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Sevilla / Seville Restaurants


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Probably not. My wife has been lobbying for a trip to Andalucia this fall. There are few Michelin stars in the area and they are all one stars, remote from each other. With the understanding that a one star in Catalunya where great restaurants abound, is quite different from one that is far distant from another, let alone from a multistarred restaurant, I'm not hopeful of finding great meals, although from what I can reasearch, Tragabuches in Ronda and, perhaps, Cafe de Paris in Malaga, should be interesting in terms of new cooking inspired by the respective chefs' stages in the great restaurants in Catalunya and the Basque area.

Ferran Adria seems to have taken over the Hacienda Benazuza (see thread) in San Lucar la Mayor about 25 k outside of Sevilla. From their web site:

"Los actuales propietarios desde 1998, están asociados desde hace dos años para su explotación técnica-gastronómica con elBulli. Ahora la Hacienda Benazuza forma parte del reción creado concepto: 'elBulliHotel & Resorts'"

"En Hacienda Benazuza hay dos restaurantes que ofrecen diferentes alternativas gastronómicas: 'La alquería', con cocina internacional, 'La Alberca' restaurante al aire libre para tapas snacks. Su bar 'El Gaudarnés' le proporciona una amplia gama de cocktelería."

Rooms at the Hacienda, which seems to be a luxury resort incorporating a tenth century farmhouse and 13th century church within the property, run about the same price as at the Alfonso XIII in Sevilla. I don't know if meals--lunch in particular--are served to those not staying at the inn. I'm also not all that clear about the level of the food. I'm a bit surprised it's stayed off the Michelin radar if Adria has been invovled for two years.

Penelope Casas, an authority on Spain and Spanish food has this to say about Seville, "Forget about restaurants (with a few exceptions) while you are in Sevilla, and live on tapas." Fortunately, she's quite excited by the tapas in Sevilla. She also notes that the fine restaurants also have tapas bars. I may not have the latest edition of Casas' guide book Discovering Spain, so I'm reluctant to cite her recommendations lest they not be up to date. I've found the Michelin Guia Roja, fairly dependable in Spain.

Robert Buxbaum

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Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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Personally, I would not let the Michelin Guide decide for me whether I expect to eat well in Spain or not. To my mind, Michelin misses the point of Spanish food. Now, how to try to clarify my point of view....hmmm.... First, of all, I checked their recommendations against a place I know VERY well, namely, Asturias. Listed was one lone restaurant that merited any stars at all, Casa Gerardo (rated one star). That's it. Now, one eats very well at Casa Gerardo, and I consider it well worth a significant detour to eat there, but the experience of eating there is no more special, unique, or satisfying than that of dozens of other restarurants in Asturias. What it does offer is more polish, feeling of luxury, and approach to cooking that is more haute (for lack of a better way to put it) than most restaurants in Asturias. Which I think is not the point of Spanish food in the first place (although I would hate to have never tasted his chuletón de buey or his stupendous take on arroz con leche). Spanish food is much more driven by quality and freshness of locally-produced ingredients, relative simplicity of preparation, and retaining the integrity of these ingredients. With this in mind, se puede comer bien in many more places in Spain than the Michelin Guide would lead you to believe.

The description of meals at a place like El Racó de Can Fabes sound wonderful indeed (and I certainly hope to eat there one day), but are hardly recognizable, with the exception of some of the ingredients, as Spanish food. But if you apply the standards of French haute cuisine, it fares quite well, obviously.

I've never been to Sevilla, so I have no specific recommendations. But I do have some thoughts:

If there are restaurants anywhere around with even one Michelin star, you will eat very well there.

Penelope Casas knows food, and her book Discovering Spain can be considered reliable , although she's a bit heavy on the "luxury" end of the spectrum for my taste (or as a Spanish friend of mine said when I showed it to him, "Es una guía para millonarios!"). Establishments tend to stay around longer in Spain than some other places (especially a place like New York!), so having a really updated edition isn't strictly necessary.... something from the last 5 years should be fine.

