the modern fit out
the wine list!
the rice with mushrooms
the gorgonzola icecream with mango sauce (sounds weird but think how well sauternes and roquefort go together - the sweet and the salty)
food in general
the tea menu
the multi-lingual and very wine knowledgable service
struggling to think of something here - the overpowering saffron sauce with the rice & mushrooms detracted from the dish - but was easy to eat around
bread with olive oil
scampi wrapped in pastry with a mussel and salmon roe
rice with trompette de mort (mushrooms) & saffron sauce
duck breast with polenta & rosemary
gorgonzola icecream with mango sauce
day menu was brilliant E18 including 2 glasses of excellent wine
yes but not necessary for lunch
i. a civilised modern lunch - business or otherwise OR
ii. some serious wine indulgence - exploring Spain and the world
the engaging service
food in general
pep (the proprietor)
the verbal only menu
feeling like a tourist
bread with tomato & olive oil (not the greatest bread but love the concept)
tortilla with potato & jamon
deep fried artichokes
pimentos al padron (didn’t get any picquante ones - damn)
weird flavoured whipped cream dessert (totally not recommending but apparently it’s very popular with the ladies)
in the bar - no
in the restaurant - yes but only for parties of 4 or more
the perfect classic (if a little cliche) tapas experience
“We are now in a products season in which is very important to know if our customers enjoy game, innards and mushrooms elaborations as well the usual questions about seafood or some allergies.”—reservation confirmation email from elBulli [bring on the innards!]
a detour via the cambridge cheese company:
- colston basset stilton
- devon blue
- fresh curd with tarragon
- bebris de pyrenees (like ossau iraty - my favourite of them all)
- something wrapped in nettles
- wild boar terrine
- phesant terrine with foie gras & truffles
- jamon serrano (just to warm up for spain!)
- fresh dates
- sourdough baguette
a few pints of ale at the local pub
picnic dinner at home with a lovely prosecco & seriously complex barolo
I’m going to start with a most memorable meal, an April evening in New York City about a year-and-a-half ago. Zoe, Noeli, and I drove from Montreal the night before and spent the day walking around, checking out the Olafur Eliasson exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (underwhelming, unanimous) and a collection of Henry Darger drawings at the Museum of Folk Art (fantastic). We then split up so that Zoe, a curator in Montreal, could attend the Whitney Biennial exhibition for a couple of hours, while Noeli and I walked into Brooklyn over the Brooklyn Bridge, tooled around, then met up with Zoe again at the Strand Bookstore. (Yes, yes, 100% clichéd, but I’m originally from New York, so I feel like I deserve some degree of leniency of judgment.)
Dinner was booked for Masa, a restaurant planted on the third floor of a glorified mall at Columbus Circle near Central Park. Not cheap, something like $300 per person for a prix fixe meal, excluding drink, tax, and tip, and also excluding the $100 per plate add-on for the night’s special dish of wagyu beef (we took two for the table). The scene: Master Masa at the counter, bald, focused, lost in his art, the several mini-Masas working the kitchen area behind him, and the all-too-formal staff of wait-people scurrying about in what seemed to be some sort of choreographed performance of service.
Masa splits the meal between 1/3 non-sushi courses and then the rest more classically nigiri items. All in all, there were about 20 different courses of food, sea urchin risotto and white truffle, the obscenely delicious beef, and fresh fish so good that we all (like most people who eat there) find any future sushi dining experience, now matter how pricey, ultimately disappointing.
This morning, here I was in my kitchen in Rossland, British Columbia, checking my email and listening to music while making chicken soup (see attached) and, appropriately enough, Mark “the Minimalist” Bittman’s no-knead bread. See: (sorry for that massive and cumbersome URL):
Is he on your radar down there in Sydney? Food writer from the New York Times? I feel a certain affinity for him, both middle-class New York Jews, and both got interested in food and cooking after growing up with wonderful & loving parents who had little interest in, and time for, Food, with a diet heavy on packaged and frozen products. Check out as evidence this still life photo from la cuisine chez nous circa 1976. He gave a nice talk in the TED series of lectures as well:
But, I digress. Just wanted to tie in the semi-coincidence of my minimalist day with your interests. I’m a family physician in Montreal, work mostly in the Canadian Arctic, and after several months in south Sudan with Doctors without Borders, I headed out west to cover a woman’s practice who is going on maternity leave. Much more relaxing than Sudan, and the powder skiing is way better. My current home is the house of another physician now travelling on a big trip to Ecuador and Australia (north of Sydney, I think) to visit her orthopedic surgeon brother who’s set to marry an Australian woman next month. Unfortunately, she didn’t have any stock pots large enough to make the soup, so I went a few doors down to borrow one from her neighbors, a family from Melbourne who have settled in Rossland. You are everywhere. But, you know that already, as I see from your bio. I did my university in northern California, so I was happy to see that you
spent some time there as well.
But, still, I’m digressing. Noeli sent the email that got this whole thing started. See attached minimalist message.
As for the blindness of this dinner date, maybe I can meet you in Barcelona the day before. Is that how you’re traveling? Otherwise, I’m inviting you to my 40th birthday dinner party in Montreal on November 14th right before the contest closes where you can make a more informed decision. It will be mostly Moroccan fare (honey-glazed turkey via Paula Wolfert, steamed leg of lamb, smoked lamb ribs, etc.) with about 30 folks. Are you that mobile? Not likely, but give it a think. Can you write it off as a business expense as part of the whole elBulli affair? You’ll have a delicious meal, can vet a contestant in person, and still have a few hours to mull over the decision before the deadline.
Anyway. I speak English fluently, albeit with a mixed-up accent. I appreciate delicious food and long boozy lunches, but think that long boozy dinners are pretty good too. I like women who like their shoes. I love cheese and tea and New York pizza. I have never been to Australia. I am, though at risk here for some serious presumption, your man.
Respectfully submitted for your kind consideration,