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El Bulli 2005 Dining


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Luis told me that anyone can ask for the kitchen table - seats eight - nine max. Its available based upon availability - which includes whether or not Ferran wants it to work from during service. It sits right below the the window through which FoodMan shot the photo - and it's the same table at which Tony Bourdain sat in his elusive epic "Decoding Ferran Adria."

I think I would feel odd and perhaps guilty if we moved to the kitchen table. We've dined as a group of six, four and this time as a table of five. Each time we've sat at the same table. As we were escorted from the terrace to our table, Mrs. B noted that it was the same table at which we've sat twice before. Luis Garcia said they knew where we've sat and what we've eaten. I don't know if there are bad tables at elBulli, but this one is a wonderful table in it's own alcove surrounded by windows behind and over the banquette on three sides of the table.

See, the little things. I mean in the end does it really matter if they know exactly where you sat or exactly what you’ve eaten. Not really. But, just the fact that they do makes you feel like you really are somewhere special.

I would also agree with Bux, a meal at elBulli is in a league of it’s own, but not the best meal I’ve ever had, but that is definitely not the point. It is delicious, memorable, different, exciting and we would both love to go back sometime.

It’s funny that you mention that previous meals were more seafood intensive. Both my wife and I noted that our meal was very strong on things from the sea. She actually got a slightly different menu, since she does not like (she would say “hates”, but I am still hoping she’ll come around) olives. The olive dishes were switched for other things including an “oyster and pearl” dish. In the end, most meat dishes were seafood (oysters, mussles, langoustines, mackerel,…) and I would’ve loved to try a game or meat dish. Maybe next time.

I sure did notice the kitchen table when looking through the glass window and touring the kitchen. It was empty but I assumed this one is reserved for the special chef’s guests. Had I know I certainly would have asked if it is available.

Pedro- Yes the “teppanitro” it was, it actually had that name engraved on it. The name eluded me when writing my comments (I was thinking “nitroyaki”, but I knew that sounded wrong :smile:). Hope to hear your comments soon.

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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The oyster and pearl dish may have been the most memorable dish of the evening for both of us, although we seem to have the same memory of the taste of oysters, the sea and jamon we seem to have slightly different ideas of which elements contributed which flavors. The oyster resides on a sauce. On top of the oyster is a pearl. The pearl is yet another "sférico" used this time in a less obvious and more complex manner in relationship to the relatively solid oyster and the rather thick sauce. Eaten in one gulp, the effect is dramatic but its difficult to separate the elements as even the oyster is almost a liquid.

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Ostra con su perla - elBulli

Not really. But, . . .
I think you've just described the difference between a three star restaurant and a really great three star restaurant where even the things that don't matter are handled with a dedication that says they matter. It often seems as if all the focus is on the creative skill, but my guess is that the skill of the kichen is put in the best light because of the skill in the front of the house. It serves the meal the way a hall with great acoustics serves a concert. ElBulli is far more than just Adrià and Albert's food. Ultimately, it's also important that although personal taste varies considerably, the meal is delectable.

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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. . . our menu this year contained very little seafood. In other years it's seemed predominantly seafood. For what it's worth, our menu was very similar to Elie's. Perhaps exactly the same. I'll scan it soon and post it.

. . . .

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As you can see, there are only 26 courses. Equally obvious is that at some point they just seem to stop listing the courses. Notice that the "teppannitro," performance comes under the heading of "morphings." Is it unlisted as to leave a surprise -- each diner is presented with a menu before the meal -- or are the "morphings" a sort of encore perfomance for each table allowing a degree of meal expansion for those whose attention hasn't waned at this point?

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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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Just some random thoughts. When the genius and perfectionism of Ferran are not around, all this paraphernalia can become irritating and overbearing.

