Tag Archives: dragon’s

The Flirtini Incident

The last time Peter and I hosted Easter brunch at our house, it was sort of a disaster.

We invited my sister Janet, Peter’s sister Susan and both their families for a late Sunday brunch. I spent a few days getting the back garden perfectly decorated with new flowers, and set up a long dining room table outside with my great aunt’s hand-painted china. I even got out my Scottish (clan Maxwell) grandmother’s antique linen napkins and gently ironed each piece, which wasn’t so easy to do because of the hand-embroidered “M” sticking up on the corners.

It was a gorgeous Easter Sunday and our backyard looked like a page out of House & Garden magazine, especially with the flea-market chandelier hanging above the table. Peter secured the heavy fixture to a large branch on our oak tree, even though we didn’t need the light of course. The glass made the garden so pretty, twinkling in the sun through the leaves.

I always like having a “signature” cocktail when I entertain for a large group (even for brunch!). It makes it easier for the hostess (so I don’t have to set up a full bar) and it makes it fun for the guests, especially if the drink is something new.

A few weeks before the disastrous Easter, I was watching the Sex in the City episode where Samantha befriends the transvestites in her new apartment building. Throughout most of the episode she and the “ladies” were arguing over late-night noise outside her bedroom window and Samantha couldn’t get any sleep. After an ongoing catfight with the “guys”, including throwing water on them from her apartment window, she finally decided it would be better just to make nice, and hosted a roof-top barbecue for the whole gang. The episode ended with Samantha raising a glass, toasting Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and her new “girl friends” with a cocktail called, “Flirtini”.

Samantha’s Flirtini Recipe:
2 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Apricot Liquor or Triple Sec
1/2 oz. Pineapple Juice
Splash of Champagne, garnish with a strawberry

I thought it would be so fabulous to serve Flirtinis for Easter lunch. They sounded so “fresh and fruity, like springtime”! It was about noon when our guests arrived and the grown-ups started drinking the first of several pitchers. I had never gotten a buzz so fast before (I’m sure it was the vodka mixed with champagne), and by the time we sat down to eat, we were all stinking DRUNK.

What type of food did I serve for our beautiful Easter brunch? I can’t remember (or maybe I don’t want to remember). I had a hangover by late evening and spent the next two days cleaning and packing up the antique dishes. All that effort setting up the garden, gathering our family together, and the memory of the day is just a painful blur.

I haven’t had a Flirtini since, and only remembered it when I suggested to Peter that we should host Easter at our house this year. But he had a much better idea: How about we treat our family to Easter brunch at the Bazaar?

*Brunch at the Bazaar by José Andrés [visit 10]

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Huevos a la Cubana “Andy Garcia” (12 Tiny Eggs Sunny Side Up), $12. One of the three new brunch items on the menu at the Bazaar by José Andrés. I know this LOOKS like a lot of yolk, but these were small quail eggs. Lightly crispy underneath with a savory tomato sauce on top.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Eggs Benedict “New Way”, Iberico Ham, $18. So beautiful that I couldn’t stop turning the plate and taking photos! The piece of ham was CRISPY and crackled when I bit into it, and the foam tasted like butter. I’ll never be able to have Eggs Benedict anywhere else again.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Savory Spanish Torrijas: Iberico Ham, Egg 63 (egg was poached at  63ºF.) and Idiazabal Cheese, $18. This was my favorite new brunch item. It was very similar to french toast under the ham… but so much better of course!

Along with the new brunch items, we shared dishes (that I’ve had several times before) from both the regular Traditional and Modern menus including:

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Tuna Ceviche and Avocado Roll, $12. My sister Janet’s favorite.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Crab Meat Steamed Buns with Pickled Japanese Cucumbers, $18. Three per order (about two bites per little sandwich), never enough!

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Croquetas de Pollo (Chicken and Bechamel Fritters), $8 This is ALWAYS a favorite at the table. Perfect bites (like large tater tots) of little “chicken pot pies”.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Bloody Mary: Freshly made tomato juice with a celery-wasabi foam, $16. Definitely could have been a meal in itself! I loved the wasabi foam on top.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
In front: Tableside “Nitro” Blood Orange Screwdriver: Frozen liquid nitrogen blood orange and vodka, $20. House-made Lemonade (freshly squeezed lemon juice, rosemary syrup), $6. Bloody Mary (back, left).

