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molto e

San Sebastian

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The question with Andoni and Mugaritz is that he is to be understood and not only tasted. I know it's a complicated proposition, but worth the effort. In my opinion he is the best chef in Spain today, the only one able to go ahead beyond Adriá, using the best technology can provide but hidding it in the kitchen and showing only a kind of nature renatured, a concept so precious to Merleau-Ponty. Andoni is a philosopher in the kitchen, and not easy to give pleasure, but when you understand him it's more than a meal, it's sublime.  :cool:

luizhorta,

I can see Andoni is a skilled chef, but I do not think it is fair to the diner or himself to have to be understood past the dishes he puts on the table. This was the most beautiful and disappointing restaurant and meal of my trip.

Molto E


Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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I understand your point of view. Of course meals are judged by the immediate sensation. I just ask you to try it again in the future, Mugaritz has an "aftertaste" :biggrin: and deserves a second chance, since Andoni is special.

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The question with Andoni and Mugaritz is that he is to be understood and not only tasted. I know it's a complicated proposition, but worth the effort. In my opinion he is the best chef in Spain today, the only one able to go ahead beyond Adriá, using the best technology can provide but hidding it in the kitchen and showing only a kind of nature renatured, a concept so precious to Merleau-Ponty. Andoni is a philosopher in the kitchen, and not easy to give pleasure, but when you understand him it's more than a meal, it's sublime.  :cool:

I have to agree with the  all of the above reviewer. I am already an Andoni supporter.  I continue to be. I fail to comprehend anyone else on eGullet who refutes this extraordinary culinary talent. I welcome other eGulleteers who dispute Andon'is enormous talent. We  will revisit him again and again. JUst like we will return to El Bulli, Michel Bras:  and all  the exceptional culinary destinations in Europe. THe remarkable talent of this young chef is exceptional!! Judith Gebhart

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Andoni is a great, great talent indeed. But he is also going through a peculiar, introspective, quasi-vegetarian, herb-obsessed period in his career (reminds me a little of something similar with Alain Passard a few years back...) that translates into sometimes disconcerting results. Spain's leading restaurant guide may cut his rating in 2006, I hear. That said, I much admire Luiz for knowing so much about the Spanish restaurant scene that he can state from São Paulo that Aduriz is "the best chef in Spain"! Me, from Madrid, I can't say really which one is, because there's a couple I don't know yet and a few that I know too little. But, hey, it's good to hear a clear-cut opinion. From my modest viewpoint, the best chef in Spain is still a guy called Ferran Adrià - and I have my points of disagreement with what he does!


Victor de la Serna

elmundovino

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Sorry Victor, out of sheer enthusiasm I "over-heated". Correcting my post: He is the best chef in Spain [for me] and after Ferran Adriá, that probably is number one in the Mundo Mundial nowadays. I think Andoni is taking the hard way, perhaps a non-sequitur...what makes him more interesting to me, being coherent with his ideas and not with some numbers he can or cannot get from a guide. Who needs to be an unanimity anyway? I watch him as close as I can, because I learn a lot from him, but as you say, its only my opinion from far away, down deep south. :wub:

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Andoni is a great, great talent indeed. But he is also going through a peculiar, introspective, quasi-vegetarian, herb-obsessed period in his career (reminds me a little of something similar with Alain Passard a few years back...) that translates into sometimes disconcerting results. Spain's leading restaurant guide may cut his rating in 2006, I hear. That said, I much admire Luiz for knowing so much about the Spanish restaurant scene that he can state from São Paulo that Aduriz is "the best chef in Spain"! Me, from Madrid, I can't say really which one is, because there's a couple I don't know yet and a few that I know too little. But, hey, it's good to hear a clear-cut opinion. From my modest viewpoint, the best chef in Spain is still a guy called Ferran Adrià - and I have my points of disagreement with what he does!

By the way: you've talked about Iñigo Lavado's new restaurant. Where is it? Thanks.

