It was a Monday night when I was arriving back in Barcelona and I was meeting a couple of friends for dinner. When they told me that the restaurant they chose was located on the Rambla de Catalunya just off the Plaza de Catalunya, the most tourist-heavy plaza in the entire city, I must admit, even though my friendsare very food savvy people and would not have suggested a total dud, I harbored doubts. I had just come off an amazing lunch and wasn’t all that hungry, so I wasn’t really expecting too much. I just really wanted to spend some time with my friends. Continue reading
Posted in Bistronomic, Cooking, Culinary Personalities, Food and Drink, Regional, Restaurants, Slow Food, Spain, Travel
Tagged BarBas, Barcelona, Catalan restaurants, Catalunya, Enrique Valenti, Spanish canned goods, Spanish restaurants, Spanish tapas
With Commis Skylar Stover carrying the flag, Team USA enters the stadium for the awards ceremony.
If you are a regular reader of this site, you know that I am an avid fan and supporter of the Bocuse d’Or and now, Ment’Or BKB, the organization behind Bocuse d’Or Team USA. In addition to their role with the Bocuse d’Or, Ment’Or BKB is charged with helping talented and motivated young chefs advance their craft, art and careers. One way they are doing this is their Young Chef Competition Series. Applications are now available for potential competitors. I have attached the Press Release for more information: Continue reading
Posted in Bocuse D'Or, Cooking, Culinary Personalities, Current Affairs, Events, Food and Drink, Food Events, Slow Food
Tagged Bocuse D'Or, Daniel Boulud, Jerome Bocuse, Ment'or, Ment'Or BKB Foundation, Thomas Keller, Young Chefs Competition
When most people think of food in Spain, vegetables are not usually the first items to come to mind, More typically, most people would think of the justifiably famous jamón Ibérico de bellota, a variety of other pork products including cochinillo or roast suckling pig, or perhaps their incredible bounty from the seas around the Iberian peninsula. Given the sensational nature of each, it is not difficult to understand why those items might be the ones most closely associated with Spanish gastronomy. I have heard it said that Spain would be a very difficult country to be vegetarian or especially vegan. In a certain sense that is true as meat and fish ARE very much essential components of the cuisine, and most Spaniards don’t really understand what veganism is. The mistake, however, would be to think that because meat and fish are so important, that the Spanish don’t understand or appreciate vegetables. That couldn’t be further from the truth as the Spanish grown and cook some of the very best and most delicious vegetables in the entire world. Nowhere is that more true than in the Autonomous Community of Navarra in the northeast of the country. Continue reading
Posted in Culinary Personalities, Fine Dining, Food and Drink, Pastry, Regional, Restaurants, Slow Food, Spain, Top Restaurant Meals, Traditional Ethnic, Travel, Wine
Tagged Aliaga, Bill Sciambi, cardoons, Carlos Aliaga, Condado de Martiniega, Corella, El Crucero, Gerry Dawes, Lagrima de Garnacha, Nabor Jiménez, Navarra, pimientos de cristal, Rosado, Spain, Spanish fine dining, Spanish food, Spanish olive oil, Spanish restaurants, Tempranillo, vegetables
After a brief hiatus, the StarChefs International Chefs Congress is back with another competition for pastry chefs and its bigger than ever! If you are an American or Canadian pastry chef, an expert with chocolate and want to test your mettle against the very best, your dream opportunity has arrived! Valrhona, one of the world leaders in the production of top quality chocolate, sponsors what is arguably the world’s premiere Chocolate competition – the Valrhona C³. The name C³ is the cooler, shortened version of “Chocolate Chefs Competition” and has, until this coming October, always taken place in Europe. StarChefs has just announced the details of the event here, which includes a link to an application. It will be held in conjunction with the Tenth Annual StarChefs International Chefs Congress at the Brooklyn Expo Center. See here for news on the most recent competition in 2012 held at Madrid Fusíon.
