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The Flame

elBulli 2008 reports

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The elbulli season has already gotten underway since late march so just wondering if anyone has been there to eat yet and has any reports/photos to share?

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The elbulli season has already gotten underway since late march so just wondering if anyone has been there to eat yet and has any reports/photos to share?

I had a wonderful lunch there on Sunday (e.g. on the fifth day of the 2008 season - they began on Wednesday, April 2nd) :rolleyes:

But it will take a few days before I sort out all my photos (we only got back home to Estonia late last night, so I need to unpack first).


Edited by Pille (log)

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my wife and i went on wednesday april 9th and i will have a full report when i return home....


Sandy Levine
The Oakland Art Novelty Company

sandy@TheOaklandFerndale.com www.TheOaklandFerndale.com

www.facebook.com/ArtNoveltyCompany twitter: @theoakland

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I'm excited to read the positive impressions so far. I'm looking forward to reading the details.


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 going to Girona, Spain in a few weeks, which is about an hour away from El Bulli. I had heard that El Bulli accepts some walk-ins, and was wondering if anyone else knows more about this and, if they do accept them, what the best way of going about doing that would be.

Also, since we realize that the chances of actually getting a walk-in would be very slim if it does exist, does Roses make a nice day trip? Are there things to do and other fun places to eat?

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I am going to Girona, Spain in a few weeks, which is about an hour away from El Bulli. I had heard that El Bulli accepts some walk-ins, and was wondering if anyone else knows more about this and, if they do accept them, what the best way of going about doing that would be.

Also, since we realize that the chances of actually getting a walk-in would be very slim if it does exist, does Roses make a nice day trip? Are there things to do and other fun places to eat?

There are a few good places to eat in Roses including the wonderful Rafa's. I would suggest having a fall-back reservation there (if you can) as you will in all probability need it. Rafa's is probably one of the best places in Spain (and therefore the world) to eat pristine, well-prepared, but simple seafood. The premises are nothing fancy and most likely your table will be in the street. In many respects it is the antithesis to elBulli, though they complement each other perfectly.

Roses itself is nothing special for a day trip, however, nearby Cadaques is. Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of that seaside village is the home of Salvador Dali, which is well worth visiting.

There are other interesting restaurants in the area as well, but since I do not have first-hand experience with them, I will refer you to further research in the forum.


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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Also, do you know if walk-ins are even possible?

In theory, yes, as all bookings must be confirmed a week (or 10 days?) in advance, and if you fail to do that, you'll lose your table, and somebody else might get it :)

I'm not sure how many people cancel their bookings, however :unsure:


Edited by Pille (log)

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docsconz - thanks for the fast reply, Rafa's sounds wonderful (do you know if this is the place they visited in Anthony Bourdain's Decoding Ferran Adria?). Also, do you know if walk-ins are even possible?

Yes, it is the same Rafa's. BTW, there is a Rafa's in cadaques that is not at all connected to the one in Roses. Walk-ins may be possible, but are unlikely. rafa's doesn't even open if he doesn't have good fish.


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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Hello all,

I'm going to be in Roses this coming weekend and I'm looking for somewhere to eat on Sunday evening. From what I have read, either Rafas or Cal Campaner but I'm unsure if they are open on a Sunday.

Does anyone know?

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I am going to Girona, Spain in a few weeks, which is about an hour away from El Bulli. I had heard that El Bulli accepts some walk-ins, and was wondering if anyone else knows more about this and, if they do accept them, what the best way of going about doing that would be.

Also, since we realize that the chances of actually getting a walk-in would be very slim if it does exist, does Roses make a nice day trip? Are there things to do and other fun places to eat?

We tried going to Rafa's. I had heard that you had to call on the same day to make a reservation; we came by around noon and he said we had to call the day before. horribly disappointed (we had to leave early the next morning), we went to La Barretina instead on the recommendation of our bulli taxi driver. we couldn't have been more thrilled- though it was over $200 usd for my wife and i (lunch), it was probably the best seafood either of us have ever had. Here are the pics from La Barretina. The blue bottle was served with our fantastic and hilarious server's compliments and was described as 'gasoline'. i don't recommend it. other than that the sole, shrimp, clams, and anchovies were amazing. we did see a gentleman walk in with a giant rubber bag filled with just-caught fish about halfway through our meal. The pics from Bulli are coming up...


Sandy Levine
The Oakland Art Novelty Company

sandy@TheOaklandFerndale.com www.TheOaklandFerndale.com

www.facebook.com/ArtNoveltyCompany twitter: @theoakland

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Unfortunately some of our pics didn't come out so well, and i couldn't figure out how to caption the photos individually, so I will do my best to describe the dishes in the proper order based on the order of the slideshow. a few of the courses were somewhat lost in translation and i didn't really feel as if i had a hold on exactly what they were. anyway, here goes

El Bulli Photos

Tangerine

Spherical Olives- amazing flavor that lingered forever. I couldn't really see into the container and after a couple of minutes when our server offered me another i was overjoyed. the texture wasn't really like an olive at all, more like a bubble filled with the true essence of olive, more so than a regular olive. I remember feeling this about a lime course at alinea. it's impressive that someone can make something taste more like itself than it does by itself. not sure if that makes sense.....

rose a tiny white sphere kind of like a really soft pill that (of course) tasted exactly like a rose.