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I am quite puzzled to read that Aduriz has been going thru a peculiar quasi-vegetarian and herb- obssessed period. My recent (16 October) meal there started with a vegetable dish (different and BETTER than Bras' gargaillou where I ate on October 9) and apart from the next dish (borage stalks) his set menu included the following dishes: squid and chestnuts, cod cheek and tripe stew, and egg dish, foie gras, rouget (salmonetes), lamb trotter.

The use of herbs was judicious and clever.

A serious review(which Aduriz deserves) will have to wait. But I should say that his best dishes are stellar and less successful dishes are still interesting.

If I can read a chef's intelligence from his cooking and his style I shall argue that Aduriz is a remarkable person. This may of course be a great thing but it may also be a pitfall as a person like this is unlikely to find satisfaction when he perfects a dish so he may make changes too often and sometimes he can regress (such as Gagnaire). Personally I would look forward to future meals there.

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One simply has to go to Etxebarri near Bilbao for the greatest cuisine based on the simple wood-fired grill to be found in Spain, and possibly anywhere. Of the 'non-anointed', up-and-coming stars, the other musts are certainly Fagollaga in Hernani and the brand-new Iñigo Lavado restaurant in Irún, both near San Sebastián. Of the 'anointed' ones, I'd say Zuberoa is currently the most disappointing.

Had only time for one evening of tapas at San Sebastián last month while touring the French Basque country. We hit Ganbara first - and we never left. Amazing quality.

After my second meal at Etxebarri ( a restaurant I reviewed before and awarded 18/20) I wholeheartedly second Victor. His cuisine is simple but not simplistic. Some of his touches are very clever and sophisticated in an understated way(his becada, his ventresca de bonito, his foie gras). He is absolutely obssessed with highest quality ingredients to a degree that he will serve Gillardeau oysters(yes a la brasa and sitting on algae) and the best ceps. For my taste were I to visit only one restaurant in the Basque region it would be Etxebarri (followed by Mugaritz and Elkano). Besides, I love the setting in the little village of Axpe and the Atxondo valley(esp. when you hit it in a day when there is a wedding in the little church).

And hitting Ganbara....yes it is addictive and it used to be even more amazing in the late 80s when shellfish was more abundant. But it still is the best for traditional tapas and wild mushrooms. For creative fare, Alona Berri looked like a good bet but we were too full after Etxebarri to do it full justice.

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. . . .

If I can read a chef's intelligence from his cooking and his style I shall argue that Aduriz is a remarkable person. This may of course be a great thing but it may also be a pitfall as a person like this is unlikely to find satisfaction when he perfects a dish so he may make changes too often and sometimes he can regress (such as Gagnaire). Personally I would look forward to future meals there.

That's a most interesting comment and I suspect a number of my favorite chefs may share the same trait. It's a strength and a weakness, or at least potentially both of those. How a chef handles his own personality is important in relation to the food served at his restaurant, but I also suspect how the diner reacts to this personality is going to have an even greater effect on his opinion of the restaurant and his interest in returning. Budget and proximity to the restaurant will also play a part, it's easier to take risks in a restaurant one hasn't saved up all year to visit and it's easier to take risks close to home than when planning one's dance card for a visit of a week or less.

Reading in your next post about Ganbara and Alona Berri does more to make me want to be in San Sebastian than all the starred restaurants, at least on some days. Victor couldn't leave Ganbara, but he's more familiar with the competition in the neighborhood. We pulled ourself away after only a more than average indulgence, but it was the first place I revisited on the following night. Aloña Berri is well worth the trip to the barrio de Gros, partially just to get away from the old city and see another facet of bar life in San Sebastian removed from the tourist center, but also for the quality and inventive offerings. The relative calm of the setting also enables a little conversation with the staff, although I only get the second hand translation. These were two of our favorites, but by no means head and shoulders above some other places. La Cuchara de San Telmo was particularly satisfying among those others I mentioned over a year ago.