Posted in Cooking, Culinary Personalities, Events, Food and Drink, Food Events, New York City, Pastry, Starchefs
Tagged chocolate, Starchefs ICC, Starchefs International Chefs Congress, Starchefs Pastry Competition, Starchefs.com, Valrhona, Valrhona C³
When people think of Spanish wine regions, the first one that usually comes to mind is La Rioja, and for good reason, with its’ long history and tradition of great wines – red, rosado and white. To a great extent, in recent decades, it had succumbed to the lure of Parkerization – the global wine fad of big, fruity, wood and alcohol laced red wines that could come from anywhere in the world and did. Fortunately, while that fad had become as entrenched in La Rioja as it had elsewhere in the world, it hadn’t totally taken over production and more traditionally styled Rioja wines continued to be made, even as they had come to be relatively neglected by the market. Like Cinderella, though, their time has returned and their true beauty is shining again. Our destination after a long drive into cold, wind and snow, was one of the very best of the traditional La Rioja wineries – Bodegas Lecea in San Asensio, a small wine making town not too far from the major Riojan center of Logroño, where we would spend the night and the next morning. Continue reading
Posted in Culinary Personalities, Food and Drink, Slow Food, Spain, Top Tastes, Travel, Wine
Tagged Barrio de las Cuevas, Bodegas Lecea, carbonic maceration, Corazon del Lago, Garnacha, Gehry, Gerry Dawes, La Guardia, La Rioja, Logroño, Luis Alberto Lecea, Macabeo, Marques de Riscal, Rosado, San Asensio, Spain, Spanish wine, Tempranillo
Old vine Godello in fog and frost at O Barreiro
Just when it seemed that our vinous experiences could not be enhanced any further, they were. The morning – cold, foggy and breathvisibly beautiful – proved perfect for a visit to the small, hilly bodega of retired engineer turned vintner extraordinaire, Pepe Rodríguez. His atmospheric vineyards and winery, O Barreiro, in the small village of Seadur in Valdeorras, produces some of the most delicious and special Godellos anywhere, which means some of the most delicious white wines that I’ve ever had, equal or better in their mineral rich complexity to much of the best of what Burgundy and the Loire have to offer. Strong words, I know, but these wines possess everything I want in a wine – delicious, complex, mineral-rich flavor, low alcohol, romance and identity that pairs well with a wide variety of foods, especially shellfish and seafood. These un-wooded wines are not masked by anything, but are instead allow for the full expression of the grape and the land. Continue reading
Posted in Bistronomic, Culinary Personalities, Food and Drink, Regional, Restaurants, Slow Food, Spain, Traditional Ethnic, Travel, Wine
Tagged Berna Guitián, Bierzo, Bodegas Adria, Castilla y Leon, D'Berna, Eladio Santalla, Galicia, Galician wines, Gerry Dawes, Godello, Hacienda Ucediños, Herminio Garcia Corral, La Puerta del Perdón, Marco Santalla, Mencia, O Barco de Valdeorras, O Barreiro, Pepe Rodríguez, Pulperia El Dorado, pulpo gallego, Villafranca de Bierzo, wine
Vineyards are inherently beautiful and I am never less than enthralled with a visit to one, but despite visits to gorgeous vineyards in France, Italy, Germany, the United States, Chile, South Africa and elsewhere in Spain, I was unprepared for the unparalleled gorgeousness of Galicia’s mountainous Ribeira Sacra region. Continue reading
Posted in Culinary Personalities, Fine Dining, Food and Drink, On the Farm, Regional, Restaurants, Slow Food, Spain, Traditional Ethnic, Travel, Wine
Tagged Abaceria O Batuxo, Adegas Manuel Formigo, Amandi, Beade, Cañon de Sil, Cividade, Décima, Enrique Pérez Fernández, Galicia, Galician wines, Gerry Dawes, Godello, Jorge Carnero, José Manuel Rodríguez, Manuel Formiga, Mencia, Miño River, Monforte de Lemos, O Grelo, Primitivo Lareu, Ribeira Sacra, Rio Sil, Roberto Regal, Sabatelius, Toalde, Treixadura, Val da Lenda, Victor Rodríguez, Viña Cazoga
T.S. Eliot called April “the cruelest month.” I’m sure that he had a number of reasons for that pronouncement. One of them may or may not have been, that the month starts with April 1st, aka “April fools Day.” If that wasn’t one of Eliot’s reasons, it very well should have been, as the twenty-four hour period is filled with pranks and jests on unsuspecting people as well as those more attuned to the rhythms of that particular day. I, yes me, am guilty of perpetuating just such a jest, luring in the unsuspecting with an announcement, that as it turns out, rather sadly for me and my family, really was nothing more than another April Fool’s joke.