For anyone travelling in Spain with an interest in food, I would strongly recommend trying to get a hold of a copy of the Guía Azul (publ. Ediciones Gaesa) for the region(s) you intend to travel. It's published in Spain (and therefore written in Spanish, but it's an easy enough read with a rudimentary working knowledge of Spanish). Written by Spaniards that know where to go to eat, a glowing recommendation here can be considered utterly reliable. Andalucía is a large enough area to warrant two volumes, so if you order, check to see which includes the area you want.

My restaurant blog: Mahlzeit!

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My best recommendations in Spain have come from individuals. Where I've found Michelin useful is in the stars and when I don't have a personal recommendation. The two and three star restaurants are definitely world class and part of international haute cuisine these days. They are more the food of their chefs perhaps than the food of their country to a great degree and it can be a shame not to find the local food as well. It's my impression that the local food in Spain these days is more regional than the local food in France. By that I mean that it varies more from place to place and places greater emphasis on local materials and is more traditional. France has become rather homogenized and I suspect that is starting to happen to Spain. I don't have enough experience eating all over Spain to really tell.

Generally when driving in an unfamilar area, I've used the Michelin guide and been pleased with the unstarred restaurants the guide has led me to. I've never been able to ascertain if the recommendation is the best possible one, only that it was useful to me. In Barcelona, I've used it to find a local restaurant near my hotel and considering the price and current high expectations for food in Barcelona, I was pleased with a no star recommendation there as well.

In response to some positive comments I made to a Spanish food critic about a restaurant in Jaca that I found thorough its listing in Michelin, I received the following reply. "Re La Cocina Aragonesa: the Spanish Gastronomy Academy, which advises the Campsa Restaurant Guide, met last week, and it was one of the places promoted up to one "sun" (our version of Michelin stars). So we seem to be a bit ahead of Michelin on that one." La Cocina Aragonesa still doesn't have a Michelin star. I gather the Campsa guide is also of some use, although I've yet to use it. If and when I get to Spain next, I will certainly look to make my acquaintance with the Guía Azul as well.

Robert Buxbaum

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Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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By the way, from reading Penelope Casas one gets a sense that in spite of a lack of great restaurants, there is food worth anticipating in Sevilla. In her opinion, it's best taken in tapas bars rather than dining rooms. As Eric Malson suggests, she stays in the most expensive hotel in town, but she recommends crossing the river (canal?) to the Triana neighborhood, which she describes as the old fishermen's quarters, to explore the tapas bars.

Robert Buxbaum

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Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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Hey Eric, welcome to this site, I think you'll find it worthwhile (Eric gave me a superb recommendation - in the fact the only recommendation - when I asked for info on Vigo, on another site so now he's come over to us).

You'll find that some people on this site tend to revere the Michelin Guide as if it's the Holy Grail, I think they are possibly Americans. I agree wholeheartedly that Michelin does not work well in Spain, or, for that matter Italy. As you say they seem to "miss the point" there and having been to a couple of 3-stars in Italy I can tell you that, IMHO, they were far inferior to "genuine" Italian restaurants so buyer beware! Of course France is totally different, the Michelin's DO work there!

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We went to the Taberna del Alabardero three times. It had a Michelin star that we thought well deserved. It has recently lost the star, which comes as a surprise to us. We would like to go back someday.

Egana Oriza has also just lost its star, but we did not think our meal there deserved one.

We kept going back for the tapas at Casa Robles (there are two branches), especially for the bull's tail.

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... some people on this site tend to revere the Michelin Guide as if it's the Holy Grail, I think they are possibly Americans. I agree wholeheartedly that Michelin does not work well in Spain, or, for that matter Italy. As you say they seem to "miss the point" there and having been to a couple of 3-stars in Italy I can tell you that, IMHO, they were far inferior to "genuine" Italian restaurants so buyer beware! Of course France is totally different, the Michelin's DO work there!

