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smoz

El Bulli 2007 reports

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Great picture.

The 50 guests (or so) that will be chosen to go to "El Bulli" have already been chosen.

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neu. I wish we had met ,we were there the first night. I was taken aback by the tastelessness of so many dishes on the menu, pine cone, etc.I would have really like to have enjoyed this experience. Your pictures are great and i am glad you enjoyed .

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Here are three alternative vegetarian courses that my girlfriend got. Of course there were more but others have been mentioned before as part of the regular menu this season (like the flower paper and two other highlights: the icy truffles of meringue and peas with artichokes purees).

sesame airbag

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This came as a replacement of the pork skin. It was as light as the beetroot meringue and had a strong sesame flavour.

cous cous

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Despite the title this was no cous cous but Adria’s version of a classic combination. There were stripes of tomato powder, olive oil and basil sorbet and a glass of parmegian water (not on the picture). Eaten together this just tasted like the mediteraen classic. The different textures and temperatures added to the sensation.

empanadilla

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This was the hottest dish of the evening. Very spicy green pepper raviolis with liquorice. One of the most interesting combinations of the evening.

ackees

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A Jamaican fruit – related to lychees - with sea cucumber. Very soft.

I’ve never been to a michelin starred restaurant before were so much care was given to a vegetarian’s needs (and they would have even served a complete vegan menu, too).

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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.)

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I did not want to create a whole new thread just to ask my question, so I figured I would post it here.

We will be visiting El Bulli in August and staying at the Port Salins Hotel for the obligatory 3 nights. My questions is: are there any other must go places in that general area? We will have a car, so a short drive is not out of the question.

Thanks in advance for the help.

Regards,

Len

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I can strongly recommend both Rafa's in Roses and Can Roca in Girona. Both restaurants have their own threads in this forum.

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I can strongly recommend both Rafa's in Roses and Can Roca in Girona. Both restaurants have their own threads in this forum.

I concur with these recommendations. Clearly there are a number of other worthwhile restaurants as well. Further discussion of this legitimate question should be directed to another topic though as it is OT for this one.


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 can strongly recommend both Rafa's in Roses and Can Roca in Girona. Both restaurants have their own threads in this forum.

I concur with these recommendations. Clearly there are a number of other worthwhile restaurants as well. Further discussion of this legitimate question should be directed to another topic though as it is OT for this one.

I have created a thread to discuss the matter here: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=104565&st=

Thank you.

Len

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gallery_9106_419_199894.jpg

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.

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Very beautiful victor, thank you for the suggestion!

Definitely looks like a great place to take some food and wine and spend the day!

Cheers,

Len

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Hi All,

We just returned from a wonderful trip to El Bulli (where we ate there on July 09). I have yet to write down detailed thoughts for each of the dishes, but in the meantime have posted our photos up on Flickr:

http://flickr.com/photos/loremipsum/sets/72157600876003992/

After returning and looking through this thread again, it's interesting to see the changes in presentation and shifts in ingredients. Standouts from our visit (for me) were the giant haricot bean, the gorgonzola dome, the razor clams, and the hare juise.

Thanks to this board for providing so much insight for both before and after our visit!

Andrew

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Well it's been a while since the last post on this topic. So I thought I'd throw in some random inside information.

This will be the last season for Chef de Cuisine Albert Raurich. He's been head of the kitchen for 6 years now I think. And after they close the season in October he is going to move on an open his own place in Barcelona which will be a Japanese/Asian inspired tapas place. Should be interesting.

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Well it's been a while since the last post on this topic. So I thought I'd throw in some random inside information.

This will be the last season for Chef de Cuisine Albert Raurich. He's been head of the kitchen for 6 years now I think. And after they close the season in October he is going to move on an open his own place in Barcelona which will be a Japanese/Asian inspired tapas place. Should be interesting.

Should be interesting indeed! Though undoubtedly a blow for elBulli, I have no doubt that he will be highly successful. Yet another reason to return to Barcelona - as if I needed one! :biggrin::cool:


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 had dinner at elBulli yesterday. Long after dinner chat at the terrace with Ferrán and some exchanges with Luis and Juli before and during dinner: as it's been said in here, they're going to close a few more days during the week --the final decision of which days has not been made yet-- but the number of open days in the season won't change, that is, the season will be longer.

Raurich's place at BCN will be called Dos Palitos and it'll have elBulli's full support. Which is a tremendous advantage, if you ask me.


Edited by pedro (log)

PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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I am positive the closing days for 2008 will be Mondays and Tuesdays, as this are the days they used to close the first 3 months of the last few seasons. So I guess it will go wed-sun. I didnt know they would prolong the season like Pedro said, so that's good. I imagine they will probably either start in early march or finish in late october.

Yeah, Raurich's place will definitely have elbulli's support. In fact almost everyday you see him in the kitchen experimenting and developing menu ideas. And then when staff meal comes at 6pm, he serves all the new stuff to Ferran and Albert and all the top guys there, at the center table, to try and get feedback.