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Felix Meana making the “Nitro” Blood Orange Screwdriver: Frozen liquid nitrogen blood orange and vodka. I love when the liquid nitrogen cart comes rolling up to the table. This screwdriver was velvety smooth and strong! We all loved it.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Clockwise from top left: Jade (partial), my nephew Cody, Peter’s niece, Chanel.
Top Right: My niece Kindal and Cody’s girlfriend Jade.
Bottom Right: Peter’s sister Susan and her boyfriend, Jerry.
Bottom Left: Chanel, Peter and Miles (Peter’s nephew).

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Clockwise from top left: Miles and my friend, Laur.
Top Right: Susan, Jerry, my sister, Janet and nephew, Chace.
Bottom Right: Jo (me!) and Peter.
Bottom Left: Cody and Chanel.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Clockwise from top left: Miles digging into dessert, Chace gets comfy on the Blanco couch. With the twins, Chace and Kindal.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Peter holding court in the Blanca room! The Rojo room was closed for the restaurant’s first official brunch.

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.com
Chef Marcel Vigneron invited the twins (my sister’s kids, Chace and Kindal) back to see the kitchen. They are both fans of “Top Chef” and have been cooking since they were really little, so this was heaven! Thanks Chef!

Dishes we also shared, that I’ve had on previous visits:

Sweet Potato Chips with Yogurt Tamarind Dip, $10

Philly Cheesesteak Air Bread, $8

‘Pa amb’ tomaquet (bread with tomato in Catalan)

Foie Gras and Quince on mini Brioche Bun, $15

Nitro Coconut Floating Island Dessert, $10

We also shared a pitcher of Sangria Rojo, $42. (no photo)

The Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 9004
(310) 246-5555
Dining date: 4/12/09

Bazaar Brunch, MyLastBite.comAn extra treat for me was meeting Chef Katsuya Fukushima (in photo, at right). I had seen him on an episode of “Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie” and was wowed by his knowledge of “modern” cuisine. Chef Fukushima works closely with José Andrés at MiniBar in Washington D.C.

A very special THANK YOU to Bazaar Manager, Felix Meana (also in photo) for taking such good care of us. You made the day extra special.

Thanks also to William and Audra for organizing our large (table of twelve) reservation!!

All my Bazaar photos on Flickr

Mentioned above:

Sex in the City: Episode 48

Top Chef

The twins cooking

House & Garden

“The Flirtini Incident” originally published April 15, 2009

The Bazaar no longer serves brunch.

18 Comments

Filed under Eating Out, Food Stories (written by me), Molecular Cooking

The Bazaar by José Andrés [5,6]

Friday night at the Bazaar with the guys. No special occasion, just me and three handsome men celebrating the coming weekend with groovy, “new way” cocktails and platters of mostly “modern” tapas.

Joining me was my husband Peter (of course), our friend Julian (an artist and musician in Peter’s band), and photographer extraordinaire Andrew Macpherson. This was Julian and Andrew’s inaugural visit to the Bazaar, and I’ve jokingly started to call these first timers my “Bazaar Virgins” when I check in with the hostess… which pretty much makes me the devoted “Bazaar Courtesan”, I know.

So what’s better than Friday night at the Bazaar with three adventurous, sophisticated and talented men?

The answer of course is, Saturday night at the Bazaar with three adventurous, sophisticated and talented men! That’s right… we went two nights in a row, but understand this is only because we heard that the man himself, the one and only José Andrés, would (possibly) be in town. Indeed he was, and I got serious goose bumps seeing him standing nearby in his sexy white chef coat! On his PBS show, “Made in Spain”, he usually dresses in casual button-down shirts and khaki pants, but watching him command the room in uniform was sort of intoxicating.

At first I was a little nervous for the staff, especially for the crew in the open kitchen. Andrés is a perfectionist and he was definitely inspecting (sometimes photographing) each dish as it went out to diners. I looked at his face and there was something missing. Where was the exuberant smile that he sports on television? Where was his jovial, “everybody’s my pal” demeanor? 