The Michelin three star ratings are highly coveted by French chefs and worn proudly by those northern Spanish chefs who have earned them. From what I see, the chefs themselves seem to place as much importance on them as any group of diners, I've met. I won't speak for Italy, nor would I let my opinion of the Italian guide influence my opinion of the Spanish guide. I am an American and I've noticed that some Brits seem to find a chip on the shoulder every time an American makes a comment. I wonder if anyone else has commented on the use of Michelin in Spain. I have very limited experience with it as a restaurant guide, but in four or five trips in the north, when I've run out of leads and had to depend on the Michelin, they delivered a more than acceptable meal. That's actually more than I can say for the French Guide Rouge.

:biggrin:

As I've mentioned, a Spanish restaurant critic didn't find it odd that I used the Michelin although he suggested the Campsa guide, which I haven't run into here in NY, but then I haven't looked hard for it. Of course Michelin sells tires in the states and Campsa doesn't sell gas here, so maybe the don't push the guide here.

:laugh:

The idea that a three star restaurant is far inferior to a "genuine" restaurant just smacks of reverse snobbism.

Robert Buxbaum

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Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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Ferran Adria seems to have taken over the Hacienda Benazuza (see thread) in San Lucar la Mayor about 25 k outside of Sevilla. From their web site:

"En Hacienda Benazuza hay dos restaurantes que ofrecen diferentes alternativas gastronómicas: 'La alquería', con cocina internacional, 'La Alberca' restaurante al aire libre para tapas snacks. Su bar 'El Gaudarnés' le proporciona una amplia gama de cocktelería."

I don't know if meals--lunch in particular--are served to those not staying at the inn. I'm also not all that clear about the level of the food.

We've learned that Hacienda Benazuza prepares meals using the recipes from el Bulli on Tuesday through Saturday, but only in the evening, and never at lunchtime. At lunch they offer traditional and modern dishes with the influence of El Bulli and local Andalusian products. Rafael Morales, the ex-jefe de cocina of Feran Adria in el Bulli for 7 years, is the chef in residence at Hacienda Benazuza.

Robert Buxbaum

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Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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The Michelin three star ratings are highly coveted by French chefs and worn proudly by those northern Spanish chefs who have earned them. From what I see, the chefs themselves seem to place as much importance on them as any group of diners, I've met.

Well, wouldn't you? Never forget chefs are running a business, a business to make money so it's obvious that an achievement like getting into Michelin is a). an honour (sorry, your American, an honor) and, more importantly, b). attracts business - therefore money.

I do, however, agree that there are a couple of restaurants in the San Sebastian area that also have Michelin stars and are of the best in the World!

Also your comment about reverse snobbism means 'you don't get it' :biggrin: I never said that a 3 star should be avoided - just that, particularly in the Med, they are not the be-all-and-end-all that Americans seem to think they are and, in some cases with certain cuisines, they can be very misleading indeed.

Whilst, in Italy especially, I wouldn't discount a Michelin rating but I would be wary. I remember I was in a one in Italy and, on asking for typical Italian dishes, was told by the waiter in a very haughty voice "we don't cook things like that Sir" - well I like 'things like that', when I want French food I go to France (which I did, incidentally, last Sunday and had a truly historic lunch at the Hotel Atlantic in Wimereaux (near Boulogne). Was it a Michelin? I have no idea nor do I care!!

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C'mon now.

Obviously there are gaps between the precision that a three star resturant achieves in the Michelin guide and the mindblowing, complex rabo de toro that you eat in a corner bar (by the way, the thing that was so amazing about El Racó de Can Fabes was that they did both. My main course, the veal shank was not an Frenchy-french dish. It was Spanish cooking heart and soul.)

The virtues of both are vast. American, British . . . and the real eating comes in about now, right?

I wish this board got more posts. Does no one think of Spain as an exciting place for food outside of El Bullí? How sad.

I enjoyed Sevilla for tapas. I remeber eating átun en adobo there as well as a seafood that the barman explained to us as things on the rocks . . . when the divers come up they get scared and fall off. They turned out to be sea anemones. Interesting fer certain.

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Thanks for the responses. Still have to convince my wife, but hoping to make the trip.

