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Louisa Chu

El Bulli 2005 Reservations

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Thanks again to you both, Louisa and Silly.

Louisa, I have just begun to explore your blog. It is outstanding.


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 supsect Rafa's and SnackMar are going to see a disproportionate number of members this summer.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

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.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Muchas gracias, otra vez.


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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Doc, regarding Rafa, it's relatively slim pickings in summer, but still great, especially the cigales. However, go at lunch because at dinner there will be a lot of customers and he will be too busy to talk except, perhaps, if you go right when he opens for dinner. He's a bit of a character and his wife is sweet.

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Lunch would probably be my preference. I have almost as much of a desire to eat there as I do El Bulli. they appear to be opposite but complementary ends of the food spectrum.


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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complementary ends of the food spectrum.

I haven't eaten at Rafa's, but my first meal at El Bulli, a lunch some four to five years back, was followed by a simple meal of seafood at Can Majo in Barcelona. I don't recall the first course, it may have been gambas a la plancha or some other such straightforward dish followed by a Catalan wet rice with lobster. As superb a meal and an powerful an experience as the meal at El Bulli was, one of the things it seemed to do, was to heighten my appreciation for fresh seafood simply prepared. I know that sounds like I'm saying "after all that haute cuisine, what I really need is a steak to satisfy me," but I think you understand they're a one, two punch either way. To appreciate one and not the other is to suffer some gap in the love of food, from my perspective.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

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.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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What a scrumptious blog, Louisa! You must be tired already of so much gratitude and, indeed, whenever you've posted lately, I feel like one of those 18th Century courtiers who, from so much bowing, walk about with a permanent hunchback - and not only that, but backwards. But I'd burst a blood vessel if I didn't thank you again. So *bowing a little lower, not without concern, since only approximately four inches now separate the tip of my nose from the shellfish and rosepetal-littered floor*, obrigado once more!

P.S. It may be a telling sign - a warning even - that I'm becoming too attached to fellow eGulleteers and eGullet but last night I had this happy dream that, for the duration of the entire Spring and Summer of 2005, Roses and all surrounding areas - whether in Catalonia or France - are entirely populated by eGullet's cool customers, bumping into each other and annoyingly brushing each other's eager fingers whenever one reaches for a "cigala", being obliged by the stern, binding rules of eGullet to cede ownership of all shellfish, however rare and tasty.

Already I've had the good luck of my mid-May reservation for El Bulli coinciding with Bux and his party's reservations - as well as a less stressful, tentative collective commando raid of Rafa's, mission being to exhaust all fresh stocks and guarantee that it will be closed on the morrow, satisfyingly disappointing many equally deserving and early-rising lunchers who, despite their indisputable sincerity and general human goodness, had the gall to appear in that sacred area without the previous imprimatur of eGullet.

I promise - even if it requires my wife stuffing a napkin or two into my mouth - I shall resist the temptation, while merrily delighting in Adrià's masterpieces, to chummily enquire "And so how is our good friend Louisa". This is an embarrassment I must spare you - and will.

Thanks too to all the other members who've shared state secrets about the surrounding areas. A dream might just be a dream but, even very early in the morning like now, I logically envisage a lot of bumping-into-each other of eGulleteers in the coming season!

:)

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Just another question: I received last week 11 DVD's of Ferran Adrià's series on daily cooking (in Spanish). Does any one know whether these DVD's will be released with subtitles?

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A question for the Q&A next week, perhaps. :wink:


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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Robert - Rose who works with Rafa is not his wife - "just an employee" - in her words.

Miguel - I'm really not worthy of your high praise - but it sure is funny! And much appreciated.

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What a scrumptious blog, Louisa!  You must be tired already of so much gratitude and, indeed, whenever you've posted lately, I feel like one of those 18th Century courtiers who, from so much bowing, walk about with a permanent hunchback - and not only that, but backwards.  But I'd burst a blood vessel if I didn't thank you again. So *bowing a little lower, not without concern, since only approximately four inches now separate the tip of my nose from the shellfish and rosepetal-littered floor*,  obrigado once more!

