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elBulli 2008 reports


The Flame
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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.

it looks and sounds as if you had a wonderful experience! Nice pics. They brought back many fond memories. I wish that I was going this year!

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

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

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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The asparagus course has 3 different cooking levels. The center one is raw, then 2 corners are semi cooked, and the other 2 corners are fully cooked. Each corner has it's own sauce which if I remember corrently where a lime puree, some sort of mayonaise, microplaned cured roe, and some nut praline. Then they spoon an asparagus thickened broth that is clear over it and finish it with aspargus foam. Then tableside the server puts the final garnish over the center tip which are the frozen egg yolk "caviar". It is just salted egg yolks frozen with liquid nitrogen into little balls.

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Each corner has it's own sauce which if I remember corrently where a lime puree, some sort of mayonaise, microplaned cured roe, and some nut praline.

I've written into my black moleskine notebook "peanut, lemon, botarga" (the latter should be wind-cured tuna roe). I enjoyed comparing the different asparagus textures.

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Thanks for the Asparagus explanation, it sounds even better than it looks.

When we were there a few seasons ago, I enjoyed the fact that a few dishes required the waiter's intervention, from adding a touch or two to actually 'cooking' a dessert. It seems from your descriptions and from some pictures that more dishes have the waiter doing some work. Is that the case?

I think this is a wonderful idea, and sort of mixes the classical (haute cuisine of years ago where tableside service was typical) with the utlra-contemporary food of Adria.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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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.....

I'm not sure it does make sense, how can something taste more like itself than the real thing? Surely when we start talking about something having the "true essence of olive" it can only be "true" up to the point it tastes like the olive, after that it must become an artificial flavour that no longer tastes like an olive? :hmmm:

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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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.....

I'm not sure it does make sense, how can something taste more like itself than the real thing? Surely when we start talking about something having the "true essence of olive" it can only be "true" up to the point it tastes like the olive, after that it must become an artificial flavour that no longer tastes like an olive? :hmmm:

Think of the flavor of the finest olives that you have ever eaten unencumbered by textural distractions with a burst of pure flavor in the mouth and you get the spherical olives that taste more like olives than olives do. Perhaps Adria's greatest genius is his ability to capture the real essence of the epitome of an ingredient's flavor.

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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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.....

I'm not sure it does make sense, how can something taste more like itself than the real thing? Surely when we start talking about something having the "true essence of olive" it can only be "true" up to the point it tastes like the olive, after that it must become an artificial flavour that no longer tastes like an olive? :hmmm:

Think of the flavor of the finest olives that you have ever eaten unencumbered by textural distractions with a burst of pure flavor in the mouth and you get the spherical olives that taste more like olives than olives do. Perhaps Adria's greatest genius is his ability to capture the real essence of the epitome of an ingredient's flavor.

Another explanation...not very sceintific but here goes. An olive has in it whatever makes it taste like an olive (oil and other chemicals I'd imagine) plus water, cellulose, fiber,...Now remove all those distractions from 50 olives and only leave the olive flavor. Imagine if all that flavor is concentrated in one 'spherical olive'. That's how it can taste more like olive than an olive. Odd, but it made sense to me when I tasted it.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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Think of the flavor of the finest olives that you have ever eaten unencumbered by textural distractions with a burst of pure flavor in the mouth and you get the spherical olives that taste more like olives than olives do. Perhaps Adria's greatest genius is his ability to capture the real essence of the epitome of an ingredient's flavor.
Another explanation...not very sceintific but here goes. An olive has in it whatever makes it taste like an olive (oil and other chemicals I'd imagine) plus water, cellulose, fiber,...Now remove all those distractions from 50 olives and only leave the olive flavor. Imagine if all that flavor is concentrated in one 'spherical olive'. That's how it can taste more like olive than an olive. Odd, but it made sense to me when I tasted it.

well put. i remember thinking (first at alinea and then at el bulli) that what i was tasting tasted exactly like lime (or olive, respectively). then as i thought more, i realized that if i were to taste a lime (or olive), it wouldn't have as much of the essence of itself as what i had just tasted. i'm really not good at articulating this point, but hopefully docsconz and FoodMan have sufficiently backed me up....

Sandy Levine
The Oakland Art Novelty Company

sandy@TheOaklandFerndale.com www.TheOaklandFerndale.com

www.facebook.com/ArtNoveltyCompany twitter: @theoakland

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Thank you, Pille, for the wonderful photos.  It is now more clear to me than ever that I must eat at El Bulli.

Thank you, cmling :wub: (and you, docsconz, as well. I'll be visiting New York for the first time in June, will have to see if you've praised some nice ny places on eGullet :rolleyes: )

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He Adrian York,

It seems we were there the same night! It was a wonderful experience! I want to go back :biggrin:

i just tried to make the black sesame sponges. First try, it looks I have to try again, but the begin is there, taste was nice and part of it was really like a sponge.

The flower paper recipe is also avialable, but I do not have a sugarspinning machine.

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The flower paper recipe is also avialable, but I do not have a sugarspinning machine.

Where?? I'd love to make that flower paper at home! :rolleyes:

You need a sugar spinning machine

http://www.madridfusion.net/

i don't have one :angry:

But I did make sponge cakes from white sesame seed and they are pretty nice, but i have to improve them till they are perfect.