As for Michelin, There work in Italy (as previously suggested) dismisses them in my mind from outside of France- The three stars there are French meals in Italy- Delicious, but not up to Parisian standards, and not what we look for in loacl cuisine.

Cheers,

Charles

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I wish this board got more posts. Does no one think of Spain as an exciting place for food outside of El Bullí? How sad.

I do, too. For me, Spain is the most exciting place for food I've ever been. Perhaps a bit unfortunately, my greatest passion and expertise is limited to an area most tourists don't go, namely northwest and north central Spain. It's not much fun waxing rhapsodic about things no one is interested in! :smile:

Then, of course, there's Portugal.....also pretty interesting in the food department....

My restaurant blog: Mahlzeit!

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Well, wouldn't you? Never forget chefs are running a business, a business to make money so it's obvious that an achievement like getting into Michelin is a). an honour (sorry, your American, an honor) and, more importantly, b). attracts business - therefore money.

I suppose I can't convince you that chefs speak with some pride about their work and enjoy critical acclaim as does any artist or artisan. It's not only about the money, but of course how would I know, I am an American and I gather you're from the UK. Try not to worry too much about the spelling.

:biggrin:

Also your comment about reverse snobbism means 'you don't get it'  :biggrin: I never said that a 3 star should be avoided - just that, particularly in the Med, they are not the be-all-and-end-all that Americans seem to think they are and, in some cases with certain cuisines, they can be very misleading indeed.
Under certain conditions and in certain situations red may be blue for all I know. The problem with stereotyping is that it indicates a prejudice. It's not that you disrespect all Americans because of what I've said, but that you don't bother to read what I write because you don't need to read what Americans write. I have never said that Michelin is the end all in any country, including France. I've been quite critical about inclusions and omissions, but you can dismiss that because you already know what I mean as I'm an American. You can also dimiss what I've said in this thread about using Michelin to find unstarred restaurants in areas in which I have no other recommendations. I get it all too well. The worst thing about the Michelin Guides is that they're run by a Brit.

:biggrin:

when I want French food I go to France (which I did, incidentally, last Sunday and had a truly historic lunch at the Hotel Atlantic in Wimereaux (near Boulogne). Was it a Michelin? I have no idea nor do I care!!
Well of course it's in both Michelin and GaultMillau. How do you find new restaurants? Can you tell just by the cover how good a read the book is, or do you use recommendations?

:biggrin:

Robert Buxbaum

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Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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I wish this board got more posts. Does no one think of Spain as an exciting place for food outside of El Bullí? How sad.
I agree. I sem to recall much earlier commenting about the contrast between a meal several years ago at El Bulli and one the next day at Can Majo in Barcelona. Both are listed in Michelin, but Can Majo has no stars and a single fork and spoon. It was hard for me to state categorically which meal I loved more. Of course Can Majo is not really the opposite of El Bulli. Sitting by the beach peeling shrimp cooked with peppers, onions and garlic and eating them with your bare hands has some Adria-like quality to it. I did not like Spanish food when I first traveled to Spain the early sixties (Catalunya does not count.) and it's taken me a long time to rediscover both the haute cuisine of Spanish chefs involved with the the new cooking, and regional cooking as well as that inbetween category of local chefs who have been influenced by traveling, reading and eating or working in kitchens outside their region. I've often bemoaned the lack of interest in these foods, although my recent interest and knowledge is fairly limited to the north from Catalunya to Galicia and even there I've not been along the coast west of Blibao and east of around Cambados in Galicia.
I enjoyed Sevilla for tapas. I remeber eating átun en adobo there as well as a seafood that the barman explained to us as things on the rocks . . .  when the divers come up they get scared and fall off. They turned out to be sea anenomes. Interesting fer certain.

Percebes?

Robert Buxbaum

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I enjoyed Sevilla for tapas. I remeber eating átun en adobo there as well as a seafood that the barman explained to us as things on the rocks . . .  when the divers come up they get scared and fall off. They turned out to be sea anenomes. Interesting fer certain.

Percebes?

