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José Andrés' Minibar


John W.
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But we all know that potato foam isn't just for serving with meat any more. Here it is, paired with vanilla oil and caviar in a classic Cafe Atlantico combination that predates the minibar.

i147.jpg

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MadVal, Seattle, WA

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The fact that these posts are spread out every 15 minutes or so keeps me coming back for more. I can barely stand the anticipation (maybe I exaggerate a little ).

I would guess that the meal is the same way, only better?

Bill Russell

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Another dish we with clear origins in the original Cafe Atlantico concept was guacamole. But in this case, the the only thing it had in common with their standard tableside preparation was that it was assembled in front of us.

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The elements, from bottom to top, were onion gelee, sliced avacado, tiny wedges of lime, spicy tomato sorbet, and cilantro. No chips were required, as the deconstructed guacamole was topped with crunchy crushed corn nuts, for both taste and texture. I don't knoe if the famed pacojet was used to produce the sorbet, but however it was made it was certainly tasty.

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...topped with crunchy crushed corn nuts, for both taste and texture.

Corn Nuts?

As in the greatest giant toasted corn snack ever to come out of Urbana, Ohio?

Indeed. Corn nuts were also presented with a chocolate coating at the end of the meal.

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MadVal, Seattle, WA

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Here are two of the mango ravioli that others have mentioned in this thread.  The one on the left is stuffed with avacado, and the one on the right contains anchovy foam.  Each is a single bite, but each goes through a series of flavor transformations in your mouth.  First you taste the wrapper, then the filling as it squirts out, and finally, the combination of the two.

The anchovy foam one (with a small piece of roast, marinated anchovy on top) was the star of the meal for me. Brilliant stuff. I could've eaten fifty of them.

Jake

Jake Parrott

Ledroit Brands, LLC

Bringing new and rare spirits to Washington DC.

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Earlier on, we did get a taste of the more traditional guacamole, which was used as to fill a jicama-skinned ravioli. It appears on the left in the photo below. The one on the right is filled with tuna ceviche.

i144.jpg

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MadVal, Seattle, WA

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I don't think I can describe it as eloquently as Vengroff. Simply put, the meal freakin' rocked.

I'm not a person to just naturally sit around with a big smile on my face, but each dish made me grin. I don't think people who know me well would have recognized me.

A sardine prepared in a bread crust with rasberry sauce? :blink: It was amazing. I couldn't believe I had a sardine and rasberry in my mouth at the same time, but it was like they were made for each other.

I'm going to try to book my spot at the bar every 6 months for the next 50 years.

I was a little reluctant to order the Uruguayan Viognier, having never tried anything from that country, but I realized that I could have been drinking Mad Dog and it couldn't have ruined the meal. Fortunately, it was a major bonus choosing that bottle.

A phenomenal experience. As it was said before, run, don't walk...

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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Towards the end of the meal, my camera focusing skills were suffering a bit from the combined effects of cava and viognier, but I have to post this picture of Steve's mango soup with pop rocks.

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This is a dessert for all five senses. You even hear the popping as it is placed in front of you. Our minibarrista (minibarador? minibarman?) told us that it is made with imported Spanish pop rocks. We would expect nothing less.

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Vengroff, this is so exciting! Thanks for posting these pictures. I'll be there, with friends, on Friday Oct 24, and I can hardly wait to make the trip from Philly...Steve, will you be around? I'd love to finally meet you.

What kind of camera did you use to take these pictures? I doubt my little piece of junk will do this food justice.

Also, we're planning on bringing wine--any specific recommendations? We're 5 people, so we'll bring around 3-4 btls.

:biggrin:

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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That's great, Sara. I think you will really enjoy it.

The key to the photos isn't so much the camera (Canon G3) as the flash (Canon 420EX E-TTL) Now what I really need to do is get a remote unit and a second 420EX, and then I'll be in business.

For example, I could do a much better job lighting this liquid center conch fritter.

