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Spain is the New Heaven

#1 User is offline   Worzel_Gummidge 

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 09:30 PM

Did you catch Anthony Bourdain's 'Spain' show tonight? If not, it repeats at a DVR-friendly 1am. He's in northern Spain covering chefs (and chocolatiers!) from Barcelona to San Sebastian. The place is an absolute crucible of innovation, verve, finesse and dedication with seemingly every individual going in their own direction. If it's not the new Heaven, then Spain is definitely the new France in terms of its direction-setting role in cuisine. He sits down at the end and says that on this trip he has had two of the best experiences of his life. For me, this was the best show Bourdain has done.

Fortunately the Travel Channel lives by repeats so this will appear again (and again..).

#2 User is offline   Nate9463 

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 08:56 AM

I saw the preview for it last week and knew I had to watch where he went in Spain. Talk about an experience that made me jealous of him...again. From watching Albert Adria making those incredible-looking fake strawberries to the inventive food at Mugaritz and Arzak, I started thinking over how many days I could feasibly take from work and compress it into a trip to Spain. Alas, to do what I would want, I would need about a month or two of vacation time, a lot more money, and a daily workout plan to offset everything I eat.

I need to be Bourdain's travel buddy and adventure/karaoke singing/thrill-seeking stand-in. I'll do the stuff he doesn't enjoy doing. Except I'll partake in enjoying the food and wine as well. Can't pass that up.

#3 User is offline   Worzel_Gummidge 

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 09:56 AM

Too true. And a reservation at El Bulli is just about impossible. The last I heard was that their were 400,000 applications for six month's worth of seats.

#4 User is offline   DonnieC 

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 02:04 PM

Cheaper, closer and reservation friendly is Nana, our local outpost of Adrian cuisine.

#5 User is offline   Worzel_Gummidge 

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 02:34 PM

DonnieC said:

Cheaper, closer and reservation friendly is Nana, our local outpost of Adrian cuisine.


Nana has nothing more in common stylistically with Ferran Adria's cuisine than does Bobo China.

#6 User is offline   FatCap 

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 05:47 PM

Worzel_Gummidge said:

Did you catch Anthony Bourdain's 'Spain' show tonight? If not, it repeats at a DVR-friendly 1am. He's in northern Spain covering chefs (and chocolatiers!) from Barcelona to San Sebastian. The place is an absolute crucible of innovation, verve, finesse and dedication with seemingly every individual going in their own direction. If it's not the new Heaven, then Spain is definitely the new France in terms of its direction-setting role in cuisine. He sits down at the end and says that on this trip he has had two of the best experiences of his life. For me, this was the best show Bourdain has done.



For me, it's among the best shows to date, in what is shaping up to be perhaps the best season of "No Reservations", perhaps for the reason that, as Bourdain repeatedly says, "Travel changes you". Bourdain seems much more calm and introspective this year (maybe because he's been a lot of places now; maybe because he went to Laos, in a beautifully done season opener--his reflection of the travel show host's dilemma was poignant, to the effect of "in showing [the wonders we see], we destroy what we love [by directing hordes of camera-toting tourists to visited locations]) and has allowed the topics and peoples of study be front-stage center. Witness the touching episode on Korea. I hope that this trend continues, that he'll no longer feel like he has to let his outsize personality carry the show. Would that all travel show hosts learn this sentiment.

That Laos episode, along with the Spain one, almost makes up for the f&^%$Hg godawful episodes on Viet Nam, Jersey, and anything he's done with the slimy Russian sidekick. Almost.

:wink:

#7 User is offline   Nate9463 

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 02:54 PM

I think his trips to Asia have made excellent episodes. His most recent Tokyo episode made me envious...watching all of the fresh soba and other noodles being made, that sushi experience, etc. Then throw in his trip to Hong Kong from a while back. I think the visual of that old man making those noodles the old-fashioned way is reason enough to re-watch it.