Then I thought, “oh, he’s WORKING… he’s the BOSS”, it’s the “Bazaar by José Andrés” after all! When he took a seat near our table, I began to hear his familiar laugh as he started to relax. Since I was so used to the “happy-go-lucky” chef on television, I had thrown myself into a nervous state when the “real-life, this-is-business” chef emerged. It was pretty funny that I was the one that was flustered, because when I looked back in the kitchen, I realized that the crew (and the entire staff for that matter) were calm and collected… confidently gliding through dinner service. 

As we enjoyed our drinks and tapas, I kept hoping that I’d get a minute with chef Andrés, so I could tell him how much I love his newest restaurant. By that point he had been out of the kitchen for over an hour or so, and was happily holding court in one of the big, black leather booths against the wall.

We had met before, briefly, at Wolfgang Puck’s American Wine and Food Festival last fall. I told him then how I couldn’t stop obsessing over a Spanish blue cheese that I first learned about on “Made in Spain”. He laughed when I blamed him for my creamy addiction and blurted, “Cabrales is like CRACK”! Not my classiest moment, but it was a good one.

After our extended Bazaar dinner, we did get to say hello and I was happily stunned to learn that José Andrés had visited my website. When I introduced myself, he said “I didn’t recognize you at first, without the bread in your mouth”. 

Note to self: From now on, carry a demi-baguette when dining out.

What we ate:

 'Pa amb' tomaquet, Jamones. MyLastBite.com
‘Pa amb’ tomaquet (bread with tomato in Catalan) – Toasted sliced rustic bread brushed with fresh tomatoes AND Jamones (“Flight of all three” platter): Jamón Serrano (literally mountain ham), Jamón Ibérico (Iberian Ham), Jamón Serrano de bellota (higher fat content than Jamón Serrano).

Dragon's Breath! MyLastBite.com
Making the “Dragon’s Breath”, Caramel popcorn bites cooked in liquid nitrogen.

Tres Dragons, MyLastBite.com
Andrew, Peter and Julian experiencing the “Dragon’s Breath”!  What a shame this has been removed from the regular menu (but may be available in the private Saam dining room).

Japanese "Taco", MyLastBite.com
Japanese “Taco”: Grilled eel, shiso, cucumber, wasabi, chicharron.

Above photos taken on Friday 3/13/09
Below photos taken on Saturday 3/14/09

Our Reserved Table at Bar Centro, MyLastBite.com
Our reserved table in Bar Centro

Magic Mojito, MyLastBite.com 
The “Magic Mojito” arrives with a martini glass filled with cotton candy. Then the waiter pours rum (strained over ice) which dissolves into the glass!

At the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Peter and Andrew enjoying from top left: Pa’amb Tomaguet (Cataln Style toasted bread rubbed with tomato), Not Your Everyday Caprese (Tomato and Liquid Mozzarella Pipettes), Sweet Potato Chips with Tamarind Yogurt Dip, Jamón Ibérico. In the middle are the Papas Canarias (Salty, Wrinkled Potatoes, with Mojo Verde Sauce on the side) and a partial view of the Organized Arugula Salad (Raspberries, Corn, Cabrales Blue Cheese)

NOTE: Photographing at the Chef’s table is difficult. We jokingly called it the “TRON Table”!

Potato Foam, Caviar MyLastBite.com
Tortilla de patatas: Potato Foam, egg 63 (cooked at 63 degrees), caramelized onions (served in egg shell). I LOVE this new version of the potato foam. It used to come in a large martini glass and I prefer this smaller portion with more textures. On the right side of photo is the American Caviar Cone.

One Bite Wonder! MyLastBite.com
Foie Gras Cotton Candy! Me, Julian, my husband Peter and Andrew.