Ferran runs from a distance two Michelin-starred restaurants in Spain - the El Bulli-bis at Hacienza Benazuza near Seville and La Terraza del Casino in Madrid. A few Spanish and German foodies had dinner at the latter on Friday, including eGulleters Luis Gutiérrez and myself, and overall it was a frustrating experience for me - and it was not the first time at this, otherwise, wonderfully pleasant rooftop restaurant under a June night sky. (Possibly Luis can chime in with his own impressions.)

First of all, in Madrid and Seville the dishes are always at least one year old - no 2005 stuff. A bit like movie reruns. But that's not the real problem - Castilian roast lamb has been cooked in the same fashion for at least eight centuries and it's still fine with me. The problem is the 'So what?' reaction one has toward the most technologically-oriented dishes.

The Madrid version of the teppannitro provided some green morsels (I can't even remember the vegetable...) that were too cold and had an unappetising texture. The melon caviar 'sféricos' were slowly and boringly produced at tableside from a battery of enormous syringes - but the Galia melons used were obviously past their prime, flat and dull, and the sféricos reflected this. (Technology can never replace the pristine quality of ingredients.) Bahh... Then we had the vermicelli made with parmigiano 'serum', but with the coarse feeling of the cheese fat, and there was no obvious tasting advantage in aspiring them in rather ludicrous fashion, without fork or spoon. A mozzarella 'air' tasted like the real thing, but certainly was far less interesting texture-wise than a real, non-deconstructed, farmhouse mozzarella di búfala... What was the point of deconstructing it? Etcetera.

In the end, when those things are done mechanically, just as if to 'épater le bourgeois' (as the French say), the short distance between the sublime and the ridiculous is quickly covered. And, once again, the same conclusion: if you want to enjoy, not endure, Ferran Adrià's creations, go to El Bulli. Any place else, even places run by him from a distance, can become a sheer caricature.

Victor de la Serna

elmundovino

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Comerç24 is apparently referred to as the the Barcelona elBulli, at least according to what I heard a waiter tell one table of anglophones. We had a good meal there, but it only got off the ground after a unsuccessful course of tapas that resembled stuff we had at elBulli five years ago. It wasn't new, worse yet, it wasn't served with the panache that accompanies everything at elBulli nor with the sense of timing and style.

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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This discussion raises an obvious question to me. Would the dishes from several years ago at El Bulli still be as good if they were still served there? Is the novelty of the dishes of such primary importance? While I have certainly enjoyed food from Adria disciples and others clearly influenced by him , I have yet to have his food prepared by him or others, so it will all be novel to me anyway. While I do enjoy novelty for it own sake, it is ultimately unsatisfying unless it is backed up by real substance. I am very much looking forward to experiencing El Bulli for myself and coming to my own conclusions later this summer.

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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Paul Bocuse is almost cooking the same menu for the last 25 years (at least) and he is well respected in France and throughout the world...

Ferran Adria created something absolutely new for most of the tastebuds who eat "average" food most of the time. Even me as chef...´cause there is no handpicked potatoes, freshly catched turbot and real organic ´scrambled eggs available all the time.....and I respect that. He influenced a whole generation of chefs and still does....check Alinea, Anthony´s, Fat Duck...you name it.

But what in heaven do some people expect from this man...pulling a rabbit out of a hat within every dish and course? The price of his menu has the same value of an Entree in Paris. So maybe some people should allow this man to make some money and leave his "old" ideas to his other restaurants. Maybe they are not excecuted well, maybe the Chef had an argue with his girlfriend the night before, maybe the Dish is seasoned by a chef who smokes 3 packs of cigarettes a day...there are a million reasons...Maybe it´s your own taste palate ?

When your car has a broken engine, who do you blame? The man who built it or the man who "created" the car ?

Ferran I am with you :wink:

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Saturday two weeks ago I finally had the good luck (thanks to some very nice people in this forum) of eating at elBulli. The whole experience was fascinating, as on top of the food we had the chance to seat at the kitchen table, which was a whole experience in itself. We also had the chance for a nice little chat with Mr.Adria after the service was over.

