Friday, July 8, 2011

Mugaritz Dinner

Well it only took me 8 months to put up info and pictures of the Mugaritz dinner. You know why? It was a disappointment. More expensive than the Arzak experience and just cold and impersonal... Not to mention I didn't really find flavor until the desert courses.

You choose a dining experience depending on you tastes. 
I chose neither, they made a custom meal for me until I said stop.

A potato baked in edible clay with garlic aioli.
More of a "look we made it look like a stone" than flavorful.

Garden turnip in octopus broth.
The turnip was very fibrous but the broth had nice flavor.

Squid and braised leeks.
The broth was made from caramelized leeks, tender squid but lacked salt.

Red cardoons, milk sheet and chufa water.
Crunchy nice cardoons but then too sweet of chufa flavor and a bland milk sheet.

Bread stew, pink geranium, snow crab.
Do you sense a theme here? I like to use broths in some of my dishes
but I mix it up way more than this. Pretty cool use of geranium and nice crab.

My least favorite. Razor clams, black bean broth, red beans and cinnamon.
Just didn't work for me.

Arraitxiki fillet with mushroom threads.
Delicious fish and cool use of fried then shredded shrooms.

Barbeque smoked foie gras, pumpkin pulp, warm spices.
Finally we are getting some flavor. But the foie wasn't clean properly
and I got a nice big vein to steer around. Good dish though.

Skate fillet, toasted butter, iberian sheen.
Tied for second! Really good, but don't ask me what iberian sheen is...

Lamb neck and caramelized onions in potato consome.
More broth? Really? Tasted good...

Roasted wood cock, grains and seeds, chickpea cream.
Rare local bird around there, felt privileged. You eat it head, beek and all.
Similar to a squab but they overcooked the breast :(

Ocean and land: Pork tails, langoustine, braising jus and Iberico chips.
Oh snap, how could this not be good. Tied for second!
Actually stole the "iberico chip" for a dish that I'm doing currently.

Cheese, baked apple.
Yup...good cheese.

48 hour iberico pork cheek, ice lettuce.
I love ice lettuce, if you find it, try it!
Holy god, Iberico Bellota pig cheek...first place!

Warm tablet with whipped honey and oats.
Finally they are having fun. Bar of sudsy soap, tasted good.

"Broken egg" iced yolk and white flowers.
This was cool, waitress came up with what looked like an egg
and shattered it on the plate. An egg custard was inside. I had a 15 minute conversation
with the pastry chef later about making the shell.

Broken walnuts, toasted and salted, milk cream, armangac jelly.
Very cool again, pastry chef was a badass. These walnut shells are actually candies.

Chocolate hazelnuts for the road.

After they had a fire they built my dream kitchen.

Would I go again? No... $361 with wine pairing,
when Arzak was the meal of my life for $276...Spain I miss you, I miss Arzak.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Another dinner tonight

Just like with the Arzak dinner I can't sleep in anticipation, it's like Christmas! Here are some more pinxtos and some kids clothes that are too damn cute, even the children dress better than I do.


Cod roe

Fried Sardine, cream and peppers

Fried sardines

Salmon and vegetables


Marinating octopus before the grill

Iberico ham drug dealer

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Arzak Dinner

I knew it was going to be good and most eye opening meal I've had. The restaurant was run by the father for years (opened in 1968) and recently the daughter has taken charge. He still comes through the dining room though, as does she to describe the courses you're going to have. Good god they're nice and it shows in their food.

I actually had a hard time sleeping last night in anticipation. Right when I got out of my taxi in front of the place I met a guy from Sweden who was there solo like me, awesome to talk to him about traveling through Europe and I'm sure we'll connect later.

The food.

Corn soup-black bean soup

Fried shellfish sausage wrapped in Phyllo

Venison tartar, apple center, sugar crisp

Caramalized onion, curry and squid ink puff

Lobster, potato puff, lobster oil

Beet root crisp, warm oysters, potato, herbs and bacon

Poached then fried egg, coco crunchies, white truffle

Roasted monkfish, "choral", fish broth and onion shells, pepper beads

Cardoon-iberico sausage tempura

Venison 2 ways, braised breast, seared loin, paprika paper, venison-olive oil emulsion

"Spencer, are you still hungry para los platos umm savory?" 'YES!'. "OK aqui es foie gras especial" 'Gracias!'
Foie Gras, chestnut cream, corn sauce, raspberry jellies, coco puffs

"We will give you tres postres OK?"

Chocolate balls (pop then melt on your tongue), strawberry soup, basil ice cream

Butterscotch covered blood orange cream, black sesame gel, anise sugar

Tangerine cream filled white chocolate. Raspberry sauce.

"Aqui es eh...extra? Ice cream"

Ice cream - Banana and black lemon

OK....that is one sick chocolate mold, nuts and bolts?!
Mango jelly, coco-cola (bottle cap jelly and pop rocks for the fizz.)
white bean truffle, cacao crisps with strawberry jelly filling.

Clean and quite kitchen, perfect. I had no idea that there was just one sitting a night.
So at 9 o'clock they seat 20 people and that's all they do for the day.

Hung out for a good long while after in the lounge shooting the shit with this awesome family.
The restaurant is actually a house that had been in the family since the father's grandmother bought it. 
Built in 1897, the mother started serving meals there early on. Long story short, Elena has taken the helm and you don't keep 3 Michelin stars for 21 years by sitting around telling people what to do.
Both of them are hands-on every night and in another life I would love to be a member of this
food-centric family.