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El Bulli 2007 reports


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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.

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.

Thanks Gabe, when you say tempura is applied can you give a little detail on that?

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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I personally haven't seen the moment when the "raisins" are breaded and fried so I'm sot sure as to the exact composition of the tempura batter. But I've made the raisins a lot though. Because they used to have the same raisins, along with 2 other type of "raisins" for an anchovy dish that is no longer on the menu. Now they are using just this ones for the oyster dish. That is one thing I've discovered here, is that they usually use their garnishes in different ways for more than one dish as they take them off the menu.

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I personally haven't seen the moment when the "raisins" are breaded and fried so I'm sot sure as to the exact composition of the tempura batter. But I've made the raisins a lot though. Because they used to have the same raisins, along with 2 other type of "raisins" for an anchovy dish that is no longer on the menu. Now they are using just this ones for the oyster dish. That is one thing I've discovered here, is that they usually use their garnishes in different ways for more than one dish as they take them off the menu.

Gabe,

I was not sure you when you said the tempura was applied that you meant it was fried so that is why I asked. I thought perhaps there was a different method of tempura being used.

Thanks,

Molto E

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Doc-

I have not commented on this, but have been following your meal with nostalgia, jealousy and awe. The only dish I recognize from our visit in 2005 ifs the elbulli air course! This experience is simply unequaled. Sorry, you did not feel in tip top shape that night. Keep them coming

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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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.

Molto-

The way I see it, at a place like elBulli, it not 'why?', it's 'why not?'. Chefs are trying new things. Some of them new flavor combinations, the others are new textures with familiar flavors and so on. Sure, not all dishes work for everyone, but that's the beauty of it if you ask me. Like Doc already said many of these dishes are not meant to improve on the original, but just to take it in a different direction.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Well said, Elie. elBulli is a place to encounter food in new ways and to expand one's perceptions of what food is and can be. It certainly makes no sense to me when manipulation results in an inferior product, but I have never encountered that at elBulli. The first time I had the spherical olive I was beside myself. Was it because it was "better" than a good regular olive? No, but because it was as good, but different and unexpected. It brought out my sense of wonder and amazement. To do that anywhere is great, but to do that in an extraordinary setting with the best service anywhere is superlative.

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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Polenta Gnocchi I am afraid that my memory of this dish also got caught up and lost amongst the sheer quantity of dishes and my own gastric distress. I recall it as good, though it didn't stand out amongst the other dishes.

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Razor Clams in Escabeche My wife and I had grilled razor clams along with grilled sardines for lunch at Kiosk Universal in the Boqueria that afternoon. These were quite different. The razor clams at Universal were very tasty and good. These were incredibly tender and perfectly cooked. The accompanying escabeche was a tad on the bitter side, which worked with the sweetness of the clams. I would love another go at this dish on a normal stomach, but then the same is true for all the dishes I had that night. This was a take-off on classic Catalan cooking.

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Asparagus in Different Cooking Times. This dish was a treat for the entire table, but especially for my Catalan friends who were not used to having fresh cojonudos or large white asparagus. The majority of these vegetables are eaten after having been canned. Fresh ones of the quality we had here are apparently rare or quite expensive. These provided variations in flavor and texture and was a fascinating dish. The little yellow dots are treated egg yolk.

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Liquid Won Ton of Mushrooms This dish was stellar with bright, clean mushroom flavors. We had been at Petras in the Boqueria earlier, where Llorenc told us that someone from elBulli had recently left having purchased mushrooms for the restaurant. I imagine that these flavorful beauties were amongst them. Unfortunately, I do not know the name of the mushroom variety used.

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Spring Peas on Begonia Leaves with Almonds and Puree of ArtichokesThis was a special dish that I could not have appreciated nearly as much without my Catalan friends to put it into perspective. The peas were marvelous, local peas with an approximate two-week window of availability. They have a tremendous reputation locally as a premier seasonal delicacy and I can understand why.

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Espardenyes 2007 The first time I ever had espardenyes was at elBulli in 2005. I loved them then and I loved them now.

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Crab Marrakech The crabmeat was perfectly presented as whole muscle bundles. It was sweet and succulent, nicely balanced by the Moroccan spices.