For an April Fool’s joke to be good, it has to be fairly preposterous, yet have elements of believability. For anyone who knows me and my family and anyone who reads this blog with any regularity, it should be fairly obvious the esteem that we hold for the beautiful and delicious city of Barcelona. I truly, would love to live there and my son would truly love to play for the best soccer development program in the world. That we would want to do what I had written was certainly believable, but actually getting to do it? I am honored and humbled that anyone, let alone people who I like and respect so much, might have considered yesterday’s announcement to have been the least bit plausible. To me, as much as I would love that it were true, every aspect of it, it was simply preposterous and meant to be self-deprecating. If I offended anyone, I apologize, but I also want to thank all who actually believed it possible and also those who laughed at the joke and understood it as such. Of course, most of the “likes” were probably from people happy to see us go!
For better or worse, I have posted an April Fools post for the past few years. I may or may not do so again in the future, but if I do post on that date in the future, it will likely be another.
It’s official, at the end of this school year, my wife, our son and myself will be moving to Barcelona, the city of our dreams. This move has been predicated on our son’ acceptance into the FC Barcelona Training Academy at La Masia, which finally became official today. In addition, I have taken a position with the elBulli Foundation to study the effects of Creativity on Health and the effects of Health on Creativity. It has been a whirlwind that I am relieved to be able to announce to the world on this First day of April, 2015!
There are few, if any, foods that I enjoy eating more than top quality shellfish. Cracking open a just-from-the-sea lobster in Maine, slurping down a lightly dressed Gillardeau oyster in Paris, Barcelona or Lyon, devouring a grilled carabinero in Madrid, and diving into my my mother’s bucatini with blue crab sauce, amongst other great shellfish dishes, all bring deep smiles of pleasure at the memories and induce intense salivation as I recall them. With few exceptions the most memorable bites of shellfish have been those that have been treated modestly with the inherent flavors and textures allowed to shine forth. I have enjoyed great shellfish dishes in many places, including my own kitchen, but it is not so easy to find a restaurant that is brilliant through a wide range of the creatures. Perhaps the finest shellfish meal I have ever had, rivaled in memory only by Lisbon’s Restaurante Ramiro, was the one I had recently in the small Galician coastal town of O Grove. The restaurant was d’Berto, which is already well known to connoisseurs of shellfish and fish, but perhaps not so much to others. Continue reading
Posted in Culinary Personalities, Fine Dining, Food and Drink, Restaurants, Slow Food, Spain, Top Restaurant Meals, Top Tastes, Traditional Ethnic, Travel, Wine
Tagged Albariño, almejas, Antonio Gondar, Avó Roxo, berberechos, Berto Domínguez García, Cabaleiro do Val, cangrejo, d'Berto, Francisco "Paco" Dovalo, Galicia, Galician wines, Gerry Dawes, Manolo Dovalo, Marisol Domínguez García, navajas, O Grove, oysters, percebes, Ramiro, Rozas, seafood, shellfish, Spain, zamburiñas negras