(olive container)

(charger)

(curtains)

pine kernel and chocolate bonbons - heavenly

crunchy rabbit ear

nori- trias

tomato cookie crunchy like a potato chip and intense dried tomato flavor

(tomato cookies)

beetroot coral

"coquito 2008"

coconut - i don't recall what they called this, but it was coconut two ways, and aside from the incredible coconut flavor, the texture was amazing. sort of like ice cream made of powdered sugar

(view from our table)

sisho flexia caramel with soft candy this was like a thin and easily breakable fruity candy shell (every time i tried to grab it it broke, providing my wife yet another reason to make fun of me)

(soft candy) jello like fruity candies

black sesame sponge cake with miso (2 pics)- unreal. the most moist cake i've ever had, and a brilliant placement of this dish in the progression of the meal.

flowers paper (3 pics)- cotton candy with flowers. awesome. the table next to us was in hysterics over this.

fried brioche shanghai 2 pics- kind of like a slider. again, amazing texture of the bun, my wife's favorite course.

(spoon) silverware had cool designs that didn't come up in photos

horchata truffle - the only course i wasn't blown away by. the truffle cream and truffle oil were spectacular, but the item in the center (some sort of nut?) had a texture that was difficult to chew and i had a hard time enjoying it.

more to come......


Sandy Levine
The Oakland Art Novelty Company

sandy@TheOaklandFerndale.com www.TheOaklandFerndale.com

www.facebook.com/ArtNoveltyCompany twitter: @theoakland

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el bulli photos (continued)

(view from our table)

oyster with yogurt (2 pics)

px in tempura

haricot bean with Joselito's iberian pork fat - there was some confusion in the explanation of the black item- it was described to us as garlic, but i didn't really get any garlic flavor from it.

(steps outside)

(outdoor patio) sorry about the quality

(pool of water with candles and rosepetals at entrance)

(restroom)

tangerine flower/pumpkin oil - incredible. evidence of the the whole being far greater than the sum of its parts

cocktail of fresh almonds.... - my lovely wife being the only thing that could make it look any better :)

.....almonds jelly

tomate soupe with virtual iberian ham - clear tomato broth with ultra-thin strips of ham flavored gelatinous delight

(i can't recall what this was and it doesn't seem to be on our menu) - 2 pics

grapefruit thai risotto - was actually described to us as carpaccio, but i like the menu description of risotto better. regardless, the first thing i thought of was the 40 chefs prepping the grapefruit for this dish. amazing.

asparagus in different cooking times - each had a different sauce and we'd had too much wine for them to stay in my memory, but this was a great great course. the yellow dots are frozen egg yolk spheres

begonia leaf with peas and almonds oil - the only course my wife didn't like. we both had a hard time getting the leaf and peas onto the fork... the artichoke was awesome. the plate was really cool too, so i took an extra pic

gnocchi of polenta with coffee and safran yuba - hands down my favorite course. gianduja sprinkled on top made it, but again the texture of the gnocchi (how is this made?) was almost liquid and totally melted in your mouth.

razor clam with seaweed

stone crab- marrakech

capuchina leaf with eel and veal marrow - neither of us recognized the flavor of the leaf in this course, but in the next course...

hare juise with apple jelly-cru with black currant marinated - the leaf, described as an 'oyster leaf' tasted exactly like an oyster. even after i sat for a minute or two after eating it i could still completely taste it, just like as if it were an oyster. when i asked our server how that was made our server said a gentleman from holland had recently cultivated it. this totally blew me away

gorgonzola shell - filled with gorgonzola and shaved ice.

truffle ice cream - again served with an incredibly moist sponge cake

autumn landscape - all had different types of chocolate and were gorgeous. not sure why autumn in early april but didn't really care

(mignardises)

(tea) - the table next to us ordered loose tea. the server brought a trolley with a fresh garden (still in soil) of herbs and cut leaves with scissors to french press at the table. absolutely amazing.

(birthday cake at another table)

(cortado)

(menus)

(petit fours)

it should be noted that as amazing as the food was, we were also impressed by the incredible charm that the restaurant exudes. the 30 minute taxi ride from roses was similar, but more dramatic to highway 1 in the north bay of san francisco, and the spanish charm of the restaurant is only exceeded by its warmth and comfort. again, food aside, this sets it apart from any other restaurant i've been to- there is absolutely no sense of stuffiness or self-righteousness in any part of the restaurant whatsoever. i cannot wait until the dollar recovers so i can afford to go back (if i can get in, of course)


Sandy Levine
The Oakland Art Novelty Company

sandy@TheOaklandFerndale.com www.TheOaklandFerndale.com

www.facebook.com/ArtNoveltyCompany twitter: @theoakland

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Looking over your pictures, it looks like there are some holdovers from last season's menu (I remember having the gnocchi dish, the razor clams, the miso brioche (my favorite dish), the gorgonzola shell, etc). Is this common practice?