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 do agree. Andoni is not a common chef, and losing points in a local guide is inutile, he has a goal, he is going after it, and he will reach there. Sometimes critics overvalue their own power, and since they believe a lot in themselves and their little books they become more powerful, I think that guides are just to check opening hours and location of the restaurants. The most important role internet plays is in foruns like this one, in which the colors are more vivid depicted, no guide can provide such experiences in first hand as we have here and in another places. I use to read opinions in some wine forums too, and it`s a more efficient tool than any Parker system. Vmilor writes exactly what I think, Andoni is not to be taken with a frivoulous approach ("I wanted foie, no foie, not good"), this is childlish, thing that we gourmets tend to be frequently. If we see the description of the meal it`s all there, and as you say, a very judicious use of vegetables and no an quasi-vegetarian trip. But I am far away from Spanish scene, and not allowed to consider Jordi Roca`s desserts as pure kitsch or Andoni as pure genius, you know. :biggrin:

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Vmilor writes exactly what I think, Andoni is not to be taken with a frivoulous approach ("I  wanted foie, no foie, not good"), this is childlish, thing that we gourmets tend to be frequently. If we see the description of the meal it`s all there, and as you say, a very judicious use of vegetables and no an quasi-vegetarian trip. But I am far away from Spanish scene, and not allowed to consider Jordi Roca`s desserts as pure kitsch or Andoni as pure genius, you know.  :biggrin:

Luiz,

I am sorry that you interpreted my displeasure with Mugaritz as to the omission of Foie on my tasting menu. I had a different menu than Vmilor did, he did not get the burned and coddled cream with vegetable ash, vegetable charcoal and I am not sure if he got the saffron confit. Those particular dishes I have seen reviewed in the manner that I felt about them. I have only eaten at Mugaritz once and that was my menu. I am sorry that was the experience when I went there-believe me. I am sure that your menu was superior to mine, but I did not like the lamb trotter that we both had. To have the creative juice that Andoni has must be hard to contain and at times probably misfires. I look forward to trying his cuisine in the future and hopefully enjoying it much more.

Good Eating,

Molto E


Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Perhaps due to the fact that english is not my native language I did understand that yes, it was the foie omission that was decisive in your judgement. If it's not the case I thank you now for the explanation. As to the "accusation" of Mugaritz becoming a floating-in-space-anti-gravitational-greenish-vegetarian-place it came from other sources and with other intentions, not so clear to me, but common when we talk about Andoni.

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\ But I should say that his best dishes are stellar and less successful dishes are still interesting.

\

interestingly i found andonis weakest dishes to be the ones i couldnt stop thinking about

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The first night in San Sebastian, we tried tapas and we went to Casa Gandarias and Bar La Cepa( supposedly Ferran Adria's favorite). My first few shots are of Casa Gandarias, which happened to be the place we enjoyed the most.

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The vibe in San Sebastian is great, people going from bar to bar for some pinchos and having a mellow good time

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Next we tried Bar La Cepa, after trying to go to La Cuchara de San Telmo which was highly recommended but not open that evening.

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The ham is given a quick toast under the salamander before it is served to you

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The next day after some cafe con leche and some postres in the hotel and a brief rest on la concha it was time for lunch and we headed to Akelare with Chef Pedro Subijana. In 1976, Pedro Subijana and Juan Mari Arzak, the chef at Arzak, attended a conference in Madrid. There, they approached guest speaker Paul Bocuse, who invited them to spend ten days with him in Lyons and learn about nouvelle cuisine. On their return to San Sebastián, Subijana and Arzak organized a group of colleagues in an effort to try to rescue and update traditional Basque cuisine. Soon, almost unaware, they’d initiated the New Basque Cuisine movement. Chef Subijana won Spain’s National Prize for Gastronomy as the best chef in the country more than 20 years ago and has been at the head of nouvelle basque cooking ever since. Akelare is on the highest point in San Sebastian overlooking the Bay of Biscay and has been awarded 2 Michelin stars. I am not sure which is more spectacular the view or the creations of Chef Subijana.