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The fritter itself was great. It popped in your mouth like a giant caviar egg. The inverted springy egg holder it came in matched the springy platfotms that held each diner's pkace a few inches over the table. Some people played with the bouncing plates all evening, others put them aside, but most simply let them wobble just a tad as each dish was presented.

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MadVal, Seattle, WA

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Also, we're planning on bringing wine--any specific recommendations? We're 5 people, so we'll bring around 3-4 btls.

:biggrin:

Make sure you call ahead about the wine. I have heard conflicting things about the corcake policy. You can also do fine, as we did, starting with the 1+1=3 vintage cava and then moving on to the viognier.

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MadVal, Seattle, WA

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And when you do go, be sure to say hello to our favorite minibarador, the soft-spoken young man pictured here:

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I'm drawing a total blank on his name, so someone who has been is going to have to help me out. But putting that aside, his story is interesting. He was living in Cleveland when Jose and Steve came out to cook at a special event. He worked the event and discovered that what Jose was doing really resonated with him. Arrangements were made, he packed himself up and headed east, and now he's behind the minibar.

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Somehow I seem to have left out my personal favorite, the deconstructed sushi with crisp rice, nori, sushi rice espuma, and soy gelee.

i148.jpg

It was the finest piece of raw fish I've had since Kaz's tuna with foie gras.

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MadVal, Seattle, WA

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Also, we're planning on bringing wine--any specific recommendations? We're 5 people, so we'll bring around 3-4 btls.

:biggrin:

Make sure you call ahead about the wine. I have heard conflicting things about the corcake policy. You can also do fine, as we did, starting with the 1+1=3 vintage cava and then moving on to the viognier.

Sadly, Cafe Atlantico does not permit corkage anymore. However, they have drastically upgraded their champagne list--the best accompaniment to the minibar.

BTW, I find this policy silly. Other than the champagne, Cafe Atlantico's list is an affectation, a political statement rather than an attempt to match the food and its sophistication. And the markups on the lower end are up to 5x.

Jake Parrott

Ledroit Brands, LLC

Bringing new and rare spirits to Washington DC.

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New New England Clam Chowder, desconstructed and reconstructed by the minibar.

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According to our minibarador, the clam was cooked for three seconds, just enough to chase the rawness away.

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MadVal, Seattle, WA

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Sadly, Cafe Atlantico does not permit corkage anymore.  However, they have drastically upgraded their champagne list--the best accompaniment to the minibar.

Don't forget the minijito, served in a mini-atomizer.

i156.jpg

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

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Don't forget the minijito, served in a mini-atomizer.

I would totally have paid an extra $3-5/pp to get to take the minijito home :smile:

Jake Parrott

Ledroit Brands, LLC

Bringing new and rare spirits to Washington DC.

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Vengroff, what's the scale of that atomizer? It looks like a thermos in the image.  :blink:

It's lipstick size--five or six pumps.

It is kinda funny how the fact that it's a closeup and that it's metal makes it seem like it could be the size of a fire hydrant or something.

The clam in the photo above was about the size of your head. :blink:

In all seriousness, another thing I liked about the meal was the pace and serving sizes. I didn't walk out of there feeling like I had too much to eat-- I was perfectly satisfied. Everything came fast enough to keep you on your toes, but not so fast that you didn't get a chance to watch how many of the dishes were prepared, chat with the minibarador (is that their official title now?), and chat with others at the bar. You had just enough time to fully enjoy each experience as it was presented.

Darren-- Thanks for getting all these great shots for posterity!

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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In all seriousness, another thing I liked about the meal was the pace and serving sizes. I didn't walk out of there feeling like I had too much to eat-- I was perfectly satisfied.

I can honestly say this was the first 34-course meal I've ever had that was followed by two Wendy's spicy chicken filet sandwiches on the way home. (Seriously.)

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Call now and get in while you can. Tom Sietsema has reviewed the minibar.

I forgot to mention one other cute little quirk. They keep the minibar reservations in a seperate little black book in a drawer at the host's stand, not in the regular reservation book on top. It's the minibook!

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