Thursday, October 27, 2011

Off to Singapore

Hubs will be working in Singapore next week and I'm tagging along. A vacation from the vacation. I'll be back on November 5th but I leave again to Chicago on the 13th. After that, I'm back to hanging at my favorite place, the hospital. I have major reconstructive surgery scheduled in mid-December to fix what I lost from my mastectomy last year. Until then, I'll be enjoying every minute of this trip because I'll probably be stuck at home for the next few months. Ciao!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Girona, Spain: El Celler de Can Roca

This place doesn't need an introduction. Ranked the second best restaurant in the world, I'm still wrapping my head around this meal. This is not a bad thing. It just means I have no words to accurately describe my emotions during the meal unlike the night before at Tickets. What I'm trying to say is, you had to be there. Was this the best meal of my life or at least close to it? I'm not sure. But I do know, I'm very lucky to have experienced it.

The menu Hubs and I decided to conquer was the Feast (155 EUR). It was a 11-course tasting but it felt like a 20-course tasting.

Amuse Bouche 1: Carmelized Olives

Amuse Bouche 2: Crackers

Amuse Bouche 3: Campari Bonbon

Amuse Bouche 4: Zucchini omelette

Amuse Bouche 5: Ring calamari adaption

Amuse Bouche 6: Anchovy Bone Chip

Amuse Bouche 7: Truffled brioche

Amuse Bouche 8: Mushroom Bonbon

Bread Service
Wheat and original brioche

Apricot and Olive brioche

Green Salad
Avocado, lime, melon, cucumber, Charttreuse, sorrel, green shiso, tarragon, rocker, oxalis, eucalyptus, olive sorbet and olive oil

Figs with Majorero cheese and guava with vegetable foam

Oyster with Palo Cortado and white and black garlic

A whole king prawn
Charcoal-grilled king prawn, king-prawn sand, ink rocks, fried legs, head juice and king-prawn essence.

Charcoal-grilled sole meuniere

Milk skin, black butter, lemon and capers, flower and citrus peel

Salt-code brandade
Braised salt-cod tripe, salt-cod foam, olive oil soup, shallots and honey, thyme and chili pepper, vegetable contrast

Iberian suckling pig blanquette with Riesling
Mango and summer-truffle terrine, beet, garlic, orange concentrate and saffron pistil

Red mullet cooked at a low temperature
Stuffed with red-mullet pate and aniseed-flavoured-herb, orange and saffron gnocchi

Steak tartare with mustard ice cream (as revisted in 2009)
Spiced tomato, caper and lemon compote, hazelnut praline, bearnaise sauce, Oloroso-sherry raisin, chive butter, Sichuan pepper, Pimenton de la Vera (D.O) smoke, paprika and curry, small scoops of mustard ice cream, mustard leaves, baby onions with vinegar

Lamb with charcoal-grilled sweet pepper and tomato

Wood-pigeon liver with onion, caramelized hazelnuts with curry, juniper berries, orange skin and herbs

Lemon Cloud

Milk dessert
Milk caramel, sheep's milk ice cream, sheep's milk curd-cheese foam, sheep's milk yogurt and milk cloud

Vanilla, liquorice, caramel and black olive


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Barcelona, Spain: Tickets

As one infamous restaurant closes, another one emerges. Tickets is the latest venture of the Adria brothers in Barcelona, Spain. Make no mistake, Tickets is not elBulli 2.0 or a dummy down version of it. It's essentially a tapas restaurant plain and simple. I was pleasantly surprised that the dishes looked "normal". Hubs will always ask me if we're going to eat "weird" food so I'm happy to report that everything was delicious and the dishes were gorgeous to look at.

When we got to the restaurant, a doorman was standing outside taking names and making sure patrons had reservations. I believe only 100 seats are available each night. It was around 9:30pm and the place seemed half full. Peak time started around 10:30pm.

Right away we were escorted to our seats which were right in front of the bar. I was ecstatic because I didn't request it and we got to see the chefs in action. There were different stations for various types of tapas but unfortunately I didn't feel like taking photos of each one. Why? 1. We're foreigners who can't speak the language and 2. We're not in America where food paparazzi is the norm. I was seriously afraid of getting kicked out especially with my big camera.

The decor was whimsical and fun. There were these gold cats waving its paw back and forth. The best part of it all, a wide screen TV! And it was on the Discovery Channel or something similar. How cool is that! No pretentiousness what so ever. Oh yeah, no dress code either. Another plus!

This is the cover of the menu. Very creative and hilarious.

Since the menu is partly in Spanish, we opted for a tasting of dishes. Basically, we allowed our server to pick and choose the best dishes he felt we would like minus any dishes we deemed food allergies/dislikes. In this case it was sea urchin.

My drink of choice this evening was Clara which consists of beer and lemonade. This version was AWESOME! I couldn't help but have two. I wanted to have three but I had to stay sober for the taxi ride back.
So on to the food!

1. Joselito Grand Reserva Iberian ham

2. Nuestro pan de cristal con tomate (bread with spread tomato)

3. The verdial or marinated gordal olives

The olives came in this container and we were given two more servings. Hubs had to fish them out with a spoon since I didn't trust myself in doing it without breaking them.

4. Mini airbags stuffed with manchego cheese

5. 1' 40" quail eggs with migas (bread stew)

6a. Jamon de toro: Home-salting tuna belly painted with Iberian cured ham fat

6b. Bread sticks

7. Avocado Galician crab cannelloni with sour cream and light romesco sauce

8. Raw oysters with its pearl and sea lettuce juice

9. Raw oysters with sherry vingar, shallot and virgin olive oil

10. Half roast bonito

11. Grilled razor clams with ginger, cayanne pepper and lemon air

12. Atadito de Calamar

13. Pork neck with mustard in a bun

14. Comfit potato in olive oil with pork rib sauce and Iberian boiled ham

15a. Pastel tibio de almendras: almond cake

15b. Raspberry sorbet

16. White chocolate and black sesame lava rock

After 16 courses, we were full and Hubs said no more. We ended our meal with a small shot glass of pacharan, a homemade digestif made of hibiscus flower, orange juice and vodka.

The damage? 175,70 EUR which is equivalent to $244.00. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be given the cost of a tasting at miniBar is $125 without tax and gratuity. All and all, it was a great meal and I wish we had enough energy to go next door to 41 Degrees to try their cocktails and appetizers. I guess there's always next time.