Meeting Jose, MyLastBite.com
Julian, Andrew, José Andrés, Peter

With Jose Andres, MyLastBite.com
Jo & José

At the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
With the chefs that keep us coming back for more! Marcel Vigneron, (LUCKY me), Michael Voltaggio and Ruben Garcia

Bites we usually have on every visit:

Foie Gras and Quince on mini Brioche Bun

Organized Caesar Salad with Quail Egg and Parmesan

Boneless Chicken Wings with Green Olive Puree and Ice Plant

Foie Gras rolled in Corn Nuts and wrapped in Cotton Candy

Latas Y Conservas: King Crab and Raspberries

Philly Cheesesteak: Air Bread, Whipped Cheddar and Wagyu Beef 

Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 246-5555
http://www.TheBazaar.com

Mentioned above:

Andrew Macpherson’s Photographs

Julian Hill’s Artwork

Peter’s band, Rubylith

Meeting José the first time

Cabrales Cheese

Made in Spain 

<– Bazaar Visit #4

–> Bazaar Visit #7

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Filed under Eating Out, Molecular Cooking

2009 James Beard Award Nominees

At the Bazaar, MyLastBite.comCongratulations to all the James Beard Award nominees… especially to my friends at the Bazaar!

About:
“The
James Beard Foundation Awards shine a spotlight on the best and brightest talent in the food and beverage industry.”

Best New Restaurant (requirements):
“A restaurant opened in 2008 that already displays excellence in food, beverage, and service and is likely to have a significant impact on the industry in years to come.”

The Nominees:

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.comThe Bazaar by José Andrés L.A.
Chef/Owner: José Andrés
Owners: Sam Narian and Philippe Starck

L2O Chicago
Chef: Laurent Gras
Owner: Richard Melman

Momofuku Ko NYC
Chef/Owner: David Chang

Scarpetta NYC
Chef/Owner: Scott Conant

With Jose Andres, MyLastBite.com

Full List of James Beard Award 2009 Nominees

My fantastic visits to the Bazaar
(with lots of food photos)!

Bazaar Visit #1

Bazaar visit #2

Bazaar Visit #3

Bazaar visit #4

(Visits 5 and 6 posted soon)

Bazaar photos on Flickr

Links to nominated restaurants:

Bazaar by José Andrés

L20

Momofuku Ko

Scarpetta


1 Comment

Filed under Eating Out, Little Bites

Frank Bruni Loves The Bazaar Too

If you’re a regular visitor to MyLastBite (thank you), you know that I’ve been writing about my amazing dinners at the Bazaar. Ever since the restaurant opened (on 11/17/08), I’ve enjoyed taking photos of every dish I’ve tried and have fun sharing them with the blogisphere. 

This morning I read the New York Times review of the Bazaar, and am happy to write that restaurant critic Frank Bruni loves it too! A few quotes from his review:

“The Bazaar is an important and exciting restaurant…”

“I interspersed flights of fancy like the ‘not your everyday Caprese’ salad — in which the mozzarella appears in delicate, ready-to-burst spheres like the olive bombs…”

“The Bazaar gives you an easy way into experimental cooking, and it lets you off easy, too. You can drop in, let an olive explode, breathe like a dragon and be on your way.”

The thing is, when Frank Bruni writes… not only do we readers on the internet take notice… the whole WORLD takes notice.

Congrats José, William, Marcel, Mike and the entire Bazaar crew!

Read the full review here.

With Jose Andres, MyLastBite.com

My dinners at the Bazaar (with photos):

Bazaar visit #1

Bazaar visit #2

Bazaar Visit #3

Bazaar visit #4

Posting photos soon of visits 5 & 6.

My Bazaar food photos on Flickr

The Bazaar by José Andrés
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
310-246-5555
thebazaar.com)

 

2 Comments

Filed under Eating Out, Molecular Cooking

The Bazaar by José Andrés [4]

I think it’s perfectly fitting that my fourth visit to the Bazaar by José Andrés, came just a few days before the L.A. Times awarded the restaurant FOUR stars. I don’t have a rating system on MyLastBite, but if I did… I would give the Bazaar a TEN (out of ten).

Since the very first night the restaurant opened (I was there), I’ve been telling everyone about this “gift” that Jose Andres has given to L.A. I know times are tough, but if you can afford to eat out once in awhile and haven’t been to the Bazaar yet, then make a reservation now. Your spirits (and taste-buds) will be quickly lifted, and you’ll feel good that you did something nice for yourself.

I love the Bazaar so much that I find myself berating friends who haven’t been there yet. These are friends who eat out once or twice a week and just haven’t “gotten around to it”. I want to shake them and scream “Do you have ANY idea what you are missing?”. Thanks to S. Irene Virbilia (L.A. Times Restaurant Critic), maybe now they’ll finally go experience the magic for themselves. 