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We ordered two different tasting menus-Aranori and Bekarki

First the Amuses:

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Sardine with a pepper indigenous to the region/ Sardina Fresca Ahumada con Pesto de Borraja y Guindilla fresca

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blood sausage in a pastry/ Dama de Morcilla con Berza y Piparras

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Hamburger of cuttlefish/ Hamburguesa de Sepia con Nube de Gambas

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Yellow pepper soup/ Soluble de Pimiento

First course-

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Foie Gras with onion, apple and corn/ Foie con Cebolla, con Manzana, con Maiz

This was very good, I would liken this to Foie truffles

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Ostras en ensalada de acelga roja y quinoa-oysters in red swiss chard salad with quinoa

The oysters were great, but the swiss chard salad was not to my taste

Second Course-

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Moluscos al Vapor con Borraja/ Steamed Molluscs with borrage

Good flavors

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Xangurro frio con sabor de Mary Germinados/ Sea tasting crab and sprouts

very nice dish

Third Course-

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Chipiron confitado, con crema de arroz y albahaca/ marinated squid with rice cream and basil

squid was cooked perfectly and I liked the addition of some of the new techniques with this dish

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Caldo de Pochas, sus gnocchis y pichon/ white bean broth, its gnocchis and pigeon

Fourth Course-

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Rape con jugo de tomate asado y huevas de pimiento/ Monkfish with roasted tomato juice and red pepper roe

monkfish was perfect

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Atun en papel cebolla, con tamarillo/ tuna in onion paper and tamarillo

Fifth course

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La terneradel cocido con zanahoria y chirivia/ Veal shanks slow cooked with carrots and parsnips-carrots are stuffed with white rice

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Presa de Iberico al Aceite de regaliz, cintas de patatas,y boniato con chufa/ Pork shoulder, marinated tomato, oxalis and onion cube

This was the first time that I was served pork shoulder rare and it was very good

Dessert

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Queso de Cabra, ensalada dulce y helado de sesamo blanco/ goat cheese, sweet salad and white sesame ice cream

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red fruit yogurt

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Tambor de calanda

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Akelare biscotti served with coffee

Akelare was a fantastic meal, in fact I wanted to go back the next day, but I had to try someplace new.

Arzak Restaurant

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Amuses-

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Cheese with dates, banana stuffed with fish mousse and puffed rice

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bacon wrapped orange

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bean soup-very good

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Foie wrapped by zucchini-first time that I had this combination and it worked

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prawn legs delicious

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squid

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poached egg with bread and mushroom

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Squid with Squid ink bread and mango with salsa of squid

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Rape con hilosy medula

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Cordero con cafe"cortado"-lamb with a coffee veil and potato with mint

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El foie de pato a la naranja

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Pichon con cera de colmena-pigeon with bees wax

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Ternera mechada con leche de chufas-stewed veal with sweet potatoes

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tortilla fea de chocolate con lechuga

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hamgurguesa do chocolate

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strawberry bubbles

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naranja con espinacas

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Arzak was a great dinner and lived up to its reputation. I liked his combination of new technique with well grounded dishes. I would highly recommend Arzak and Akelare.

My last lunch in San Sebastian was between Mugaritz and Martin Berastegui. I choose Mugaritz because of Chef Andoni's reputation as the Foie king. Mugaritz is 25 minutes outside of San Sebastian and may have been the best looking restaurant of the trip.

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I looked at the a la carte menu and the tasting menus and I did not find the one thing that drove me to Mugaritz-FOIE GRAS. I was told because it was summer that Foie is not on the menu because they charcoal it and it gets too hot. I have never been so disappointed with a menu omission in my life. If I was not 25 minutes basically in the middle of nowhere, I would have left, but I stayed. I will say that this meal was not really to my taste and Chef Andoni's last book was "Clorofillia" so perhaps he is going through this stage.

