Spain – The Final Itinerary

The blog has been dormant for awhile but that will change shortly. Upon returning from Spain on Sep 22nd, you will find stories about the restaurants listed below. I’ve tried to get a decent cross-section of Spain’s best – molecular gastronomy, pristine ingredients, and perfected traditional specialties.

  • Jamonisimi – My ham-loving friend says their Salamanca is a life-changing event. See some recent beautiful pictures at Foodite.
  • Casa Lucio – Creative tapas in Barcelona.
  • Espaisucre – A dessert restaurant in Barcelona.
  • Etxebarri – This has the potential to be my favorite meal of all-time – a man, his grill, and perfect seafood. A few key blog posts have mythologized this place and I hope it meets my very high expectations.
  • Mugaritz (redux) – The first meal still ranks as the most unique meal I’ve ever had with a trio of desserts that outshine even Sam Mason.
  • Pinxto in San Sebastian – Gunbara for mushrooms, Txepetxa for anchovies, Astelena for slightly upscale tapas, Alona Berri for the perennial pinxtos winner (yes, there’s an annual contest), La Cepa for ham, and Pasteleria Oiartzun for baked goods.
  • Asador Bedua – There’s a mythical asador in Bodega el Capricho but that would add a day to the trip. Instead, as a compromise, I’ll try Asador Bedua in Zumaia.
  • Combarro – Pristine seafood in Madrid.
  • Kabuki – The only risk on this trip – Spanish/Japanese fusion. Normally, I would run far away but Spain does have the ingredients to make this work.
  • El Poblet – The Opinionated About review is thoroughly convincing; the Living Forest and Abstraction of the Sea dishes sound quite different. Blind Tasting merely re-affirms the greatness.
  • Casa Paco – The world’s greatest paella?
  • Rias de Galicia – old school seafood that some say will be the benchmark. Chez Pim recently ate there as did the New York Times.
  • El Quim de la Boqueria – it’s tapas in the middle of the bustling market but the langostines from my trip last year were nearly as good as those found in the French 3 star restaurants.

That set of reports should keep me busy for a few weeks.

In October, a trip to LA will yield the following reports:

  • Urasawa – the temple
  • Bin 8945 – I’m friends with the investors and my wine-loving friend is coming out so it will be a 20-course, 5-bottle extravagaza!
  • Providence – If it’s as good as the meal last time, I’m proclaiming it the 3rd best restaurant in the country (after Manresa and Urasawa.) It absolutely out-shined my last Le Bernardin meal at every level.

And I would really like to make it out to McGrady’s (Charleston) and Blue Stem (Kansas City) before the year ends. As for the Bay Area, there will be visits to Manresa, Marinus, Chez Panisse, Cyrus, Pilar, Farmhouse Inn, Quince (with pictures) and possibly Redd before the end of 2007.

- chuck

  • sam grimes

    Sam says that you should make sure that they know you are serious at Etxebarri to maximise your meal there. How disappointing one travels all that way, yet el-kano is left off the list. a real pity and not the right move. sample some tapas early, say 9pm, then make the quick drive for turbot and kokotxas at midnight.
    If you find Pinoso and actually make it there, they will not disappoint…

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