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- Game On at La Buena Vida in Madrid on
- A Taste of Northern Spain – Part 6: A Fabulous Finish – Navarra, La Rioja and Madrid on
- A Taste of Northern Spain – Part 6: A Fabulous Finish – Navarra, La Rioja and Madrid on
- A Taste of Northern Spain – Part 5: Basque Bravos – Eskerrik Asko Donostia on
- The Docsconz 15 Most Extraordinary Restaurant Dishes of 2015 on
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The impetus was the NYC visit of a long-time virtual friend, Paul, who happens to be a chef in London. Though we have been acquainted on-line since the early days of eGullet, we had never formally met in person. Fortunately, my schedule was such that I was able to pop down to the city from upstate for a quick weekend visit to remedy that history. When we were thinking of what to do, I got the idea of knocking off a few birds with one stone. I had been wanting to experience directly for myself the burgeoning NYC barbecue scene and the one growing in my native borough of Brooklyn, in particular. This would have the added benefit of showing Paul a wide area and a varied taste of the city’s largest borough. The best part of it, though, was the opportunity to bring together some additional old friends from the days of eGullet, Joe and Sam, as well as my son, L.J., who as it fortuitously turned out, actually had the Saturday off from work and Howard, a more recent friend, who was a perfect last-minute substitute for my son, Andrew, who couldn’t make it. Continue reading
By virtue of having spent four great dining and drinking weeks there this past year, Spain dominates this list. As a result, if there is a theme to this year’s Top Ten Dishes it is primacy of product. It was a great year for finding food in which great primary product was allowed to be itself and through the use of carefully selected accents and great and subtle technique, actually enhanced to its maximum inherent greatness. I have chosen no more than one dish from any given meal and only one example of any particular product from across all of the meals I had over this past year. Continue reading
With a lunch as sensational and wonderful as the one we had at Asador Etxebarri in Axpe, going almost anywhere else after would likely be a colossal letdown. Fortunately, for our little group, we weren’t heading just anywhere. The small coastal city of San Sebastián, known as Donostia in the native Basque language of Euskera, is as close to a food nirvana as a culinary enthusiast is likely to get. A small city packed with Michelin stars and phenomenal product and restaurants small to large, San Sebastián is the perfect follow-up to Etxebarri and so it was for us. Continue reading
Limited space is now available for the next Travels With Doc Culinary Tour! This will take place this coming April 15-22nd with five nights in Miami and two nights in Key West. My co-leaders will be legendary Florida chef Norman Van Aken and Charles Grabitzky of Travel Directions. We will be interacting with iconic Miami chefs Brad Kilgore, Chef Jeremiah, Giorgio Rapicavoli and Antonio Bachour, who will show us things that make the area special to them as well as experiencing their restaurants.
Click the link below for the brochure and here for the website.
Typically my list is a very international one, but to honor the landmark result of the US Team at the 205 Bocuse d’Or, I will stay within the bounds of the map of the United States for this list this year, choosing no more than one restaurant per state. As always, the list is comprised of restaurants that I have not yet visited. Last year, I only made three restaurants from my list, all in Barcelona. I hope to achieve a higher percentage this year!
Usually my wish lists revolve around experiences totally new to me. This year, though, it is little bit different as two of my all-time favorite chefs are involved with new restaurants in new locations. Matt Lightner, formerly of Atera in NYC and John Shields, late of Townhouse in Chilhowie, Virginia have relocated to the west. Lightner has recently opened Ninebark in Napa, California, while Shields will be opening Smyth in his former home of Chicago. Both have tremendous allure for me, however, since Ninebark is already open, I will list it first.
- Ninebark – Napa, California – Lightner is a prodigious talent, who I have come to know well. I can’t wait to see what he is doing with California product.
- Smyth – Chicago, Illinois – John Shields and his wife, Karen, both have too much to offer to not be cooking for a regular audience. Townhouse was an extraordinary meal in an out of the way, but beautiful place. Chicago is the large stage that they deserve. The website isn’t up yet, but is expected to go live in January.
- Alter, Miami, Florida – I will get there with the trip I’m leading this coming April. It is no accident that Alder is on that itinerary.
- Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis, Minnesota – Chef Gavin Kaysen, the Bocuse d’Or USA Team Coach was a star in NYC and somehow, he’s becoming an even bigger one outside Gotham.
- Ardent – Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Justin Carlisle has been largely under the national radar, but I have a strong feeling that that will be changing soon.
- Willows Inn, Lummi Island, Washington – That’s right, I STILL haven’t been!
- Stages at One Washington, Dover, New Hampshire – I’ve been watching Chef Evan Hennessy ever since he won the VitaMix Challenge at the StarChefs ICC a couple years ago.
- Angeline – New Orleans, Louisiana – One might argue that given my expressed criteria, that this restaurant shouldn’t qualify for inclusion. It is true that I have eaten in its space (a former favorite – Scott Boswell’s Stella!) and I have eaten Chef Alex Harrell’s cooking, but that was at another restaurant. This qualifies because I am super excited to experience Chef Harrell’s cooking in his own restaurant, located in a space that already has personal meaning to me. It will be a different experience for sure.
- a(muse) – Rehoboth Beach, Delaware – This restaurant is off the beaten track and off most radars, but the food that Chef Hari Cameron makes, looks and sounds fabulous.
- Restaurant Damon Baehrel at the Basement Bistro – Earlton, New York – Ironically, this is the restaurant on the list closest to where I live and the one I am least likely to ever get to as his waiting list for his small party extravaganzas is so long that he stopped adding to it. That’s a pity as reports from those who have been suggest that it is a most extraordinary experience.
When it comes to food – culture, production and crafting – is there a better place on Earth than the Basque Country of northern Spain? Blessed with a bounty from both land and sea and the know-how to use it all, Euskadi or Spain’s Pais Vasco is a culinary wonderland. The problem, if it can be considered as such, is that there are simply way too many choices. The breadth and depth of quality is so much that having to choose amongst the myriad of possibilities is daunting. The best part, though, is that it is very difficult to make a poor choice. Thus, Gerry Dawes and I had to make a few tough decisions when we planned the itinerary for just a few short days in the Basque Country. It turned out that some of our choices were guided by timing and made for us. It was timing that kept us away from places like Azurmundi and Elkano, the former because its opening hours did not work with our schedule and the latter because they were closed for vacation while we were in the area. When it came to choosing a Michelin Three Star restaurant in San Sebastian, we selected one of the two I had not previously been to. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for more. Continue reading
Returning to Galicia was one of the main reasons Gerry Dawes and I put this trip together, but the opportunity to explore more of northern Spain, some for my first time, put it over the top for me personally. The region of Asturias, known for its mountains, beef, beans, sidras (ciders) and quesos (cheeses) amongst other things, was one of those places. Continue reading