Tuesday, July 10, 2007

El Bulli experience - part three

I’ve had some extra time since I’ve arrived from my trip so I decided to finally post part 3 of my El Bulli experience blog. So far what you have seen until now were just appetizers and few other courses. Now I will explain about the main courses we had and the desserts.

After the “Fondant de frambuesas con wasabi y vinagre de frambuesa” was served, I thought that that was it…just a few dishes left. They do not give you the menu while you are in the restaurant, so you really don’t know what to expect when you are there (unless you read blogs like this..)..Before I continue, I’d like to give you more facts about this restaurant that I found interesting:

* El Bulli means “Bulldog” in Catalan.

* The restaurant was initially put up for the fishermen of the area. When they asked Ferran
Adria why haven’t they increased their prices for the degustation menu (This year is 185 Euros per person) he said that he would like to still maintain the prices “affordable” so that anybody could have a chance to go. His prices are still fairly reasonable compared to other 3 star Michelin restaurants.

* The other 6 months that its closed, Ferran Adria and his team head to Barcelona and there, they spend the other 6 months of the year researching and creating the new dishes that will be served during the new season. His “lab” is called EL BULLI TALLER.

* During the season that El Bulli is open, Ferran Adria lives in a house walking distance to the restaurant. There is not a single day that the restaurant is open and he is not there

* El BULLI HOTEL is a Hotel they operate in Sevilla. The hotel is called Hacienda Benazuza and there they serve all of the past dishes that has been served in El Bulli during the past seasons. I am not aware how easy/hard it is to get a reservation there.

Ok..ok enough of this...lets get on with the food:

Yogur de ostras on pedro ximenez en tempura or Oyster yoghurt with a grape of Pedro ximenez tempura style. It was a creamy, frothy, foamy and had a perfect oyster flavor, only there was no oyster. The pedro ximenez was to be taken after the oyster which gave a good counterpoint to the oyster taste. For those who don’t know, Pedro Ximenez or ‘px’ is the name of a white grape and also an intensely sweet dessert sherry.
Yogur de ostras con pedro ximenez en tempura

Judion con panceta Joselito – or Haricot bean with Panceta Joselito – This was one of my favorite dishes of the night. It was a big haricot bean (done the same way the spherical olive was done) covered with a thin film of gelatine made with the fat of the Jamon Joselito (Joselito is one of the best producers of Jamon Iberico in the country)
Judion con panceta joselito

Dashi con caviar de Miso or "Dashi with miso caviar." Apparently "dashi" is a broth that's used in miso soup. The "caviar" were not, in fact, caviar... it was more like a cream made of miso.
Bizcocho de sesame y miso

Cascara de gorgonzola, nueces , apio y manzana or Gorgonzola shell with nuts, celery and apple. This was a frozen gorgonzola shell. Inside was the mixture of the 3 ingredients. The celery and apple were some what cold while the nuts were a bit warm.
Cascara de gorgonzola

Risotto de citricos or Risotto of citrics – As expected, this wasn’t a traditional risotto (there was no rice in it). The main ingredients were coconut powder, sesame seeds and the pulp (which was made to look like rice) of grapefruit. They asked us to mix everything before eating it. Very interesting mix of flavors.
Rissotto de citricos

Empanadilla de padron – Padron is actually a type of pepper that grown in spain (pimientos del padron). They are medium sized peppers and the traditional way they are served its lightly fried with olive oil and sprinkled with rock salt. They are not spicy but there is usually one in every batch that is very very hot. The empanadillas were actually served wrapped in a transparent wrapper and inside were the seeds of the pepper. They combined this with “regaliz” or liquorish.
Empanadilla de Padron

Esparragos en diferents cocciones - "Asparagus in different cooking times." Five little white asparagus tips (about 2-3 Inches long) all cooked to different degrees, and all with different flavors/sauces. It also had a foam of sea salt and they sprinkled small frozen egg yolk balls over It.

Navaja con Laurencia or Razor clams with laurencia. Fresh and huge razor clams served with some kind of sea/salt water foam. Very tasty and fresh.
Navajas con laurencia

Won-ton liquido or Liquid won-ton of mushrooms - These were small soft won-ton wrappers filled with liquid that tasted like won-ton. What was interesting about this dish were the small mushrooms thinly shaved. Apparently they are grown in the pais Vasco (Basque region) although I cant remember the name right now.
Won-Ton liquido

Esperdenyes rellenas de Kalix con empanadilla de lechuga or Sea cucumbers with kalix - sea lettuce and salicornia." - Surprising delicious..at first I was a bit skeptical to eat sea cucumber. I also asked what was kalix and they told me they were eggs from a certain type of fish only found in Norway. Again, this was a very interesting and tasty dish.
Espardenyes rellenas de Kallx

Aguila-Tuetano de Ternera con hojas de mostaza or Eel-beef marrow with mustad leaves. We were supposed to eat the eel first followed by the marrow. As seen on the side of the pictures there was also a flower that was supposed to eaten in between both as a cleanser. It’s the first time I try eel and beef marrow and truly they were both superb. The mustard leaf put everything together to make this dish near perfect.
Anguila con hojas de mostaza

Sopa de mantequilla noisette con sesos de Conejo – or Noisette butter soup with rabbit brains. They asked us in the beginning of our meal if we wanted this dish, Obviously we both agreed since we thought to give it a try. How can I say no to one of the creations of Ferran Adria?? Surprisingly the rabbit brains were very good and had a resemblance to foie. The butter soup was very think and was topped with some sort of cream (maybe sour cream). The dish also had some gelatin squares, which seemed to have a hint of Lea and Perrins taste.
Sope de Mantequilla noisette con sesos de conejo

And now for the dessert:

Sweet frost fruits. They were blackberries in a light meringue pillow that had been cut open to reveal the fruit. Then at the side there was a little eyedropper of concentrated blackberry liquor. They told us to drizzle the liquor all over and eat it in one bite.
Frosted fruits

Tangerine jelly square with green tea crackers and mint. This was a cracker made with green tea with a tangerine/jelly square on top with a small leaf of mint. The green tea cracker was a curious and tasted very good.
Morphings - with green tea crackers

La Lana 2007 or Wool 2007. A ball of pure white cotton candy, with cream and ice cream beneath, which was a nice surprise. It also had some kind of chocolate on the plate which added more taste to the dish.
La lana 2007
DSC_0062 copy.jpg

As Anthony Bourdain said: What is a meal? What should a meal be? What should your experience be during a meal? What can a meal be? Should food be science? Should food be art? The truth is I don’t know, but I’m sure Ferran Adria asks himself these questions everyday.

He challenges traditional cooking with his innovative techniques and he does this in a fabulous, strange, creative and some what scary way…

Truly an experience I’ll never forget.


christine said...

Man, what an experience! Ferran Adria is an alchemist. How he deconstructs food to create a radical piece of edible art is nothing short of genius. You are so lucky! I'm glad you decided to blog about this in detail because I can only hope to experience this myself someday.

But seriously, rabbit brains?! Wow.

francesbean said...

As I am reading through this post, Anthony Bourdain on the right side of my screen says the exact same lines-- "What is a meal? What should a meal be?"... :)

Miguel said...

Yes you are right....I've corrected this in the blog :)