Man, I would love to go back....

out of curiosity, is lunch the same price as dinner?

-Charlie

PS - Although I don't remember the exact technique as it was explained to us, I seem to remember that the gnocchi was prepared through some sort of permutation of the spherification technique. That, too, was one of my favorite dishes from the night.

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i don't know how much lunch was, the dinner was 215 euros p/p. incidentally, be sure to alert your credit card company if you will be using it to pay. theft protection on my cc caused two of my cards to be declined (i ended up having to use my debit card, which went through, but was then unusable for the rest of the trip). my wife still thinks it was an elaborate scheme to get her to pay for everything :)


Sandy Levine
The Oakland Art Novelty Company

sandy@TheOaklandFerndale.com www.TheOaklandFerndale.com

www.facebook.com/ArtNoveltyCompany twitter: @theoakland

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wow! that's a full 30E more than last season's dinner price. It seems the price is going up year after year.....In a few years I won't be able to afford to go back (not that I even could at this point haha).

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Hi,

I think I can explain why some of these dishes look familiar. It turns out that when El Bulli opens for the season (08) they serve mostly 07 dishes, and gradually add the new dishes (08) to the menu, one by one, day by day, so that there are never any mishaps.

The 08 dishes have all been created and defined beforehand at the Barcelona Taller, but Ferran feels they have to be introduced one at a time, to make extra sure the whole brigade has a perfect

command of each new dish. (This I was told by Oriol Castro, his right-hand man at the Taller).

Genius.


Alexandra Forbes

Brazilian food and travel writer, @aleforbes on Twitter

Official Website

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San, it looks like we were seated at the same table - and though some of the dishes we ate, were the same, there are quite a few new ones (we weren't offered crunchy rabbit ears).

I got quite a few good photos, as we were there for lunch, and the non-flash photography was a lot easier :)

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Oh, and San, the sesame cake you loved, ultra moist, etc, guess what the secret is?

It's "baked" in the microwave for 40 seconds,

check out part of the recipe, posted on the Madrid Fusion site:

gallery_36345_5912_44836.jpg


Alexandra Forbes

Brazilian food and travel writer, @aleforbes on Twitter

Official Website

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Alex, I suspected that - I've tried Adria's microwaved pistachio mousse (there's a recipe in The Cook's Book), and it seemed pretty similar (interestingly, there was pistachio mousse lookalike on the menu, but it was crumbly and not moist like this).

Here's a picture taken 11 days ago (that's my dear bf K on the other side):

gallery_43137_2974_77805.jpg

Here's what we had:

gallery_43137_2974_112113.jpg

And here are the rest of my photos: Flickr El Bulli photo stream (not bad, considering how overexcited I was) :rolleyes:

My favourites:

- the spherical olives, as I had read so much about them, and they tasted exactly as I imagined

- flower paper - such a simple and brilliant idea, so much flavour

- black sesame sponge with miso paste (lovely moist and soft texture)

- steamed brioche with mozzarella and rose perfumed air (how does he come up with these combinations??)

- I was excited about the Mediterranean sea cucumber as well - it was my first sea cucumber, you see :) Lovely slightly smoky flavour.

- cappuchina leaf with eel and marrow (very cool combination, worked well, especially with the crispy blanched (?) cucumber)

- tomato soup with virtual iberian ham (it was white and there was no ham to be seen, but you could clearly taste the tomato and ham)

- gorgonzola shell - I'm not a big fan of Waldorf salad, but this deconstructed version was fun

- tangerine sorbet with pumpkin seed oil (bold, strong flavours)

We enjoyed the horchata dish as well - but we had just been to Valencia, where we had horchata & fartons at two different horchaterias, and had bought some chufas (the 'nuts' used for making horchata), so it was very interesting.

The only dish neither one of us enjoyed was the cassis-marinated apple jelly with rabbit jus. - just didn't work for us.


Edited by Pille (log)

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And here are the rest of my photos: Flickr El Bulli photo stream (not bad, considering how overexcited I was) :rolleyes:

Great photos - what camera do you use, it is very sharp. I love the liquid nitrogen tanks.

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There's a recipe for the bizcocho de pistacho in the little cookbook that came free with El País a few months back (#1 of the Cocina con Firma series)... I don't have a microwave, so I haven't tried it, but it doesn't look too difficult.

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I definitely look forward to this thread every year. Until/if I return to El Bulli, I'll have to live vicariously through these wonderful reports and pics. The Asparagus course is the one that I'm very interested in. Any more details about it? Did each spear have a different texture and different sauce? It just looks delicious.


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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