Yesterday Restaurant magazine continued its tradition of naming the best restaurants in the world, displacing Noma (which was formerly at #1) with El Celler de Can Roca in Spain. Of course there are all kinds of discussions about how legitimate this list really is (The Ulterior Epicure has a good rant about it) and, like anything else, I take lists like these with a grain of salt. (Though, if I hadn’t followed this list, I wouldn’t have even known about El Bulli where I was lucky enough to eat in 2009.) Mostly I’m finding myself curious about the new #1 which is how I stumbled upon the video you see above. I see some real parallels between the techniques at Can Roca and El Bulli–like the black squid ink sponge–but there’s no denying the artistry. Maybe if enough people link to this post, I’ll be able to afford to eat there someday.
Pop quiz, hot shot: you’re at dinner, sitting at a table, celebrating your anniversary, and someone puts this glass bowl in front of you.
Do you: (a) Admire this beautiful display as a table decoration or do you (b) Eat it? The answer, it turns out, is both.
For the past six years, I’ve taken a picture of almost everything I’ve eaten.
Yesterday, for example, I took a picture of my lunch. I was at The New French with my friend Diana and I had an interesting salmon salad with escarole and a Muscadet vinaigrette: I took a picture with my cell phone. The night before I’d made a spatchcocked chicken and of course I took pictures. Lunch that day was a humdrum hummus at Hummus Place, but you get the drift: I take pictures of what I eat.
What does this reveal about me and my enjoyment of food? Is this a problem? Recently, several chefs and food writers have come out with a message that would suggest: “yes.”
This is my last post about Barcelona and El Bulli—thank you all for your patience as I recounted my trip in such great detail. For anyone who wants a quick all-purpose post that covers the bases, here they are: we stayed at (and loved) the Banys Orientals which was recommended by a reader, had the friendliest staff, and lovely music on its website. (They also helped us rent a car for our journey up to El Bulli.) In Roses, we stayed at the Hotel Coral Playa, which was recommended by Louisa Chu, and was a charming (and relatively inexpensive) option for those of you lucky enough to get a reservation at El Bulli. As for our dinner at El Bulli, many of you asked how much it cost. The answer is $1000 (about 700 Euros). That may seem outrageous, but I’d been saving since February so when it came time to order wine, etc, I didn’t have to be a cheapskate. (Without the wine, and without a tip–which, I imagine, is optional (though I left a nice one)–the meal could’ve been more like $700.)
For the past four years, every since I knew about it, really, I’ve been e-mailing El Bulli–frequently cited as the best restaurant in the world–for a reservation. And almost like clockwork, I get an e-mail back a few months later stating that because of intense demand (800,000 people applying for 8,000 possible reservations, according to Wikipedia) my request couldn’t be honored.
That is until yesterday…