Some more news for all of you regarding the next volume of books. It appears as though the next one's will be a trilogy. So that means that 2006, 2007 and 2008 will go together. And Ferran said today that the book will come out until October 2009. So it is still a long time away!

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I'm not so positive since according to Luis aka Lord of the Tables, they're still pondering a couple of options: closing Monday and Tuesday all season or working ten days in a row and then closing 4 days. It seems they did this when Juli and Ferrán went to Documenta and worked well for everybody.


PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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Hello, new member here although I have been a long time browser.

Hi! Newer member and also long-time browser here...

thank you for the report and such- most interesting

But I have one small question, and a rather embarrasing one at that...

I've never really "got" the morphings thing...essentially what "makes" a morphing (tho I admit I may be overthinking it). Anyone out there care to provide me with a short "morphings for dummies"?

Sincerely,

Dante

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A "morphing" is basically their way of saying petit fours. Since they have the menu designed with the snacks first, which are usually savory, and they are just little things to be eaten before the tapas/plates. Then come the pre-desserts and desserts, and then they finish with morphings. Well since they were very similar to the snacks, only sweet, then they thought the word morphing fit well since it "morphs" from savory to sweet towards the end of the meal. So it is basically just petit fours after the desserts.

From 1988-1997 they were called "petit fours". Then from 1998-2000 They were called "Follies". In 2001 they had both "Follies" and "Morphings". And from 2003-present they are only called "Morphs" or "Morphings".

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gabe, do you have any idea how they are made?

that's wat i was wondering when i ate them.

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gabe, do you have any idea how they are made?

yeah- I would second that- v. curious.

Sincerely,

Dante

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A "morphing" is basically their way of saying petit fours.

ah- so perhaps I had simply overthought it...

Since they have the menu designed with the snacks first, which are usually savory, and they are just little things to be eaten before the tapas/plates. Then come the pre-desserts and desserts, and then they finish with morphings. Well since they were very similar to the snacks, only sweet, then they thought the word morphing fit well since it "morphs" from savory to sweet towards the end of the meal. So it is basically just petit fours after the desserts.

Gotcha- so it's essentially mirroring the beginning, then. Interesting rationale for the name. I like it.

Thanx so much for the elucidation. :smile:

Sincerely,

Dante

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No problem. Glad I can help in any way.

Unfortunately right now I don;t know exactly the recipes or exact way in which they make the morphings since they are all made in the pastry department. I know which they are, but not how they are made exactly. That I can remember now they are serving 5 different morphings.

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A friend of my coworker has put an El Bulli reservation on ebay.co.uk. for August.

He wants to sell it at any price. Otherwise, he'll just cancel the booking.

Just thought some of you might be interested.

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I noticed that at El Bulli this year there was an unusual high number of dishes that

included meringue. There's a beetroot meringue, a fever tree tonic meringue, a pistachios meringue

and I think the fresh pine cone was a kind of meringue, too.

Does anyone have a any ideas of why there are so that many meringue dishes?

My speculation would be that the meringue's at El Bulli are done with the freeze drying techique

(though I'm not sure about this) which I think is a relatively new introduction to Adria's repertoire.

Another reason might be that the meringues add an element of crunch and crispness to the dishes

an aspect that is sometimes missing in Adria's preparations.

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I think that when Ferran and Co. find an interesting new technique or product they like to explore its various permutations and possibilities. This may fit into that. I loved that beetroot meringue, but don't recall having had the others mentioned.


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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      A bright green broccoli puree is made with a vita-prep blender. Here, Chef Grant "mohawks" it onto china given to him by Thomas Keller

      Smoked Coho roe has arrived via Fed-Ex, courtesy of Steve Stallard

      Chef Grant devises a plating scheme for the Poached Broccoli Stem while Curtis looks on

      Chef Grant ponders one potential plating of the dish. He called this incarnation 'predictable' and started over.

      Another plating idea. This version is garnished with broccoli petals and ultra-thin slices of connected grapefruit pulp cells. The yellow petals are stand-ins for what will ultimately be broccoli blossoms
      Grant is still displeased at the dish's appearance. "The dish tastes as I envisioned it....texturally complex, with the crispness of the bread, the soft elements of the floret puree and stem, and the pop of the eggs. The buttery richness from the bread gives the stem the flavor of the melted cabbage I loved at the [French] Laundry. And the hot and cold contrasts from the roe and broccoli …I like it…..I just don’t like the way it looks.” Another attempt and the group agrees, it is better but not “the one.” The use of the thinly sliced cross sections of peeled grapefruit energizes the group. In the next rendition, they make small packets with the ultra thinly-sliced grapefruit containing the roe...