Probably not....percebes are goose barnacles (although I am enjoying the mental image of goose barnacles getting scared and falling off their rocks!). I used to eat them in Portugal and the Açores....never noticed them in Spain, but I think they're readily available in Galicia.

"Sea anemone" is anémona de mar, but it could be almost anything. (For instance, Portuguese has at least 4 completely different words for what we think of as "crab", depending on the specific type.)

My restaurant blog: Mahlzeit!

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I enjoyed Sevilla for tapas. I remeber eating átun en adobo there as well as a seafood that the barman explained to us as things on the rocks . . .  when the divers come up they get scared and fall off. They turned out to be sea anenomes. Interesting fer certain.

Percebes?

Probably not....percebes are goose barnacles (although I am enjoying the mental image of goose barnacles getting scared and falling off their rocks!). I used to eat them in Portugal and the Açores....never noticed them in Spain, but I think they're readily available in Galicia.

"Sea anemone" is anémona de mar, but it could be almost anything. (For instance, Portuguese has at least 4 completely different words for what we think of as "crab", depending on the specific type.)

You're right. I think it would be tough to scare a barnacle of any kind, let alone scare them off. :biggrin:

Percepbes are eaten in Galicia, but I think they're either seasonal or rare.

The more I think about it, I think I recall someone using the term sea anemone here in this board, but my search came up blank. Could it have been in relation to espardeñas or espardenyas? They are commonly referred to as sea cucumbers, but remind me of nothing like what I see in Chinatown sold as sea cucumbers.

Robert Buxbaum

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Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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The espardenyes (correct spelling, I believe) I've had in Spain have been very tender, the sea slug, as I recall, is not. Perhaps it's how they areprepared or the variety. Here from an earlier thread on El Bulli quoted here as that thread is long and going there would require too much further searching.

A somewhat belated (and prosaic, given subsequent posts) response to the sea cucumber question. It is so little known outside Catalunya that it often appears on menus as "espardenya", in quotation marks, because the non-Catalan-speaking Spanish don't recognise its castellano translation - cohombro.

Espardenya, incidentally, is Catalan for espadrille - which it's supposed to resemble, lying flat on the sea bed. (I think in France it's known as 'sandale de mer').

If anyone has Alan Davidson's superb Companion to Food, look up the entry for sea cucumber. I guarantee you will not read a more entertaining snippet of food writing this year.

First, to Jennifer and also to Bux,

re: Espardenyes

Yes, thanks for the reference to Davidson: truly delightful piece of writing.  Espardenyes is Catalan plural for Espardenya: sorry for the carelessness.  I was up at Northwestern University yesterday and stopped by the library to look up on the anatomy of the class Holothuroidea (the class of sea cucumbers) because it is not at all very clear in Davidson (and in Colman Andrews) exactly which parts of the Stichopus regulis are eaten.  My own impression is that, in high-cuisine/restaurants, the leathery body-wall/epidermis is not served.  It is the inner layer of circular muscles and specifically the longitudinal retractor bands that one cuts out for use.  Ferran Adria uses the word "filamentos" to refer to these retractor muscles which work just like rubber bands and allow the animal to stretch and contract at will.

Robert Buxbaum

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How do you find new restaurants? Can you tell just by the cover how good a read the book is, or do you use recommendations?

:biggrin:

Quite right Bux. Don't forget that any creative person considers himself an artist but your Rick Stein's of this World would run a mile if there was no money in it! You, as an American, should know that more than anybody.

How do I find restaurants? Well I have been going to Wimeraux for 12 years now and I found it by a very simple ploy - I asked. Actually I asked, what I thought, was the best 'type' of person at the Tourist Office in Boulogne. As always she gave me a long list and stated that she was not allowed to recomend any particular place. So I then asked her 'if your boyfriend was taking you somewhere really special tonight - where would you want to go?'. Voila! The Hotel Atlantic.

So I mostly use recommendations and in fact used a recommendation for Vigo from Eric Molson who is on this very site as we speak - and it was good.