I will follow with a detailed report of all dishes and pictures of them. Please bear with me, as it was a long dinner. I will break it in posts of 3/4 dishes for readability.

SD

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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Margarita 2005

a deconstruction of a frozen margarita, you are presented with a hollowed block of ice which contained frozen, solid chips of margarita. the foam on top is "salt air", replacing the typical salt rind of a cocktail glass. It had a refreshing taste, and it was a good way to prepare our palates for what was coming.

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Olivas Sfericas (spheric olives)

As Ellie explained earlier, these look like regular olive oils, served from olive oil jars, and put in a spoon for you to taste. The surprise comes when you put it in your mouth and the olive explodes in your mouth, filling it with the liquid taste of an olive. Unfortunately for me I had attended a demo by Albert Adria the previous week, so I was already aware of the "punchline". This was the first of several dishes using the spheriphication technique, which has been taken forward by the elBulli Taller team, and they now use not only alginate but other gellatins as well.

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muelle de aceite de oliva virgen (virgin olive oil spring)

This was a brittle candy spring flavored with olive oil. I found the olive oil to be very subtle, overtaken by the candy flavor. It was a neat idea, but it didn't have the powerful olive oil taste I was expecting (as the olives did, for instance).

In the demo I mentioned, Albert explained that two interesting techniques are used for this dish. The first one is to solidify fat (the olive oil needs to be disolved into the isomalt/glucose mix), and the second one is to work with the candy with a Black & Decker (this is what he said, literally) in order to create a very thin thread which could be molded around a tube to create the spring.

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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Keep these coming, Silly! The photos and descriptions are awesome. The Virgin Olive Oil Spring visually reminds me of Chinese Dragon's Beard Candy.

By the way, congratulations!

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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Comerç24 is apparently referred to as the the Barcelona elBulli, at least according to what I heard a waiter tell one table of anglophones. We had a good meal there, but it only got off the ground after a unsuccessful course of tapas that resembled stuff we had at elBulli five years ago. It wasn't new, worse yet, it wasn't served with the panache that accompanies everything at elBulli nor with the sense of timing and style.

Hello!

Her is som intreasting information.

I have been working at bout places and you cant comper them.

At el bulli we was 40 cooks working. 25 of them for free as me.

And at Comers 7 in total.

And Carlos Abellan is all tru old el bulli.

He was working for Ferran Adria for almoust 10 years befor he started comers.

But it was intreasting working for him and that meid it possible for me to get in to el bulli.

I hope you are able to understand my English it is not so good.

Mumin ses hi.

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I had the opportunity to have dinner at elBulli on May 25th. Since I credit Louisa Chu's posting last October with helping to get the reservation, I thought I'd share my experience with eGullet. The review I wrote up is aimed at friends and family, so it goes over some details about the restaurant that this crowd already knows, but you can skip over those parts. The full writeup, with lots of pictures, is at

http://foo.net/~blakej/elbulli/

I didn't have the benefit of talking with the chefs, dining at the kitchen table, or even really speaking much Spanish at all, so I don't have the details about the dishes that some of the other folks here do. But I did my best to figure out what was going on. My one-sentence summary of the event would be that it was the best meal of my life (so far), but it was too much food. I guess with 26 courses, that's not too surprising, but I think that could've been avoided. Am I a big-meal weakling, or have others had this reaction?

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We have been el Bulli diners since 1997. We have watched this amazing chef emerge and develop with everlasting enthusiasm and appreciation.

There was a time when the road to el Bulli was so difficult that driving to el Bulli was a distinctly stressful event. Stressful to arrive for a luncheon meal, no less!

It was then as it is today, a drive that energizes and thrills us both. Our dining experience then, as now, had/has no equal anywhere on earth.

We were diner's this last May, 2005. It was for us a meal for celebrating a special occasion, noted by Luis Garcia when we requested our 2005 reservation in 2004.