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frozen vodka with carrot mousse

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clams in a broth perfumed with grapefruit

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vegetables, oven roasted and raw, sprouts and greens, wild cultivated, seasoned with browned butter and dusted with seeds and petals. "Emmental" cheese generously seasoned{ the little flower on the rims of the bowl Berro de para}

I was instructed to dip the leaves in the broth and finish with the berro de para. After eating the berro de parra, my mouth was tingling for 3-5 minutes and I could not get the taste or feeling to stop with water, wine or bread.

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Borrage leaves blanched in a shellfish bouillon. Pickled garlic petals and borage flowers

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Burned and curdled cream with fig shoots and citric fruit powdered with ashes of vegetables and seaweed.

At this point, I really regreted not calling a cab when the foie was not on the menu. I really just feel that this style of food was not for me. I am in a camp that does not appreciate burned and curdled cream, in fact when scalding cream or milk in my kitchen, I really try not to burn it.

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Cod cheekand tripe stew. Crouton-like sopako, tomato and spicy parsley pistou soup

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Sauted sea cucumber, "vegetable carbon" and sweet shoots accompanied by "garlic casein".

I was told to eat the leaves and the vegetable charcoal seperately. Tip when offered vegetable charcoal skip it

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Rare tuna fillet in a concentrated fishbone stock. Lily shoots, leaves and flowers[ALlium, Tulbaghia]

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Loin of red mullet "goatfish", toasted and rested. Savory confit of rockfish and saffron. Grains of sea salt

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Lamb trotter fraised in a salted toffee of lactose and fresh cream. Ragu of beets

Well......

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French toast soaked in egg yolk, saute browned and caramelized accompanied by a reduced milk ice cream

This was the highlight of the meal and was really, really good

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The thawing of lychees and orange blossoms: A pistachio cake with lychee pulp, crystalized flowers and an ice cream dusting of orange blossoms

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A cylinder of chocolate ice cream accompanied by a cream of almonds, another chocolate and lime


Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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The first night in San Sebastian, we tried tapas and we went to Casa Gandarias and Bar La Cepa( supposedly Ferran Adria's favorite). My first few shots are of Casa Gandarias, which happened to be the place we enjoyed the most.

gallery_30892_2263_1368741.jpg

gallery_30892_2263_979739.jpg

The vibe in San Sebastian is great, people going from bar to bar for some pinchos and having a mellow good time

gallery_30892_2263_464205.jpg

gallery_30892_2263_1309154.jpg

gallery_30892_2263_149598.jpg

gallery_30892_2263_1155730.jpg

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Next we tried Bar La Cepa, after trying to go to La Cuchara de San Telmo which was highly recommended but not open that evening.

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gallery_30892_2263_850898.jpg

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The ham is given a quick toast under the salamander before it is served to you

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The next day after some cafe con leche and some postres in the hotel and a brief rest on la concha it was time for lunch and we headed to Akelare with Chef Pedro Subijana. In 1976, Pedro Subijana and Juan Mari Arzak, the chef at Arzak, attended a conference in Madrid. There, they approached guest speaker Paul Bocuse, who invited them to spend ten days with him in Lyons and learn about nouvelle cuisine. On their return to San Sebastián, Subijana and Arzak organized a group of colleagues in an effort to try to rescue and update traditional Basque cuisine. Soon, almost unaware, they’d initiated the New Basque Cuisine movement. Chef Subijana won Spain’s National Prize for Gastronomy as the best chef in the country more than 20 years ago and has been at the head of nouvelle basque cooking ever since. Akelare is on the highest point in San Sebastian overlooking the Bay of Biscay and has been awarded 2 Michelin stars. I am not sure which is more spectacular the view or the creations of Chef Subijana.

