea how it was made. Unless someone is able to weigh in here we just might have to wait for the 2007 book!

Why the tomato? As Itried to get at above - it is not a question of preference. It was pure flavor that one was able to think about on its own terms because of the novel texture and presentation. Those elements took away the predictability and put the flavor out there on its own terms. I am all forr the perfect tomato, but this restaurant isn't Chez Panisse. What it does is make one look at ingredients, flavors and textures in new ways. This did that - at least for me.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Those elements took away the predictability and put the flavor out there on its own terms. What it does is make one look at ingredients, flavors and textures in new ways. This did that - at least for me.

I fully understand the point that you were making in your description of the dish. I say this not as a knock but as a question...if the spin / riff adds or improves the element great but if the spin is just to "pull a rabbit out of a hat"? Without tasting the dish and feeling its place in the progression of the meal then I am at a disadvantage.

Edited by molto e (log)

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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The oyster yogurt course is an oyster cream that is measured to 25ml and put into the glass with a syringe, then the yogurt foam is put over it with a siphon, and finally some lemon zest on top with a microplane. That course goes out with what they call "raisins" in tempura. The raisins are small spherifications of a type of wine I can't recall at the moment. Then we cover them in sugar for about an hour, then take them out and clean off the excess sugar and then the tempura is applied.

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The pineapple fries are just 10.5cm long sticks of pineapple that are freeze dried. They are room temperature. The consistency is hard to imagine if you haven't had it. It has a somewhat dry rubbery feel.

And for the Meringue course that Doc says he doesn't remember very much. It is a quenelle of carrot sorbet made a la minute with liquid nitrogen. And then tossed around little bots of carrot meringue that have been dehidrated.

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