Our 2005 menu reflected only those dishes most newly crafted in el Bulli's most elegant kitchen. We never appreciated this level of service until we realized and compared our various el Bulli menus over the years. What a unique and special restaurant experience, unmatched by any place on earth. ONLY AT EL BULLI!

Yes the prices have risen. Every American frets about the Euro vs the dollar. The wine list is more expensive.

It is a dining experience that has no equal. Can you pair your food and wine? NO!!! Go with a wine of your choice and enjoy the unfolding remarkable succession of tiny dishes that have no match anywhere in the world. ONLY AT EL BULLI!

Our 2005 el Bulli meal will be posted very soon. It will include restaurants in the Pays Basque, Cataluyna, the Pyrenees and Rioja.

Edited by Judith Gebhart (log)
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I had the opportunity to have dinner at elBulli on May 25th.  Since I credit Louisa Chu's posting last October with helping to get the reservation, I thought I'd share my experience with eGullet.  The review I wrote up is aimed at friends and family, so it goes over some details about the restaurant that this crowd already knows, but you can skip over those parts.  The full writeup, with lots of pictures, is at

http://foo.net/~blakej/elbulli/

I didn't have the benefit of talking with the chefs, dining at the kitchen table, or even really speaking much Spanish at all, so I don't have the details about the dishes that some of the other folks here do.  But I did my best to figure out what was going on.  My one-sentence summary of the event would be that it was the best meal of my life (so far), but it was too much food.  I guess with 26 courses, that's not too surprising, but I think that could've been avoided.  Am I a big-meal weakling, or have others had this reaction?

Fabulous report! Great photos and thoughtful commentary. I am really starting to get excited. I am curious to find out when the time comes what will be the same and what will be different from your menu and others presented here and mine given he seasonal nature of at least some of the ingredients highlighted in certain dishes such as the favas.

How long did your dinner take? What is the average duration? I recently completeed a 24 course meal at Alinea in Chicago in 5.5 hours. I am curious to get a sense of what to expect along these lines at El Bulli.

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'm not trying to play dueling images with SD, but looking at the table, I'm reminded that on our first visit back in the days they were serving lunch, we very much enjoyed having an aperitif, snacks and tapas on the terrace and then having coffee there again at the end of the meal. On our next visit, the terrace was full by the time we arrived and we were ushered directly to our dinner table. For that reason, we made it a point to reserve and arrive early this time, so we could enjoy the terrace before dinner. A word to the wise. Of course for those of you who dine in the kitchen, that's another story.

SD's olive photo is far better than mine in spite of my advantage of shooting outdoors. Here are images of the beet loops with vinegar powder, (lazos de remolacha) parmesan marshmallows and black olive "oreos" which were presented together. We were drinking cava on the terrace at the time.

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"Little doves of cheese," actually popcorn with melted and crisped cheese, and ham canapés. The menu for a reminder, is here. Not to be overlooked, along with the service, is the style and presentation of the meal. The wire mesh and perforated steel is very effective against the weathered wood of the table and I believe frames the food very well. Oddly enough, this is one of the restaurants in the entire world that seems to be entirely about the food, and yet I think the ambience, service and style with which the meal is presented is exceptionally important in supporting the food for its full gastronomic effect. With each visit, I'm coming to understand how important that all is to the meal.

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The "cotton nymph," (ninfa de algodón] a wrap whose effect was not entirely unlike a Vietnamese summer roll, although not exactly like anything I've even eaten, actually came off very well. I was all prepared to dismiss this as the dish that didn't work, but there's more air than sugar in that cotton candy and it's no more sweet than many of the new dishes I've had in Spain lately.

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The last of the tapas, although not necessarily the end of the fun and games, was the imitation elBulli caviar or, as it was called on the menu, caviar sférico de melon. Neat, cute, amusing, but a repeat of the olive technique and not as effective a taste sensation as the olives. The little melon "roe" look more like candy than caviar or salmon roe. The pits you see in the pictures are passion fruit seeds. I saw them as an attempt to bring some depth to this dish, but I also found them a disturbing visual element.