To this point, of the meal, there were plenty of technical elements in the cooking, but they were relatively muted and not in your face, especially after the initial snacks. With the following dishes the technical aspects once again became more apparent, but even so, the traditional bases of the dishes remained clear.

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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Hare Juice This modern dish incorporated all the savoriness that I believe a rabbit can muster. A gelee of slightly sweet fruit based broth was surrounded by a hot rabbit broth that was utterly delicious and full of umami with great balance of the different elements of taste. The dish had just been added to the menu that week and it may have been my absolute favorite of the night.

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Sesos de Cordero con su Jugo I left this title in the original Spanish as there may be a little pun involving the word seso and the visual representation of the dish, but I will leave it to see if others share my occasionally warped mind :raz: In any case this is a dish of lamb brains in its own juice. The brains are not served whole or in a recognizable fashion, but instead liquefied and served as a spherification. According to our Catalan friends lamb brains are a traditional food served to children and this brought back some childhood memories. Visually, I found the inclusion of the walnuts to be of interest as they resembled miniature brains on the plate. I enjoyed this dish.

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Wool 2007 I recall liking this dish, but alas, I don't recall specific details of it as my extreme satiety returned after devouring the sesos.

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Sweet Frost Fruits. The one in the photo is raspberry that had some vinegar added to it with an eyedropper. This was a frozen dish.

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Mandarin This was pure citrus in another guise - delicious and refreshing.

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My birthday "cake", this was a cleverly lit block of carved ice with a candle on it for me to make a wish.

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Morphings. These were all excellent, but the specifics bypassed my spent body. One wish that I had was that if I am fortunate enough to have a "next time" at elBulli my stomach will be in better shape to handle it. Despite the pitiful state of my stomach, I had a wonderful night spending it with great friends amongst the most creative culinary team on the planet in one of the most magical settings I know of. Unfortunately, we dared not linger too much longer as my wife and I had to drive back to Barcelona airport early the next morning for our flight 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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Fabulous pictures and a great report from what sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I am, of course, insanely jealous, but of all people I'm sure *you* appreciated it, Doc!

Si

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Great report. As we discussed in my travel foodblog, I think that El Bulli, based on your pictures, offers the most pure version of modern cookery that leaves the superficial constraints of traditional dishes behind. Yes, it is plainly obvious that much of Chef Adria's cuisine is drawn explicitly from his native Spain, but the way in which the dishes are served is truly otherwordly and revolutionary. I will need to visit, somehow.

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Doc,

That's really fantastic. Glad to see all your dishes in El Bulli

Honestly, were you really full? Imagining my self, I might still feel hungry after eating there. So now, I think the numerous small dishes in El Bulli could be similar to Alinea and/or L'Arnsbourg. Does chef Achatz follow the step set by Ferran Adria?

Thanks

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Gluttony:

"I remember, last year we had a very late lunch in rosas at 4pm and i couldn't stop eating, it was to good".

Gourmet:

"4 hours later i was happy when i saw the size of the dishes".

Some kind of quatrature.

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Doc,

That's really fantastic. Glad to see all your dishes in El Bulli

Honestly, were you really full? Imagining my self, I might still feel hungry after eating there. So now, I think the numerous small dishes in El Bulli could be similar to Alinea and/or L'Arnsbourg. Does chef Achatz follow the step set by Ferran Adria?

Thanks

Orinarily that would have been a perfect amount of food as it was for my wife who I normally out-eat. Unfortunately, of all nights, I wasn't feeling quite up to par and my dining ability was hampered. That I did as well as I did was a testament to the food and the restaurant.

The Tour at Alinea is stylistically similar to that at elBulli in terms of the interweaving of savory and sweet throughout the meal as well as blurring of the distinctions between the two. The style of the food itself, though is quite different.

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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Click on the following link for a documentary in spanish done by RTVE on elBulli after they received their award for best restaurant in the world. Scroll down to the end of the page and click on the blue video icon where it says elbulli:

elBulli Spanish TV report

Towards the end of the video you can see docsconz's meal at the chef's table! Looking good Doc.

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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 :rolleyes: ). 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 :smile: )- 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.

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I ate at The Bulldog for the first time at the end of April, and I can confirm that it lived up to the sky-high expectations that must plague such a restaurant.