P.S.  It may be a telling sign - a warning even - that I'm becoming too attached to fellow eGulleteers and eGullet but last night I had this happy dream that, for the duration of the entire Spring and Summer of 2005, Roses and all surrounding areas - whether in Catalonia or France - are entirely populated by eGullet's cool customers, bumping into each other and annoyingly brushing each other's eager fingers whenever one reaches for a "cigala", being obliged by the stern, binding rules of eGullet to cede ownership of all shellfish, however rare and tasty. 

Already I've had the good luck of my mid-May reservation for El Bulli coinciding with Bux and his party's reservations - as well as a less stressful, tentative collective commando raid of Rafa's, mission being to exhaust all fresh stocks and guarantee that it will be closed on the morrow, satisfyingly disappointing many equally deserving and early-rising lunchers who, despite their indisputable sincerity and general human goodness, had the gall to appear in that sacred area without the previous imprimatur of eGullet.

I promise - even if it requires my wife stuffing a napkin or two into my mouth - I shall resist the temptation, while merrily delighting in Adrià's masterpieces, to chummily enquire "And so how is our good friend Louisa".  This is an embarrassment I must spare you - and will.

Thanks too to all the other members who've shared state secrets about the surrounding areas.  A dream might just be a dream but, even very early in the morning like now, I logically envisage a lot of bumping-into-each other of eGulleteers in the coming season!

:)

Just how many of eGullet members have reservations for mid-to late May, 2005? We are returning on May 26th, 2005. We are thrilled to learn that so many eGulleteers will be heading to Roses in 2005. If anyone is scheduled for the 26th of May, 2005, let me hear from you. It would be enjoyable to meet another eGullet supporter. If anyone has yet to pick a Roses hotel, I would recomend Almadraba Park H. It is right on the beach and you can watch the cars streaming down from El Bulli on the Montjoi road at 2 AM or later from your balcony.

They serve a marvelous breakfast buffet, if food interests you again the next morning. JGebhart

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Might there be a correlation between number of posts and success at getting a reservation? It sounds far out, if nor arbitrary, but think about it. Of course they would have to know somehow that one posts a lot on the site. (And I can't think of a better way to build traffic in the Spain/Portugal forum. :wink: )

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Hmm, egullet wasn't a factor in my snagging a reservation, since my egullet moniker is unidentifiable... I think writing a thoughtful letter/request and being flexible must play the biggest part.

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Uh oh, the exeception that proves the rule (or disproves it)? While my post is sort lof tongue in cheek, it did seem to me that forum hosts and avid posters all seemed to get reservations. I have to admit, however, that I haven't gone back to check this out.

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Well, we egulleteers are something of a self-selected group of obsessive-compulsive food lovers... Just the sort who would be prone to writing heartfelt pleas to far-flung restaurants and planning a cross-country/intra-continental/inter-continental voyage around available tables...

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Robert,

Louisa and others have lauded the "fairness" of the El Bulli reservation process. There's an element of "winning the lottery", but I don't think anyone has suggested that there's a mindless algorithm at work here. If anyone is favored by the "selection" process, I would think that it is loyal, long-term diners.

Consider Bob Noto, mentioned in the December 15 Wine Spectator profile of El Bulli:

"We happened by in 1993, led by some guidebook", Noto recounts. The meal included a tomato sorbet. "The DNA of the tomato was speaking to me. I knew I had found a genius." Noto shows me a list of the nearly 900 different dishes he has consumed since that tomato sorbet. "Every year gets better. It's a miracle."

Ferran Adrià prides himself on continually evolving his cuisine. If no-one comes along on the journey, what's the point?

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I agree with you, Edsel. It doesn't look like a mindless process to me either. Showing appreciation and flexibility seem to increase your chances of getting a reservation at El Bulli.

Of course, doing it at the right moment is a key factor.


PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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The discussion reminds me of a recent story of how a high school teacher in, I believe, Durham NC, analyzed published letters to the editor at the New York Times and was able to have his students submit them such that a huge relative percentage of them were indeed published in the paper. In the interest of those who were denied reservations at elBulli, I think that those who were successful in this endeavor post their letters to Luis. Then we can see if there are certain characteristics, approaches, buzz words, etc. that might resonate in such a way to produce a reservation in the future.

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The discussion reminds me of a recent story of how a high school teacher in, I believe, Durham NC, analyzed published letters to the editor at the New York Times and was able to have his students submit them such that a huge relative percentage of them were indeed published in the paper. In the interest of those who were denied reservations at elBulli, I think that those who were successful in this endeavor post their letters to Luis. Then we can see if there are certain characteristics, approaches, buzz words, etc. that might resonate in such a way to produce a reservation in the future.

I second Robert's idea, hopefully I'll learn something and maybe get a reservation in 2006.

Silly.


We''ve opened Pazzta 920, a fresh pasta stall in the Boqueria Market. follow the thread here.

My blog, the Adventures of A Silly Disciple.

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... In the interest of those who were denied reservations at elBulli, I think that those who were successful in this endeavor post their letters to Luis. Then we can see if there are certain characteristics, approaches, buzz words, etc. that might resonate in such a way to produce a reservation in the future.

Ugh! I hope it's not quite so formulaic as that! I have to feel a certain sympathy with the people who actually make these decisions. The notion of a forty-to-one (or more) ratio of applicants is an invitation to accusations of favoritism, etc. I feel that the well accepted fact that El Bulli is not the playground of the well-connected * reflects well on their sense of purpose (and integrity). I stand by my suggestion that loyal diners should be favored, if only for the sense of continuity they provide. My hopes of "scoring" a reservation at El Bulli (in 2006 - too late for this year) are not unfairly diminished by any recognition of loyal diners - I only wish that I could be considered in such lucky company.

* If Tony Bourdain shows up with a film crew, do any of us feel like complaining when he gets a kitchen-side table? For that matter, if Gwenneth Paltrow or Sly Stalone shows up on a moments notice, who are we to complain? Chef Adrià is free to seat anyone he pleases - it's his restaurant.

Edit to add: I don't disagree with Robert's suggestion to pool our collective knowledge of successful reservations. Any leg up on next year's applications is well worth it!


Edited by edsel (log)

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doing it at the right moment is a key factor.

Timing is everything. I suspect one of the reasons we have a high number of reservations is that members responded to a timely notice here. I can see pros and cons to the idea of posting reservation request e-mails. Most people would be curious to see what worked, but I'm afraid that any commonality might be seen as a path to follow and that next year we'd see a form letter mentality develop that could have exactly the opposite efffect of the one wanted. My guess is that you're much better off with a unique approach than trying to follow a pattern.

Mrs. B doesn't keep her e-mails and I don't understand Spanish all that well to even know exactly what she said. I can tell you that she mentioned our previous visits as well as that it's been two years since our last visit. Our hope was to imply that we are appreciative of the food, but not looking to hog space. We really don't know if first time applicants would play to a sense of fairness or if yearly regulars are likely to get preference. You go with what you've got and try and make it sound as if it's a strength. We met Alberto Adrià a few years ago at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, so we sent our regards. Does that get passed on or would Luis check to see that Albert really met us? I have no idea, but I'd be very cautious about lying. I placed most of our hope in the timing. We applied right after the notice was posted here.

To return to my earlier premise, I'll bet that if certain characteristics and buzz words start to reappear, they'll trigger rejections more than reservations. Put yourself in Luis' shoes when you write.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

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.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I have to agree with Bux. If a pattern starts to show in the reservation requests it might seem almost "spammish". My request consisted of a few sentences in English explaining that we would like to have dinner at El Bulli for our anniversary in May. I have no idea if my egullet connection had anything to do with us getting selected since I did not mention the site at all. However, my full name is in my signature, so I cannot be sure.

Elie


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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