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We ordered two different tasting menus-Aranori and Bekarki

First the Amuses:

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Sardine with a pepper indigenous to the region/ Sardina Fresca Ahumada con Pesto de Borraja y Guindilla fresca

gallery_30892_2335_227636.jpg

blood sausage in a pastry/ Dama de Morcilla con Berza y Piparras

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Hamburger of cuttlefish/ Hamburguesa de Sepia con Nube de Gambas

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Yellow pepper soup/ Soluble de Pimiento

First course-

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Foie Gras with onion, apple and corn/ Foie con Cebolla, con Manzana, con Maiz

This was very good, I would liken this to Foie truffles

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Ostras en ensalada de acelga roja y quinoa-oysters in red swiss chard salad with quinoa

The oysters were great, but the swiss chard salad was not to my taste

Second Course-

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Moluscos al Vapor con Borraja/ Steamed Molluscs with borrage

Good flavors

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Xangurro frio con sabor de Mary Germinados/ Sea tasting crab and sprouts

very nice dish

Third Course-

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Chipiron confitado, con crema de arroz y albahaca/ marinated squid with rice cream and basil

squid was cooked perfectly and I liked the addition of some of the new techniques with this dish

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Caldo de Pochas, sus gnocchis y pichon/ white bean broth, its gnocchis and pigeon

Fourth Course-

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Rape con jugo de tomate asado y huevas de pimiento/ Monkfish with roasted tomato juice and red pepper roe

monkfish was perfect

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Atun en papel cebolla, con tamarillo/ tuna in onion paper and tamarillo

Fifth course

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La terneradel cocido con zanahoria y chirivia/ Veal shanks slow cooked with carrots and parsnips-carrots are stuffed with white rice

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Presa de Iberico al Aceite de regaliz, cintas de patatas,y boniato con chufa/ Pork shoulder, marinated tomato, oxalis and onion cube

This was the first time that I was served pork shoulder rare and it was very good.

Dessert

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Queso de Cabra, ensalada dulce y helado de sesamo blanco/ goat cheese, sweet salad and white sesame ice cream

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red fruit yogurt

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Tambor de calanda

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Akelare biscotti served with coffee

Akelare was a fantastic meal, in fact I wanted to go back the next day to try some of the selections from the part of the menu that featured Subijana's take on regional dishes.

Arzak Restaurant

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Amuses-

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Cheese with dates, banana stuffed with fish mousse and puffed rice

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bacon wrapped orange

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bean soup-very good

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Foie wrapped by zucchini-first time that I had this combination and it worked

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prawn legs delicious

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squid

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poached egg with bread and mushroom

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Squid with Squid ink bread and mango with salsa of squid

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Rape con hilosy medula

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Cordero con cafe"cortado"-lamb with a coffee veil and potato with mint

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El foie de pato a la naranja

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Pichon con cera de colmena-pigeon with bees wax

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Ternera mechada con leche de chufas-stewed veal with sweet potatoes

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tortilla fea de chocolate con lechuga

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hamgurguesa do chocolate

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strawberry bubbles

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naranja con espinacas

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Arzak was a great dinner and lived up to its reputation. I liked his combination of new technique with well grounded dishes. I would highly recommend Arzak and Akelare.

My last lunch in San Sebastian was between Mugaritz and Martin Berastegui. I choose Mugaritz because of Chef Andoni's reputation as the Foie king. Mugaritz is 25 minutes outside of San Sebastian and may have been the best looking restaurant of the trip.

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I looked at the a la carte menu and the tasting menus and I did not find the one thing that drove me to Mugaritz-FOIE GRAS. I was told because it was summer that Foie is not on the menu because they charcoal it and it gets too hot. I have never been so disappointed with a menu omission in my life. If I was not 25 minutes basically in the middle of nowhere, I would have left, but I stayed. I will say that this meal was not really to my taste and Chef Andoni's last book was "Clorofillia" so perhaps he is going through this stage.

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frozen vodka with carrot mousse

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clams in a broth perfumed with grapefruit

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vegetables, oven roasted and raw, sprouts and greens, wild cultivated, seasoned with browned butter and dusted with seeds and petals. "Emmental" cheese generously seasoned{ the little flower on the rims of the bowl Berro de para}

I was instructed to dip the leaves in the broth and finish with the berro de para. After eating the berro de parra, my mouth was tingling for 3-5 minutes and I could not get the taste or feeling to stop with water, wine or bread.