The things that impressed me particularly, beyond many of the dishes already described (the spherical olives, beetroot meringue, yuzu sponge cake, haricot bean puree in Iberico, the raisins of PX accompanying, in our case, the anchovy with cardamom brioche, the wool and the butterfly were standouts among an almost flawless meal) were those moments when the kitchen pulled back from the technique a bit.

The snail's eggs ("snails 'a la llauna'") and the asparagus in different cooking times were among those moments (I loved the tiny balls of frozen yolk with the asparagus) but "The Sea" was my favourite. It was really just eight or nine types of seaweed, presented very simply around a little waft of what I like to think was sea foam. No liquid nitro, not calcium chloride (as far as I know), just a brilliant idea resulting in an inspired, startling, thoroughly absorbing dish.

Has anyone else had it since or can anyone shed more light on its composition? I think I can identify maybe three of the weeds/sea vegetables on the plate, tops.

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Hello oesophaghus. I can give you some more info on "the sea" plate since I helped plate it a few times.

The seaweeds used varied a little, but basically like you said it is about 9 types of seaweeds. Some of them are raw and some have a certain degree of cooking. I honestly don;t remember all the names, one that is light green and very light is called 'sea lettuce', and another light yellow one was 'kombu'. But the others basically came packaged with the scientific names on them.

The dish is supposed to go in a specific order from the lightest flavor all the way to the strongest flavors at the end of the circle. All the seaweeds are placed ahead of time for time reasons since it is a very detailed dish. Then when they call to fire it you put:

- the sea lettuce and kombu since those 2 dehydrate very fast so they need to be put just before sending it out.

- Then it had a cube of watermelon in the center (some tables got it with no watermelon because they had already had a previous dish with watermelon on it),

- A little juice released from the cooking of one of the red seaweeds over the watermelon

- Then 2 flowers and leaves from a plant called "borraja"

- another sea product called 'uva del mar' (this translates to 'sea grape'. They get them packed freah in a bag with liquid. It looks like a little green string with little balls all over it. You through it in cold water and after like 30 seconds they hydrate and the balls fill up and expand and it has a very intense salt water taste)

- Inka Ichi oil over all the seaweeds

- Last two mounds of seawater foam on both sides of the watermelon.

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Thanks to advice from this board, we got a table for 2 on Friday May 11th. I've finally gotten around to sorting out our photos and compiling a report - we had a great time and loved the experience, although after reading his report, I'm a bit jealous of Dr. Sconzo! You can see the full, picture-heavy, very long post here.

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Thanks to advice from this board, we got a table for 2 on Friday May 11th.  I've finally gotten around to sorting out our photos and compiling a report - we had a great time and loved the experience, although after reading his report, I'm a bit jealous of Dr. Sconzo!  You can see the full, picture-heavy, very long post here.

Great report and photos! Thanks for posting the link. It is interesting and instructive to note the similarities and differences of our meals one week apart. Though we did not have entirely the same meal, one dish was quite notable by the difference in presentation from one week to the next - the gorgonzola ice cream. Below is the version that we were served. Yours appears to have been turned over with the bowl now a dome concealing the remainder of the contents adding mystery to the dish. Other dishes were also somewhat different, but I thought that to be the most profound change in presentation.

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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Click on the following link for a documentary in spanish done by RTVE on elBulli after they received their award for best restaurant in the world. Scroll down to the end of the page and click on the  blue video icon where it says elbulli:

elBulli Spanish TV report

Towards the end of the video you can see docsconz's meal at the chef's table! Looking good Doc.

Damn, 'Doc, you're on TV!!! :smile::smile::smile: !

Terrific documentary, thank you for posting, Gabe!

Btw, looked like you were on the show too?

What a great insight into the kitchen.

Where are most of the stagiere's from?

You guys are TOOO blessed!

Thanks for the great reports

Edited by tan319 (log)

2317/5000

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Thanks to advice from this board, we got a table for 2 on Friday May 11th.  I've finally gotten around to sorting out our photos and compiling a report - we had a great time and loved the experience, although after reading his report, I'm a bit jealous of Dr. Sconzo!  You can see the full, picture-heavy, very long post here.

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 :huh: - I do have a photo of the gorgonzola ready to go)

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