In Italy though, the best way is this:

Drive up to a crowded bus stop and ask for the best restaurant in the area. That will start a massive argument which in itself is fun. Then, after 10 minutes they will stop and tell you about a place that they have all decided on. As the Italians have this misconception that foreigners actually like the food in expensive monstrosities you ignore this and then say, 'fine, but where do YOU eat'? At this point they will mutter things like...too dirty...not nice atmosphere...food too simple...too cheap....small...difficult to find etc. etc. Once you have prised the name and directions out of them then GO and you will have a Great Experience.

Can you imagine driving up to a bus stop in America and asking those in line? What would they recommend? Come on Bix, tell me :biggrin: Ponderosa? Olive Garden?

The best one was in a bank in Courmayer. My question created a mini-riot amongst patrons and employess alike. After 15 mins of discussion they all decided on a restaurant in Aosta (even going so far as to wax lyically as to what would be in season right now) and then they called the place to make sure it was open (Italy has a law which insists on restaurants having a 'day of rest'). Finally when I asked how long would it take to drive there I wasn't given the usual answer - I was asked which car I drove!

Italians you've got to love 'em! Needless to say the meal was mind-boggling and I've been back a few time since.

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Quite right Bux. Don't forget that any creative person considers himself an artist but your Rick Stein's of this World would run a mile if there was no money in it! You, as an American, should know that more than anybody.

The stereotyping is far more tiresome than it is amusing, but let's take "my" Rick Stein for a minute. I would have thought that he's "yours" not "mine," but perhaps I'm missing the right sort of distinction your "kind make" about "my kind." You'd be surprised at how naive Americans can be. Let's see, he's an Oxford grad who opened his own restaurant as a chef. Does that really strike you as the fast path to the money? That he's done well at it, is something else, but it seems to offend you. As to what I should know as an American, you forget that we don't pay all that much attention to the UK when it comes to food and restaurants. I know very little about Stein. Has he earned Michelin Stars?

There's a world of difference in our outlook towards eating I suppose. I don't have the confidence that the desk clerk at the tourist office is a better judge of restaurants than the guys Michelin hires. In the south of France, where friends of ours live, I am well aware that their friends mostly eat in the least expensive restaurants in the area. Most of them equate good value with large portions. Fortunately there are no bus stops in the area for me to think of asking for bad information. I have to rely on a small network of people dedicated to seeking out the best meals and vineyards in the region.

Robert Buxbaum

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Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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I don't have the confidence that the desk clerk at the tourist office is a better judge of restaurants than the guys Michelin hires.

You just don't get it, do you? And it has nothing, I repeat, nothing to do with money. It may be the case for your friends in the South of France but certainly not for me.

Also, FYI, we use the word 'your' (as in 'your Rick Stein' ) as a figure of speech as anyone who lives in Britain will tell you. It's not to be taken literally as you obviously have :laugh:

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Quite right Bux. Don't forget that any creative person considers himself an artist but your Rick Stein's of this World would run a mile if there was no money in it! You, as an American, should know that more than anybody.
You just don't get it, do you? And it has nothing, I repeat, nothing to do with money. It may be the case for your friends in the South of France but certainly not for me.

Thank you. I get it. It was about Rick Stein's athletic prowess. Now explain how my friends in the south fit in to this when I spoke of their friends' taste in restaurants. :huh:

Robert Buxbaum

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Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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I wish this board got more posts. Does no one think of Spain as an exciting place for food outside of El Bullí? How sad.

I do, too. For me, Spain is the most exciting place for food I've ever been. Perhaps a bit unfortunately, my greatest passion and expertise is limited to an area most tourists don't go, namely northwest and north central Spain. It's not much fun waxing rhapsodic about things no one is interested in! :smile:

Then, of course, there's Portugal.....also pretty interesting in the food department....

Who says we're not interested? Please do post about your experiences up north! Next time I am in Spain I plan on exploring the País Vasco or Galicia. In fact, the only reason I went to Catalunya instead of Galicia this past summer was because of a restaurant (I am easily swayed by good food) . . . so please write up those recommendations!

And Portugal is rapidly creeping up my list as well.

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