Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Spain Trip: Report Part Three: Food

We loved the food in Spain. Our favorite was to go to a tapas restaurant, sit at a small table and order lots of small things plus glasses of the wonderful local Spanish wine.  On other nights we would go from tapas bar to tapas bar, order one or two things and a glass of wine before moving on to another place. This was a very fun way to eat and a nice way to taste a variety of things. We found the prices in Spain, especially Seville & Madrid very inexpensive. At the best tapas place in Seville we had 5-6 items, and 5 glasses of wine. The total price was 38 Euros! At $1.08 per euro, it was quite a bargain. 
We did have two special meals, one in Madrid, one in Barcelona. Here are the details!
In Madrid we ate at DStage, owned by chef Diego Guerrero's who had previously earned 2 Michelin stars while working at Madrid's El Club Allard.
We took the smaller 10-course tasting menu option that was actually closer to 15. I'll just describe a few
You start seated on a sofa in the bar area where they bring you a wooden box filled with seaweed, and liquid nitrogen so a white steamy fog is coming out if it. Nestled in the box are 2 oyster shells each with what looks like an oyster but is really a scallop. Amazing.

Then you walk into the next room and stand at the waist high counter of the open kitchen.  We were lucky and had Diego himself rather than one of the sous chefs. spend 10 mins with us assembling our next dish. Working on top of what looks like a small slab of pink marble but is really a solid piece of pink salt he assembles (and explains) layers of fish and sauce.. Everything is one bite. And amazing. By now, I had fallen in love with the chef and was contemplating leaving my husband and running away with him. I’m not sure how he felt.
After eating that you sit down at a table extremely close to the open kitchen. In between courses you can walk up to the counter and watch or ask questions. Each dish is assembled in some way at your table. For example, if it has herbs they are cut in front of you with little scissors.!
I did learn that taking the wine pairings was a bad idea!  We had done that once or twice before and it usually involves a few glasses of wine. This pairing was a shot of rum with a special juice, several types of white and red wine, very strong and amazing sake, very strong Spanish sherry and then dessert wine. I was not feeling so well the next day!
For more details feel free to check out this article.

In Barcelona we ate at Disfrutar a restaurant opened in 2014 by three former head chefs from El Bulli, , which had closed in 2011. There we took the larger 25-course menu. This time we ordered a bottle of Spanish red! The place, like Dstage, had an open kitchen and a industrial feel. It was larger than Dstage so you were seated in a room adjacent to the kitchen rather than directly in front of it. This was a Saturday night and in Barcelona so the scene was also different. From 8:30-9:00 we were the only people in the restaurant. Around 9:00-9:30 most people came though several tables didn’t fill until after 10. The crowd was wealthy and well dressed. The food is almost impossible to describe. After course number 4 or 5 we realized we could only take a few bites of each dish or we would never make it. Many of the dishes look like one thing, but taste like something else. Two beautiful balls of meringue explode in a beet puree. A roasted red pepper turns out to be solid chocolate. A small clear plastic bag filed with pine nuts and basil gets plunged in a warm soup of Parmesan cheese and becomes a transparent ravioli. It was definitely once in a lifetime experience. If you want to see pictures check out this article.

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