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Don't mean to hijack this thread, but does anyone know when El Bulli will start taking reservations for 2009? Generally, what is it like getting a table when they start taking reservations? (If there is a more appropriate place for these questions, I'll gladly take them there).

Dylan Moran: Stay away from the local delicacies. They're local for a reason: no-one likes them!
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Don't mean to hijack this thread, but does anyone know when El Bulli will start taking reservations for 2009? Generally, what is it like getting a table when they start taking reservations? (If there is a more appropriate place for these questions, I'll gladly take them there).

I believe they take reservations sometime around mid October each year....perhaps around the 10th-15th...I don't remember exactly, but I'm sure people will be posting here when it comes time!

I was lucky enough to go last September when a fellow egulleter wasn't able to keep her reservation. I'm planning on going on a trip to next summer after college, and I'd love to be able to go back. But yeah, we've got a while to wait!

-Charlie

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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.....

I'm not sure it does make sense, how can something taste more like itself than the real thing? Surely when we start talking about something having the "true essence of olive" it can only be "true" up to the point it tastes like the olive, after that it must become an artificial flavour that no longer tastes like an olive? :hmmm:

A concentration of is probably a better way to explain it.

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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.....

I'm not sure it does make sense, how can something taste more like itself than the real thing? Surely when we start talking about something having the "true essence of olive" it can only be "true" up to the point it tastes like the olive, after that it must become an artificial flavour that no longer tastes like an olive? :hmmm:

A concentration of is probably a better way to explain it.

I disagree. A concentration tastes particularly strong and overpowering. Adria's creations such as the olive, simply embody the ideal of the ingredient without being overpowering or off-putting.

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 agree with Doc. What they do is not really concentration. In the case of the olives, they first drain the olives from the brine, take out the seeds, then puree them in a thermomix. Afterwards they are squeezed through a super fine mesh. So basically what you are left with is the purest olive juice. It is just a regular olive, that doesn't go through any cooking, just a physical change that gets all it's fiber and solid compounds out and you are just left with pure olive water.

Edited by The Flame (log)
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Thanks to Chris Amirault I managed to get a table at El Bulli this year. And after this year’s meal my impressions is that Ferrán is as good as always or even better, trying to prove that he knows how to cook and not only a gimmick dishes builder. The dishes were great, and some of them were perfect, the menu was very well balanced, the compositions showed the main ingredient enhanced by the technique and not as a mere instrument for showing this season’s new trends but in order to serve good food. There wer some conducting ingredients, there were deconstructions, innovations, foams, fake caviars, liofilizations, microespherifications… But over all there was good food. I don’t know if he’s betraying himself or not, but I had to go back to 2004 to had such a great menu like this year’s at El Bulli.

So this is what I had:

Lulo cocktail

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with lulo juice, gin and martini.

Nori trias

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Nori seaweed crackers with sesame seeds.

Beetroot meringue

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With yogurt

LYO Fruits

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Pinenuts and chocolate bonbons

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Mango leaf

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Shiso caramel

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Tomato cookie

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and basil with mozzarella cookie, a new version of the classic capresse salad

Pekin creps

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Mint leaf and coconut

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Beetroot coral

I failed to picture this snack that tasted like a potato chip

Black sesame cake with miso

gallery_11496_5962_4452.jpg

Flower paper

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LYO-Cream

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Golden egg

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Asparragus with miso and tagete flower

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Razor clam / Laurencia

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Deep fried tuna marrow with caviar

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Giant kidney beans with Joselito bacon and blackened garlics

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Clementine flower / pumpkin oil and Clementine seeds

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Gelée almonds with almond cocktail “umeboshi”

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Nenufars

This was a flower sou, more like a tea with strong tanins and aropatic flavours, that I failed to picture.

Turnip cous-cous with sea urchins

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And oyster leaf

The Soup 2008

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Like the children letter soupo but all enclosed in exploding letter forms

Peas 2008

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Authentic twice peeled peas with iberc ham and fake spheric peas filled with ham stock, proving that the imitation is even better than the original.

Sea Anemone 2008

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With oysters

Polenta gnoquis with cofee and yuba and saffron

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Negrito (local rock fish)

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Abalone

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With iberic bacon fat, seaweeds and mushrooms

Game on toast

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Partridge and foie grass paté

Hare juice with apple gelé-cru with cassis

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Hare civet with truffles and apple

Tartuffe

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Filled with gorgonzola cream

Cypress honey with peach shots and sweet almond marzipan

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Autumn landscape

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After eight

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Yoghurt

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Ambar

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Digestive Infusion

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In the end this was a five hours meal that ended with a gin and tonic in the terrace discussing with Luis García about the impossibility of getting a table there and how frustrated they feel with this problem.

Rogelio Enríquez aka "Rogelio"
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This menu and approach of Adria's is not altogether new, as I recognize much of it from my dinner there last May with perhaps some tweaks. Rather, it seems to me that this current menu seems like a continuation of what than a departure. This past Sunday marked a year since my last visit. Rogelio, your photos and descriptions brought back many fond memories, not just of that dinner, but of the rest of my Catalan/Valencian visit as well. Thanks for posting it!

Are you sure, that the beetroot meringues with yogurt weren't the lighter red balls lightly dusted in white further down your page that you are labeling "shiso caramel?"

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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