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Borrage leaves blanched in a shellfish bouillon. Pickled garlic petals and borage flowers

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Burned and curdled cream with fig shoots and citric fruit powdered with ashes of vegetables and seaweed.

At this point, I really regreted not calling a cab when the foie was not on the menu. I really just feel that this style of food was not for me. I am in a camp that does not appreciate burned and curdled cream, in fact when scalding cream or milk in my kitchen, I really try not to burn it.

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Cod cheekand tripe stew. Crouton-like sopako, tomato and spicy parsley pistou soup

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Sauted sea cucumber, "vegetable carbon" and sweet shoots accompanied by "garlic casein".

I was told to eat the leaves and the vegetable charcoal seperately. Tip when offered vegetable charcoal skip it

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Rare tuna fillet in a concentrated fishbone stock. Lily shoots, leaves and flowers[ALlium, Tulbaghia]

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Loin of red mullet "goatfish", toasted and rested. Savory confit of rockfish and saffron. Grains of sea salt

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Lamb trotter fraised in a salted toffee of lactose and fresh cream. Ragu of beets

Well......

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French toast soaked in egg yolk, saute browned and caramelized accompanied by a reduced milk ice cream

This was the highlight of the meal and was really, really good

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The thawing of lychees and orange blossoms: A pistachio cake with lychee pulp, crystalized flowers and an ice cream dusting of orange blossoms

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A cylinder of chocolate ice cream accompanied by a cream of almonds, another chocolate and lime


Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Reviving this thread.  DH and I are in San Sebastián for a few days with quick side trips to nearby cute towns.  We landed in Bilbao late on Saturday and only had time for a quick bite and fell into deep sleep.  On Sunday we started our culinary adventure at Mugaritz.  We had one higher end wine pairing and it was more than enough for two people one of which is driving.   Wine pairing was very generous.  They really went all out.  At some point there were 9 glasses on our table from three back to back pairings: 3-4-2.  You will see.

 

The aforementioned 9 glasses

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The first five courses arrived together and were vegetarian driven.  The dark cake was avocado mousse like preparation covered with blue cheese mold and it had pepper infusion on top.

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Squid “silk” with seasonal flowers.

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Baby octopus 

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“Olives” that were grapes witc cocoa nibs and vin santo

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Barely cooked lobster with shrimp sauce.

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Different preparations of leek

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Warm oyster with champagne granita

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Grouper

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Nori cooked in pork fat, pork tail terrine, pork loin cooked with gari

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octopus crumb eaten out out of hand paired with Rioja.  This is when we started to take wine pictures.

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Pigeon fried in sour dough.

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Skate paired with four Pinot

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Roasted pepper paired with three cabs

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Beef tendon and piece of beef paired with Chardonnay 

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This is when we were invited to visit the kitchen.

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Then a small kinda sweet dish of red beans 

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And after that we were escorted to a rum cask.  

Rum was paired with vanilla bean that was magically stuffed with butter and vanilla seeds while appearing intact.

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And the last course, seven different chocolates, was served outside.

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Wow!  I was completely mesmerized by the whole experience.   Not sure why Michelin downgraded Mugaritz from three to two stars.  I live in Washington DC area and Inn at Little Washington got three stars while not being anywhere near Mugaritz level.  Oh well, politics in food.


Edited by chefmd (log)
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A simple dinner of Talo, typical Basque food made from scratch in the city square.  One with bacon and cheese and one with txistorra and cheese.  The menu was in Spanish and Euskara/Basque only but there were clearly posted signs “gluten free” in English.

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talo_(food)

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Morning coffee and evening glass of Rioja on the balcony of our booking.com apartment.  3.50 Euro wine is lovely.  Gotta save money for fancy meals ;).  But seriously, the wine is just fine.

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Stunning. 

 

I have been tracking online and texting with a friend who is walking the Northern Pilgrimage Route of the Camino de Santiago, from the Pyrenees to Compostela. He reports jamon iberico for breakfast and lunch. I am so envious.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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