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At this point we were shown to our table in the dining room. Cocktails, snacks, hors d'oeuvres or tapas were over and it was time to start dinner. The one thing that should be evident is that there's a lot of thought behind the labor intensive dishes. The pacing of the service and the interaction with the staff as they present and explain the dishes is an important part of the experience. All of the staff appeared ready to offer details and explanations in Catalan, Castilian, English, French and perhaps other languages. Our table of five was comprised of diners who generally spoke one of those languages fluently and sometimes two of them, but we didn't share a common language in which we were all fluent. More work for staff who handled it all in stride and lots of fractured French at the table. More than in any other restaurant, a meal in elBulli is the center of attention and the dominating topic of conversation.

When I have a moment, I'll check the indoor photographs and see if they are interesting enough to post. You've already seen the oyster and pearl, our first course at the table and one of the most effective dishes that went well beyond the attention to the effect of the "spherical technique" to produce a well rounded dish that would be impressive in any meal.

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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Postscript: I composed most of my post above, last night, but didn't post it until this morning. I see blakej had pretty much the same array of "snacks" as we did, but that his site has better photographs. :biggrin: I see that instead of melting the cheese on top of the popcorn, they decided to make cups of the melted cheese crisps while they were still warm. Either that, of one of us had the course served upside down. I think it's a good example of the way food is approached by Ferran. There's always room for improvement and change for the sake of variety.

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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. . . . We never appreciated this level of service until we realized and compared our various el Bulli menus over the years. What a unique and special restaurant experience, unmatched by any place on earth. ONLY AT EL BULLI!

Yes the prices have risen.  Every American frets about the Euro vs the dollar. The wine list is more expensive.

It is a dining experience that has no equal. Can you pair your food and wine? NO!!! Go with a wine of your choice and enjoy the unfolding remarkable succession of tiny dishes that have no match anywhere in the world. ONLY AT EL BULLI!

. . . .

Good restaurant service is largely most evident when the service never calls attention to itself, but elBulli takes this to another level. In fact, it may be precisely because there is, of necessity, so much interaction with staff as they explain the highly individual and creative food, that even the most sophisticated and experienced diners lose sight of how well run and how much of the front of the house operation goes on behind our backs. Just as the food is more than the sum of the courses, the experience seems greater than the sum of its parts. Above, and not for the first time, I said the food was labor intensive. So is the service and all that goes into the experience, including making it all seem effortless.

The dollar has been on a slide for a while and topic of conversation more on the France board than the Spain one perhaps, but I suppose in a way, I'm lucky to have been around when the dollar was strong and the franc and peseta very weak. The tables have turned and it's the EU citizens' turn to enjoy themselves at bargain prices. Should I be consoled that I might never have developed such a taste for foie gras had I not traveled in the Perigord when the dollar bought ten francs. At its price, which amounts to close to $200 this spring, elBulli is more than fairly priced when compared to what one pays in NY, London or Paris for a top meal. It's getting to Cala Montjoi that's expensive, but we amortize that cost by having a few other good meals along the way. :biggrin:

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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. . . . We never appreciated this level of service until we realized and compared our various el Bulli menus over the years. What a unique and special restaurant experience, unmatched by any place on earth. ONLY AT EL BULLI!

Yes the prices have risen.  Every American frets about the Euro vs the dollar. The wine list is more expensive.

It is a dining experience that has no equal. Can you pair your food and wine? NO!!! Go with a wine of your choice and enjoy the unfolding remarkable succession of tiny dishes that have no match anywhere in the world. ONLY AT EL BULLI!

. . . .

Good restaurant service is largely most evident when the service never calls attention to itself, but elBulli takes this to another level. In fact, it may be precisely because there is, of necessity, so much interaction with staff as they explain the highly individual and creative food, that even the most sophisticated and experienced diners lose sight of how well run and how much of the front of the house operation goes on behind our backs. Just as the food is more than the sum of the courses, the experience seems greater than the sum of its parts. Above, and not for the first time, I said the food was labor intensive. So is the service and all that goes into the experience, including making it all seem effortless.

