In a talk, the renowned innovator and leading protagonist of molecular gastronomy laid out what’s happening at the new El Bulli Foundation, the successor to the famed restaurant. The sprawling project includes a museum at the site of the El Bulli restaurant outside of Barcelona, a center in the city (“El Bulli DNA”) which will host 20 chefs as interns, and an online knowledge base known as “El Bullipedia.” It’s set to open March 15, 2015.
For one fleeting month of the year, the center in Barcelona will provide dining experiences (they will not take reservations). Half the seats will be to students and others as a form of social work. The other half will be allocated to members, with membership capped at about 200. “The first who have the chance to become members will be those who have helped us through the auctions in New York and Hong Kong,” Adria told the group in the large hall on the seventh floor at Sotheby’s. Members will also be able to spend a day with the creative team.
Along with Adria were two sommeliers from the restaurant who continue to work with the foundation. I asked them about the challenge of pairing wine with such unusual dishes. David Seijas said it was a “nightmare” pairing wines with the food since, among other factors, diners were presented with 50 (!) courses in a meal during the last year of the restaurant. Aside from the sheer number of dishes, he said a challenge was to follow the unconventional ordering which could zigzag from vegetables to seafood to game and back again with diners never knowing when a sweet course was coming or even if it would be the end. “There is no order,” he said, “there is only Ferran’s order! He loves surprises.” Read more…
The world of processed meats has been on a wild ride lately: the starting bell rang in mid-January when burgers in the UK labeled as beef were found to contain horse meat. This prompted more inspections and the labeling scandal went from a trot to a gallop when Irish processors were found to have 80% horse meat and some UK grocery store meals contained 100% horse meat.
But the scandal got fresh legs yesterday when Czech inspectors found traces of horse meat in IKEA meatballs, the furniture store’s signature food item. To riff off a tweet from Daniel Gross, if you have some meatballs before starting to shop at IKEA, are you putting the horse before the cart?
While some may find this hard to swallow, eating horse meat (or not) follows cultural norms. In France and parts of Asia, eating horsemeat is not taboo and the recent scandals have stimulated an appetite for it in Quebec. So what say you: which wine to pair with IKEA meatballs? A little Cheval Blanc? Or is it…impossible?!?
Dwight Garner, the astute book reviewer for the NYT (be sure to check out his hilarious review of The 4-hour Body from last year), ventures into the food section this week with what he calls a “thrifty and unacknowledged American classic”: the peanut butter and pickle sandwich. Or PB&P, if you will. He delights in the “vinegary snap of chilled pickle cuts, like a dash of irony, against the stoic unctuousness of peanut butter.”
I can’t say that I’m swayed by this description and remain skeptical of the appeals. Nonetheless, given that the NYT spotlight is now focusing on this, the question everybody’s going to be asking–sort of the Rule 34 for bizarre foods–is which wine goes with PB&P, or is it impossible?!?
Hit the comments with your thoughts! Thanks, @trouty for the suggestion!
Lobster roll plate at Sesuit Harbor Cafe in Dennis, MA.
What’s the best lobster roll on Cape Cod? It’s hard to say and many local spots have their partisans. I’ve had the good fortune to perform a broad sampling–all in the name of science!–and offer you my top picks. For those of you who have not sampled its ineluctable charms, the lobster roll is one of those high-low pairings of lobster chunks dressed with a a mayonnaise sauce, loaded in a hot dog bun adorned with lettuce; often fries (double fried!) and/or coleslaw accompany the roll (which is sometimes seared).
Since this is a wine blog and not a lobstah blog, it’s worth noting Read more…
Last night, we dodged rain clouds and feasted on Wellfeet oysters, lobster rolls, and grilled striped bass. Cape Cod’s finest. And washed it all down with a bottle of Camille Savès, Carte Blanche NV. This made me ponder one of the wine world’s most urgent questions: is champagne better with oysters or fries?!? (Fries, often double-fired, frequently come with lobster rolls, for those who haven’t had the pleasure.) Have your say in the comments! While oysters may be a classic pairing, the high-low pairing of fries works so well, if you haven’t tried it, thanks to the fat and crispiness of the fries and the acidity and bubbles in the champagne. Mmmm….
The $666 burger has gotten a lot of media attention but for the description, we’ll cut right to the owner of 666 Burger, a food truck (yes, this burger comes from a truck, presumably relocated to the Hamptons for the season):
“Kobe beef patty (wrapped in gold leaf), foie gras, caviar, lobster, truffles, imported aged gruyere cheese (melted with champagne steam) kopi luwak bbq sauce and Himalayan rock salt. It may not taste good, but it will make you feel rich as f–k. Douche.”
Hey-oh! That’s some spicy talk to go with the champagne-melted gruyere! Even though the 666 burger man only sold one burger and more or less admits it’s a hoax, which wine would you pair with this burger? Something to go with the lobster, the caviar, the kopi luwak sauce? Or match the minerality of the gold leaf? Goldschlaeger? Ace of Spades, the “gold bottle”? Or just a magnum douchy wine? Or is it…impossible?!?
Okay, we just did an “impossible” challenge but it reeked of pipi and April foolery. So here’s something more useful: five veggie burger recipes via the Times, where the article was as high as number two on the most emailed article list over the weekend.
Seeing it on the way to the Trade Joe’s, we decided we would try it out here at the Dr. Vino World Headquarters. We made the “curried lentil, rice and carrot burgers” and they were pretty good (though the cumin smell will linger in the kitchen for days). It was so impossible for me to pair with wine that I went with a Bengali Tiger, the supremely balanced and utterly delicious IPA from Sixpoint brewery in Brooklyn.
There are other challenges on the list: Beet, Rice and Goat Cheese Burgers; Quinoa and Vegetable Burgers With Asian Flavors; Mushroom and Grain Cheeseburgers. Each has a particular aspect making it difficult, but at least a couple can offer some fun red wine pairings for vegetarians. Unless you think they are…impossible?!?