Overall, I think Bourdain makes an excellent person to watch on TV, whether it be No Reservations or Top Chef. While his narrating may not be all his own writing, his off-the-cuff comments are usually very witty and hilarious.

I do agree that the episodes in New Jersey, Las Vegas, Eastern Europe/former Soviet republics, and a few others were horrible in terms of food interest, but they are entertaining for the travel value alone.

#8 User is offline   Soulslinger 

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 03:34 PM

For one that loves to grill and barbecue.....I have my new destination Restaurant Etxebarri. I was almost in tears watching this part of the episode. Everything cooked over its own individual wood coal fire now that is genious!

#9 User is offline   Scott 

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 03:54 PM

Soulslinger said:

For one that loves to grill and barbecue.....I have my new destination Restaurant Etxebarri.

If you haven't seen Pim's amazing blog post about the place from a couple of years ago, check it out.

Scott

#10 User is offline   DonnieC 

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 08:02 AM

Worzel_Gummidge said:


Nana has nothing more in common stylistically with Ferran Adria's cuisine than does Bobo China.


Having actually eaten at both places, rather than forming my opinion from television, I can say that Nana doesn't try to be El Bulli, but Anthony does showcase that style in a positive way.

#11 User is offline   Worzel_Gummidge 

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 08:40 AM

DonnieC said:

Having actually eaten at both places, rather than forming my opinion from television, I can say that Nana doesn't try to be El Bulli, but Anthony does showcase that style in a positive way.


Compare Ferran Adria's books with Nana's menu. Nana is mainstream New American cooking, and enjoyable as such. Its food is informed by French, Italian and Spanish influences but not especially, if at all, by El Bulli. El Bulli is off in its own orbit. Aside from difficulty sourcing the same ingredients most of the recipes require special equipment or chemicals.

#12 User is offline   Worzel_Gummidge 

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 05:42 PM

FatCap said:

For me, it's among the best shows to date, in what is shaping up to be perhaps the best season of "No Reservations", perhaps for the reason that, as Bourdain repeatedly says, "Travel changes you". Bourdain seems much more calm and introspective this year...

Yes. He seems to be maturing as a presenter. In earlier shows it was 'all about him'. In this show (and maybe in other recent shows that I missed) he is letting his interviewees talk more, asking them better questions, and in so doing letting them reveal more about what makes them tick.

#13 User is offline   Scott 

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 01:14 PM

A more recent blog post on Etxebarri.

Scott

#14 User is offline   Worzel_Gummidge 

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 02:24 PM

Scott--DFW said:

A more recent blog post on Etxebarri.

Scott

Interesting. How do you find these things?

#15 User is offline   Kirk 

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 04:05 PM

gastrosontour said:

Pas de mise en bouche et snacks, on entre immédiatement dans le vif du sujet et les plats vont s’enchaîner dans un rythme parfaitement maîtrisé.


Now to me, that is close to heaven.

#16 User is offline   DonnieC 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 09:14 AM

Worzel_Gummidge said:


Nana has nothing more in common stylistically with Ferran Adria's cuisine than does Bobo China.


Say hello to Bobo. El Bulli is closing.
Hey, careful, man, there's a beverage here!

#17 User is offline   Worzel_Gummidge 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 10:46 AM

Only for a hiatus. Back two years later -- in some form.

#18 User is offline   Worzel_Gummidge 

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 01:34 PM

Audio extract of novelist Paul Richardson's trip to El Bulli.

#19 User is offline   Worzel_Gummidge 

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 09:46 AM

Madrid Fusion is the hotbed site...

#20 User is offline   Worzel_Gummidge 

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 09:55 AM

Worzel_Gummidge said:

Madrid Fusion is the hotbed site...


Pretty uninformative post, Wurz. What you should have said was that the recipes (under 'Master Recipes') are absolutely flabergasting. A collection of molecular gastronomy and other recipes on a par with some of the best cook books. Looking at the speakers I have never seen so much MG intellectual firepower on display in one place.

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