The dollar has been on a slide for a while and topic of conversation more on the France board than the Spain one perhaps, but I suppose in a way, I'm lucky to have been around when the dollar was strong and the franc and peseta very weak. The tables have turned and it's the EU citizens' turn to enjoy themselves at bargain prices. Should I be consoled that I might never have developed such a taste for foie gras had I not traveled in the Perigord when the dollar bought ten francs. At its price, which amounts to close to $200 this spring, elBulli is more than fairly priced when compared to what one pays in NY, London or Paris for a top meal. It's getting to Cala Montjoi that's expensive, but we amortize that cost by having a few other good meals along the way. :biggrin:

Thanks Bux for your input. I must apologize for suggesting that I had more salient comments to make for this thread; I don't!!

I must applaud Elie's significant, marvelous explication of the same menu (with few exceptions) we also shared at elBulli on May 19, 2005. I had planned to add both pictures and our personal observations. Elie and others have done an eviable job. I have nothing to add but one observation.

My one personal comment about the lamb brains dish is that I failed to taste the sea urchin ( I am a serious fan of these unctuous morsels. I also believe that cooked sea urchin is a failed culinary effort.) The texture of this dish was akin to eating baby food. I could not taste the oursin flavor and the lamb brains were too soft! The dish failed for me because it had no depth or breadth of texture or flavor. It was boring.

The one highlight was elBulli's humor in it's efforts to celebrate a special occasion. The all purpose cardboard replication of the celebratory cake arrived at our table with great ceremony. Julie Soler produced a copy for us of our all purpose elBulli cardboard "cake" to take home. A witty end to a tasty, entertaining meal much appreciated by both of us. We will continue to explore elBulli's newest culinary contributions as long as we are able.

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Judith, one of our observations was that our meal this year was almost devoid of texture. a great majority of the dishes were soft or liquid. There were many moments of intense flavor. The lamb's brains was not one of them. If I could venture any opinion it was that Adrià was very much focused on intensifying flavors this year. SD referred to the powerful taste of the olivas sféricas earlier. Describing this dish to someone in Madrid, I was asked if olives themselves weren't spherical and offered an intense olive flavor. It was indeed hard to define what made the artificial olives worth having. All I can say is that it's a different taste and a different experience than eating olives. This is what Ferran excels at, offering us the different experience -- one that allows us to renew the joys of our early experiences with food. It's often been said that youth is wasted on the immature. ElBulli offers us the chance to discover anew the joys of discovering food, but this time around we can bring our jaded, but sophisticated palates to the table.

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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Fabulous report! Great photos and thoughtful commentary. I am really starting to get excited. I am curious to find out when the time comes what will be the same and what will be different from your menu and others presented here and mine given he seasonal nature of at least some of the ingredients highlighted in certain dishes such as the favas.

How long did your dinner take? What is the average duration? I recently completeed a 24 course meal at Alinea in Chicago in 5.5 hours. I am curious to get a sense of what to expect along these lines at El Bulli.

Thanks! I'm pleased with how well the pictures turned out - I think we were just seated in places that had good lighting.

I think just as interesting as the seasonality of the ingredients will be seeing how the selection of dishes evolves over the course of the year. By August, they may have perfected some amazing new thing that's just an experiment right now, or they may have retired something that didn't work too well. I hope they decide that the olives are a keeper. :smile:

My dinner took probably 4.5 hours, from kitchen tour to paid bill. I think mine might have been shorter than average since we left pretty quickly after the Morphings, but I thought the pacing was appropriate given the size and number of courses.

Did you think your meal at Alinea was well-paced and appropriately sized?

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Ok, given the posts from Bux and blakej, which are far more descriptive than I could ever be, it seems we might be hitting diminishing returns, duplicating images and descriptions but adding little content.