      A third plating configuration for Poached Broccoli Stems; this one featuring the packets of roe wrapped in ultra thin sheets of grapefruit pulp cells
      At this point the team decides to move on and come back to it next week. After some conversation they decide that in the final dish, broccoli will appear in at least 5 forms: poached stems, floret puree, some raw form of the stem, the tiny individual sprouts of broccoli florets, and the blooms. Grant feels that Poached Broccoli Stem could be ready for service, although he still envisions some changes for the dish that will make it even more emblematic of his personal style. “Our dishes continue to evolve after they hit the menu. It is important for us to get to know them better before we can clearly see their weaknesses.”
      The thought for the dried crème brulee originated over a year ago when a regular customer jokingly asked for a crème brulee for dessert. “He said it as joke, I took it as a challenge,” says Grant. "Of course, we never intended to give him a regular crème brulee.” The team tried various techniques to create the powder-filled caramel bubble while at Trio to no avail. An acceptable filling for the Dried Crème Brulee has been developed by the Chef and his team but several different methods, attempted today, to create the orb from caramelized sugar have been less than 100% successful.

      Caramel blob awaiting formation. Chef Curtis kept this pliable by leaving it in a low oven throughout the day

      Chef Grant’s initial idea to use a metal bubble ring and heat gun (normally used for stripping paint) to form the bubbles does not work as hoped. Attempts to fashion them by hand also come up short.
      Says Grant, “At Trio we tried a hair-dryer. When Martin told me about these heat guns which get up to 900 degrees F, I thought we had it for sure. If it was easy everyone would do it I guess.” Eventually, Alinea partner Nick Kokonas garners the task’s best result by positioning a small, warm blob of sugar onto the end of a drinking straw and blowing into the other end. The results are promising. Curtis suggests using a sugar pump to inflate the orbs. That adjustment will be attempted on another day.
      “We intentionally position whimsical bite in the amuse slot, it tends to break the ice and make people laugh. It is a deliberate attempt to craft the experience by positioning the courses in a very pre-meditated order. A great deal of thought goes into the order of the courses, a misalignment may really take away from the meal as a whole.” For PB&J, the grapes are peeled while still on the vine and then dipped into unsweetened peanut butter. They are allowed to set–up, and then they are wrapped with a thin sheet of bread and lightly toasted. When the peeled grapes warm, they become so soft they mimic jelly. The composition is strangely unfamiliar in appearance but instantly reminiscent on the palate. PB&J is, according to Grant, virtually ready for service. There are a couple of aesthetic elements, which need minor tweaks but the Chef feels very good about today’s prototype.

      Chef John peels grapes while still on their stems

      Peeled grapes on their stems with peanut butter coating

      Chef Grant studies the completed PB&J in the Crucial Detail designed piece

      PB&J
      Often, creative impulses come by way of Alinea’s special purveyors. “Terra Spice’s support over the past couple of years has been unprecedented, and it has accelerated with the start of the food lab,” says Grant. “It is great to have relationships with people that think like we do, it can make the creative process so much easier. Often Phil, our contact at Terra, would come into the kitchen at Trio and encourage us to try and stump him on obscure ingredients. We always lost, but not from lack of trying. He even brought in two live chufa plants into the kitchen one day.” The relationship has developed and Terra team has really made an effort to not only search out products that the chefs ask for but also keep an eye out for new ingredients and innovations. In August, Phil brought by some samples of products that he thought the Alinea team might be interested in trying.

      Phil of Terra Spice showing the team some samples

      Coconut powder and other samples
      Grant recalls “the most surprising item to me was the dried coconut powder. When I put a spoonful in my mouth I could not believe the intense flavor and instant creamy texture, it was awesome.” That was the inspiration for what is now Instant Tropical Pudding. The guest is presented with a glass filled with dried ingredients. A member of the service team pours a measured amount of coconut water into the glass and instructs the guest to stir the pudding until a creamy consistency is formed.

      The rum-spiked coconut water being added to the powders
      At the end of the day, the Chefs assess their overall effort as having gone “fairly well.” It’s a mixed bag of results. Clearly, the fact that things have not gone perfectly on Day 1 has not dampened anyone’s spirits. The team has purposely attempted dishes of varying degrees of difficultly in order to maximize their productivity. Says Grant, “Making a bubble of caramel filled with powder…I have devoted the better part of fifteen years to this craft, I have trained with the best chefs alive. I have a good grasp of known technique. The lab's purpose is to create technique based on our vision. Sometimes we will succeed, and sometimes we will fail, but trying is what make us who we are." The team's measured evaluations of their day’s work reflect that philosophy.
      According to Chef Grant, “The purpose of the lab is to create the un-creatable. I know the level at which we can cook. I know the level of technique we already possess. What I am interested in is what we don't know...making a daydream reality.” With little more than 100 days on the calendar between now and Alinea’s opening, the Chef and his team will have their work cut out for them.
      =R=
      A special thanks to eGullet member yellow truffle, who contributed greatly to this piece
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