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No Reservations - El Bulli...

inaplasticcup Aug 1, 2011 11:12 PM

...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. Pat Hammond RE: inaplasticcup Aug 2, 2011 05:19 AM

    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
      inaplasticcup RE: Pat Hammond Aug 2, 2011 06:28 AM

      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
        roxlet RE: inaplasticcup Aug 2, 2011 06:43 AM

        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. huiray RE: inaplasticcup Aug 2, 2011 05:20 AM

      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
        inaplasticcup RE: huiray Aug 2, 2011 06:30 AM

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

        1. re: inaplasticcup
          californiabeerandpizza RE: inaplasticcup Aug 2, 2011 07:35 AM

          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
            cowboyardee RE: inaplasticcup Aug 3, 2011 09:52 AM

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

            1. re: cowboyardee
              inaplasticcup RE: cowboyardee Aug 3, 2011 09:56 AM

              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!!

              1. re: inaplasticcup
                Philly Ray RE: inaplasticcup Aug 3, 2011 09:59 AM

                There were potatoes too, I believe.

        2. c
          californiabeerandpizza RE: inaplasticcup Aug 2, 2011 07:37 AM

          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
            inaplasticcup RE: californiabeerandpizza Aug 2, 2011 07:39 AM

            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. The Librarian RE: inaplasticcup Aug 2, 2011 10:23 AM

            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
              Pat Hammond RE: The Librarian Aug 2, 2011 11:47 AM

              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
                The Librarian RE: Pat Hammond Aug 2, 2011 11:55 AM

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

                1. re: Pat Hammond
                  coll RE: Pat Hammond Aug 2, 2011 12:05 PM

                  I thought I heard them say it was 5 hours?

                  1. re: coll
                    Pat Hammond RE: coll Aug 2, 2011 03:58 PM

                    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
                  ferret RE: The Librarian Aug 2, 2011 12:02 PM

                  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
                    The Librarian RE: ferret Aug 2, 2011 05:38 PM

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

                    1. re: The Librarian
                      cowboyardee RE: The Librarian Aug 3, 2011 09:56 AM

                      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
                        kpaxonite RE: cowboyardee Aug 5, 2011 09:21 AM

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

                        1. re: kpaxonite
                          ferret RE: kpaxonite Aug 5, 2011 09:31 AM

                          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
                            applehome RE: ferret Aug 5, 2011 10:32 AM

                            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
                              ferret RE: applehome Aug 5, 2011 10:50 AM

                              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
                                Phaedrus RE: ferret Aug 5, 2011 04:56 PM

                                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.

                                1. re: Phaedrus
                                  inaplasticcup RE: Phaedrus Aug 5, 2011 05:04 PM

                                  Which is fairly awesome. :)

                    2. re: ferret
                      Phaedrus RE: ferret Aug 3, 2011 05:51 AM

                      Is it $300 or 300 Euros?

                      1. re: Phaedrus
                        wattacetti RE: Phaedrus Aug 3, 2011 08:04 AM


                  2. JuniorBalloon RE: inaplasticcup Aug 3, 2011 09:00 AM

                    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.


                    1. applehome RE: inaplasticcup Aug 3, 2011 12:40 PM

                      I enjoyed that Travel put on Tony's Decoding Ferran Adria in the same timeframe so that the two could be compared - his introduction (and conversion) to the world of Adria in 2002, and now, the conclusion (at least, in the form of El Bulli). The same important point is made in both - the root of the food is the delicious local, historical cuisine - without that connection, all the new techniques are for nought. That's a lesson that people like Marcel Vigneron never seem to get - science for the sake of the scientist's entertainment is just playing with yourself.

                      Tony ought to do more with his friend chefs, Eric, Jose, Mario... these shows inevitably take the edge off his own sometimes pushy, bad-boy approach, and show him as a friendly, knowledgeable guy.

                      1. The Librarian RE: inaplasticcup Aug 3, 2011 03:46 PM

                        Here's an interview with Tony about the episode:

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: The Librarian
                          Phaedrus RE: The Librarian Aug 4, 2011 07:05 AM


                          Here are the one-liners.

                        2. t
                          thimes RE: inaplasticcup Aug 6, 2011 04:28 AM

                          I agree it was one of my favorite episodes.

                          I was amazed - pleased - overwhelmed - and touched by how after what I am sure were all the struggles/stress of creating El Bulli that he still seemed surprised and excited by his own restaurant and food. It was infectious.

                          I'm sad I was never able to make it to the restaurant.

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