I’ll post these two which I had already written, and then I’ll try to concentrate on the ones in our menu that haven’t been described yet, or the ones I really liked.

gallery_6062_1396_17740.jpg

marshmallow de parmigiano

Just what the name implies. A very subtle dish, in my opinion, as you would expect stronger flavors from the use of parmigiano.

I liked the extremely light texture, but while good, this wasn’t one of my favorite ones.

gallery_6062_1396_19661.jpg

palomita de queso

popcorn with a cheese coat, or popcorn within a cheese “vessel”. The cheese (can’t remember what it was… pecorino maybe?) flavor was fairly overpowering. Note the change in presentation from blakej picture.

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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. . . .

I think just as interesting as the seasonality of the ingredients will be seeing how the selection of dishes evolves over the course of the year.  By August, they may have perfected some amazing new thing that's just an experiment right now, or they may have retired something that didn't work too well.  I hope they decide that the olives are a keeper.  :smile:

. . . .

While I doubt Ferran ever sits still and I'm sure his cerebral processes are usually in high gear, I would expect to see minimal improvisation and change over the course of an elBulli season. My impression is that the kichen at elBulli is not that much of a laboratory. ElBulli is only open for about half of the year. The other half of Ferran's time is spent in Barcelona at his workshop. This where the creative process begins, and to a certain extent, it's where it ends. I've always been reluctant to describe any of the food served at elBulli as experimental. The experiments are carried out at the Taller. The successful fruits of the experimentation are served at the restaurante. While taste is subjective and Adrià's food is highly personal and creative, I don't think diners are served anything that can be described as an experiment. A dish may not meet expectations, and it certainly may disappoint and not taste good to any particular diner, but I strongly suspect it's the product of great refinements made over a period of time.

No one who's interested in elBulli should have missed The Cabinet of Dr. Adria, A visit to the el Bulli Laboratory posted back in July of 2003. While it's largely about the design elements related to the restaurant, which go far beyond the graphics and decor with which most restaurants are concerned, the ost offers more than a glimpse into the Taller. The elBulli web site is another required destination.

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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Ok, given the posts from Bux and blakej, which are far more descriptive than I could ever be, it seems we might be hitting diminishing returns, duplicating images and descriptions but adding little content.

I’ll post these two which I had already written, and then I’ll try to concentrate on the ones in our menu that haven’t been described yet, or the ones I really liked.

I certainly didn't mean to rain on your parade! It looks like this forum had a number of people who dined there in May, so I guess it's not too surprising that the writeups are all coming out at around the same time.

I'm looking forward to hearing about the dishes you got at the kitchen table.

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While I doubt Ferran ever sits still and I'm sure his cerebral processes are usually in high gear, I would expect to see minimal improvisation and change over the course of an elBulli season. My impression is that the kichen at elBulli is not that much of a laboratory. ElBulli is only open for about half of the year. The other half of Ferran's time is spent in Barcelona at his workshop. This where the creative process begins, and to a certain extent, it's where it ends.

My impressions about when new dishes arrive come from Arthur Lubow's NYT article from August 2003:

During the six months that the restaurant on the Costa Brava is closed, [Adrià] works on new recipes in a "laboratory" near the Barcelona market [...]. During the summer season, however, the laboratory is moved to the restaurant kitchen in Rosas. There Adrià convenes in the afternoon (lunchtime at more traditional establishments) with Albert and Castro.

(Later in the article: )

[Adrià] had observed [one new idea] late last summer but waited until this season to make something of it; inspirations that strike after July are postponed a year.

This suggested to me that new dishes can get developed and rolled out over the course of the year. But, of course, there are plenty of people in this forum (probably including you!) that have more first-hand knowledge about it than I do.

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This is an interesting question. How much refinement, experimentation and change does go on during the season? I would suspect that the summer courses are largely planned out during the winter, however, I would be surprised if there was no room for additional creativity during the summer months. Perhaps Lucy, Revallo or someone else familiar with the day to day workings of the restaurant can chime in?

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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