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Aug 1, 2011 11:12 PM

No Reservations - El Bulli...

...made me smile and even laugh happy in moments.

The love and passion for food in all involved was evident and infectious, and I found myself literally laughing aloud with delight at the amazing concepts and their execution at El Bulli.

Made me sad on one hand that I'll now never have a chance to go, but really, really glad that Ferran Adria chose to walk away while he still seemed to have so much joy and exuberance for what he does (that he will now pass on to students at his culinary school).

One of the best NRs in a long time.

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  1. He and Jose Andreas are great together. I loved the opener when they went to TICKETS. A favorite line was when Bourdain tasted that sheep milk torta with morels and said he'd like to "snort it up my (expletive deleted!) nose"! He was clearly humbled by his visit to El Bulli. And the food, *such* food! Adria was the perfect host and all around nice guy, it seems. Great episode, which I'll save to watch again, and probably again. I rarely have any complaints about No Reservations or Bourdain. I guess I'm like an indulgent mother, in that way!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pat Hammond

      I really liked Jose Andres here because he seemed so natural (he gets a little hammy on his PBS show and it's really exhausting sometimes). It was cute when he shorthanded *MF* like he wanted to speak Bourdain's language but then thought better of it because realized he was in front of a camera.

      Then there was Bourdain's comment about the black truffle galette that I really hoped flew over my pre-teens' heads. :P

      They were all wonderful together and to see Adria delight in the creations that came from the people in his kitchen - he looked so proud, but without a touch of arrogance.

      1. re: inaplasticcup

        I thought that Adria gave Andres a bit less than the warm welcome he gave Tony. He seemed to shortchange him in the hug department...

    2. I saw last night's NR too about El Bulli. It struck me how much of a back-slapping genial fellow Ferra is, very touchy-feely. The episode was very enjoyable.

      The side-bits and run-ups to the actual El Bulli segment were just as interesting, I thought. That MG-based meal at 'Tickets" in Barcelona was also interesting, including the "food-mall" look of the place; and that soup-on-the-beach with (ahem) REAL ingredients :-) that Andres made with that local fellow (with a little help from AB) looked yummy.

      5 Replies
      1. re: huiray

        Yeah - that soup on the beach looked amazing. And the raw prawn preparation - I was drooling in my seat...

        1. re: inaplasticcup

          Classic episode! I can definitely appreciate the magnificence of the meal they had at El Bulli but the pot of seafood soup on the beach is what got me really excited.

          1. re: inaplasticcup

            It was a pretty cool episode. Did anyone catch what all went into that stew?

            1. re: cowboyardee

              All I got was monkfish, prawns, sea water, saffron (I think), and then some side condiment made with the monkfish liver. But whatever else was in there (and I'm sure it was a lot of stuff I didn't list) it looked tasty, tasty, tasty!!

        2. Forgot to mention that I think it say's a lot about Adria, on many levels, that he considers mis-treating the dishwashers to be the biggest crime one can commit in his kitchen.

          1 Reply
          1. re: californiabeerandpizza

            I noticed that, too. From the proper staff meal to the insistence that all be treated with the same level of courtesy and respect - must be an amazing learning experience to work for him.

          2. I thought it was wonderful too. El Bulli has always sounded so esoteric to me, but watching this showed me that it was complicated but also accessible and delicious. It was fun watching Tony having such a great time.

            I have a question though. Did I understand correctly that a meal there had 50+ courses? I think if I tried that, my taste buds would have a breakdown. I realize that the portions are very small, but still - that many incredible tastes sound exhausting. It's like when I read about people's meals at the French Laundry. Can someone enlighten me on this? Or am I just a food wuss?!

            15 Replies
            1. re: The Librarian

              Yes, I'm pretty sure you heard correctly and you're not a wuss! I could probably get through it, but that wouldn't be a meal I'd want to just "get through". I wonder how long the meal lasted?

              1. re: Pat Hammond

                I was wondering that too. And also how much it cost!

                1. re: Pat Hammond

                  I thought I heard them say it was 5 hours?

                  1. re: coll

                    Thanks, Coll. I'd need some time to get up and walk around, at the very least. They probably allow for that.

                2. re: The Librarian

                  The final meal was 49 courses (each one being not much more than a bite or two). Their meals typically ran around 30 courses for about $300.

                  1. re: ferret

                    Actually for the complexity, creativity, and quality, that seems pretty reasonable!

                    1. re: The Librarian

                      I've heard they lose money on each meal. They make some of it back with their book sales. And also I've heard the restaurant has some very rich backers who have kept it open.

                      All just hearsay, of course.

                      1. re: cowboyardee

                        there was on article on the bbc that said that a couple days ago. they have never turned a profit.

                        1. re: kpaxonite

                          There's no business school in the world where you could present a business plan proposing:

                          a restaurant with a 1:1 ratio of chefs to customers;
                          painstaking preparations and presentations of 30+ courses a night;
                          and a price of not much more than $300;
                          (not to mention the many months of unpaid experimentation before each season begins)

                          where you wouldn't get laughed out of class.

                          1. re: ferret

                            Tony talked about Ferran still living in the single room he originally rented from the German owners and driving his 30 year old car. Talk about a true labor of love.

                            1. re: applehome

                              I seriously doubt he's suffering financially. His lab in Barcelona is pretty state of the art and he has a lucrative sideline in consulting. He is pretty hands-on so I imagine he's up for a much needed rest period.

                              1. re: ferret

                                No, I don't think he is suffering. But he could very well have franchised or done a Rocco and sold himself and make a hell of a lot more money. The point is he didn't. For as hard as he seems to be working, I think he could be a millionaire many times over, I think the point was that he is doing it in his own way and not just out for the buck.

                  2. I have a hard time relating to this kind of food. Adria's enthusiasm is infectious and he seems very genuine, but I had a hard time watching this episode and turned it off asfter the truffle glut. I'm sure I'll catch a rerun and maybe I'll have a different experience.