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Innovative food

How do Chowhounds feel about restaurants like the one described in this article?
http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/06/27/sp...

I consider myself very adventurous, but it would take a good deal to drag me into on of these establishments. I am a little surprised at how strongly I feel about it.
For example, "a course simply called "liquid," which is peach dipped in liquid hydrogen" seems entirely antithetical to everything food should be.
That said, I also find people with knee-jerk "natural is automatically always better" reactions supremely irritating. I'm all for the forward march of science -- but why this? Why?
Chava

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  1. My knee-jerk response is "delicious is automatically always better."

    1. I want delicious food, which may or may not be innovative. The term "liquid" does nothing to stimulate my appetite but makes me strongly consider kicking the chef in the shin.

      1. I would *love* to eat at El Bulli. Adria is taking cooking to a different level, analyzing the nature of taste and texture in ways different from what is commonly accepted. It may not be to everyone's taste, but I applaud his creativity.

        Anthony Bourdain did a show recently, shown on the Travel Channel, on Ferran Adria. I found it very interesting, particularly near the end when Adria says he's trying to stimulate the memory of taste - taking foods which are familiar and tweaking them so we taste them again in ways which are fresh and new.

        1 Reply
        1. re: cheryl_h

          I agree... and I saw the same show and was TOTALLY entralled... I'd always heard about the El Bulli experience, but to see it and in such detail, it made it on my must try list for sure... :)

          However, this type of 'food manupulation' maybe more common than we think in even our neighborhood joints. On Iron Chef America, You see chefs on occassion using Xanthan and Citric Acid among other ingredients and tools of food science...

          --Dommy!

        2. I'm with you, Whippet.

          I don't want to be experimented upon.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            No one is experimenting on the diners. :)

            1. re: Darren72

              Really?

              Who was the first one to serve "flavoured air" to guests before Adrià? Unusual foams?

              I call that experimentation.

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                What do you mean by "experiment". The dishes are thought out beforehand, and then served...just like in every other restaruant. What's so hard to grasp?

          2. I enjoy new things and would absolutely love to eat at El Bulli. I concede that I might not want to repeat some of the dishes, but would certainly enjoy experiencing the different textures and flavors.

            I would like to be receptive to a multitude of food adventures and open my mind to new adventures in eating.

            Unfortunately, I'm not sure a visit to Spain is in my near future!

            I truly don't mean to sound like a pretentious prig....I just like trying new things!

            1. Although i'm certainly in support of innovation, and the prospect of finding new and different flavors is thrilling - i can't help but feel that much of this food veers away from the whole point of eating in the first place: to survive and vitalize your body.

              Personally, i would eat at El Bulli, or restaurants like it, perhaps once for the experience. But I enjoy food that sates my hunger while also sustaining my health with antioxidants, omega 3s, and complete proteins - which will last far longer than the flavor from those few bites of, oh say "bacon and egg ice cream" (on the menu at "the fat duck" in Britain).

              Its great for novelty and innovation, but not for living on a day to day basis, and because of that it seems this type of food will also be an elite experience and never reach the main public.

              2 Replies
              1. re: chefinthecity

                Yes, the cost is prohibitive, it's unlikely that the general public would be willing to eat $300 meals everyday.

                1. re: chefinthecity

                  It clearly isn't meant to be eaten on a day-to-day basis. Neither is the more traditional food one finds at, say, Charlie Trotters or Mario Battalis restaurants. Most high end restaurants (or, most restaurants, for that matter) are not meant to be every day type of restaurants. The food is clearly too heavy on fats.

                  I'm not sure one should think about avant guarde cuisine as whether it can be eaten every day.

                2. "If I could get perfect vegetables, I wouldn't need to do all this."--Heston Blumenthal

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    What's your point? Do you honestly think Adria is doing this because he can't get fresh ingredients? Check out the Bourdain show if you want to learn about his motivation.

                    1. re: Darren72

                      I'm sure Blumenthal didn't presume to speak for Adria. Here's the article, figure out for yourself what he meant:

                      http://www.ryanadams.org/Thread.aspx?...

                  2. There are restaurants in the U.S. that are doing similar things, perhaps not as good or to the same extent as Adria. See WD-50 in NYC, Alinea in Chicago, and Moto in Chicago, to name a few.