El Bulli has been consistently voted the best restaurant in the world. Situated a two hour drive, north of Barcelona, it is no coincidence that it is located in the same region that produced Picasso and Salvador Dali. Ferran Adrià, the chef, creates ingredients in a way they have never been seen before. He is known as the father of modern cooking because he has turned sauces into foam. They are a surprise to your palate. Every year El Bulli is open for 6 months in Spring and Summer. 2 million people beg for the 8,000 reservations, they are gone within minutes. Ferran creates modern cuisine in a catalan tradition. He loses money on the restaurant annually but has a franchise in books and other ventures. El Bulli is taking a 2 year sabbatical in 2012 and 2013 so that Adrià can go explore the world. I wonder who will take over the best restaurant spot whilst he is away.
This week has been Dine LA. I can afford to go to Bazaar because many top restaurants have an affordable set menu for the week. I have eagerly anticipated this experience for over a year. The chef, Jose Andres, trained under Ferran Adrià and is considered the best spanish chef in America. I needed a special occasion to splurge on the event. Louisa Spring Macdonald’s birthday proved to be the ideal reason to try the cuisine. The restaurant is situated on the ground floor of a hotel on La Cienega Boulevard. The large space is separated into several areas. We sat in the section that had white furnishings. The Spanish waiters hastily brought all the tapas dishes we ordered and added to the whole experience due to their commitment to excellent service and presentation. For appetizers we had the Phily Cheesesteak , which is a wagyu carpaccio on top of hollow air bread filled with a cheese foam, delicious and so was the Ajo Blanco with king crab ( a spanish marcona almond soup). We were both excited by our choices. They were beyond my expectations of a different dining experience. Out of the 6 tapas dishes we tried, only 2 tickled our palates. The jamón serrano fermin thinly sliced served with light toasted bread rolls topped with a delicious tomato paste and a sautéed cauliflower couscous, which was a cauliflower puree with fried quinoa, which was surrounded by a lemon harissa. This dish was delicious but slightly too salty, it crowded the cauliflower flavor. For desert we moved into the European inspired patisserie. There is one large long baby pink table top, where the diner has a view of the desert chefs creating their sweets. I loved my greek yoghurt panna cotta with an apricot foam topping and muscat gelatin base. Bazaar is definitely a food experience not to be missed.
I have had a strange week filled with concern and loss. My father is unwell, which unsettles my Mum on the eve of her trip to South Africa. It is always harder during these times to live so far away from home. Today I am off to a memorial for an 83 year old client who passed away 2 weeks ago. In memory of Carl Buck, who loved his deserts and needed to eat gluten and dairy free at the end of his life, I am going to post a desert favorite:
Vegan Key Lime Pie
1 (12 1/3 ounce) package mori-nu firm silken tofu
8 ounces soy cream cheese
1/2 cup key lime juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated lime rind
2 (4 ounce) packages mori-nu mates vanilla pudding mix (must be this brand, it’s made to go with the tofu)
1 tablespoon agave
1 (9 inch) graham cracker crust
1 Drain any excess water from the tofu.
2 Blend tofu and lime juice in a processor until creamy and smooth.
3 Add the rest of the ingredients (except crust!), and blend again until smooth.
4 Pour the mixture into the crust and chill 2-3 hours or until firm.