The Bazaar is not just a “special occasion” restaurant, although on this fourth visit we went to celebrate my nephew Cody’s birthday. Each time we go to the restaurant, Peter and I make sure to take family or friends, because it’s such an awesome experience to share with people you love… especially if you are celebrating something (or someone) special! 

What we ate:

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Of course, we started the evening with my favorite… the 
Foie Gras Cotton Candy! Bites of foie gras rolled in crushed corn nuts then wrapped in cotton candy. My nephew Cody and his girlfriend Jade loved them! $5

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.comCaviar Cones with Crème Fraîche $8

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Nitro Caipirinha $20

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Making the Nitro Caipirinha (cachaça and lime) made with Liquid Nitrogen

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
“Not Your Everyday (Winter) Caprese” (Molecular Liquid Mozzarella Balls)$12

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Steamed Crab Buns with Pickled Japanese Cucumber $15

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
”Just Shrimp Cocktail: Yea Right” $12

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Alitas de pollo: Boneless chicken wings with green olive puree $9. These were so good, we ordered seconds!

Mushrooms toped with Truffles, MyLastBite.com

Chef Marcel Vigneron brought this special dish to our table. I can’t remember what is was called, but it was filled with mushrooms and topped with freshly shaved truffles. A wonderful treat… THANKS CHEF!!

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
truffles, lovely truffles!

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Pisto Manchego con flor de calabaza: Sauteed peppers, zuchini, onions, eggplant and tomatoes with a beautiful poached egg. $9

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Beef Hanger Steak and Piquillo Pepper Confit $10

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Japanese Baby Peaches with Persimmon, Yogurt and Olive Oil $12

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
The incredibly gracious William Douillet making our “Dragon’s Breath”! Caramel Popcorn bites “cooked” in Liquid Nitrogen!

Liquid Nitrogen at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
William lifting the Caramel Popcorn out of the Liquid Nitrogen!

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
I love Cody’s face as he bites into the “Dragon’s Breath”!! Priceless.

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Cody exhaling the “Dragon’s Breath”

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Cody, Jade and Chef Marcel Vigneron

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
The Patisserie Menu

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Nitro Island, specially delivered by the lovely Waylyn Lucas!

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
“Nitro Coconut Floating Island” Dessert $10

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Apples Carlota $10

Cody's Birthday at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Jo, Felix, William, Dan, Jade and Cody. Thanks for ANOTHER fantastic evening!

At The Bazaar by Jose Andres, MyLastBite.com 
My wonderful husband, Peter.

Additional dishes we had (as well as previous visits):

Olives Ferran $8

Sweet potato chips $10

Toro (Tuna) “Nigiri”, Wasabi, Watermelon, Soy and Jalapeño $16

Jicama wrapped guacamole with micro cilantro and corn nuts $10

“Philly Cheesesteak”: Air bread filled with cheese and topped with Kobe beef $8

Lomo de corder con Patatas y trufas: Lamb Loin with Mushrooms and Potato. $14.00

Jamon Platter $32

Five Quesos: Murcia, Valdeon, Idiazabal, La Serena, Manchego $25

Jamon Croquettes $9

The Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 246-5555
http://www.TheBazaar.com

Bazaar photos on Flickr

Dining Date: 2/15/09

<– Bazaar Visit #3

–> Bazaar Visit # 5 and 6

Mentioned Above:

L.A. Times (Don’t miss the awesome video)

About Cody

My Adventures in Molecular Cooking

The Bazaar by Jose Andres on Urbanspoon

17 Comments

Filed under Eating Out, Molecular Cooking

The Bazaar by José Andrés [3]

My third visit to The Bazaar by José Andrés made me realize what a great deal the restaurant really is. No, seriously… I think it’s an absolute steal.

For the past few months I’ve been learning how to make molecular goodies at home, so I really enjoy seeing different techniques that the chefs are using at Bazaar. Three recipes that I’d love to master are Ferran Adria’s “Liquid Olive”, “Pea Ravioli” and also something called “Dragon’s Breath” Popcorn. 

Olives Ferran Adrià, MyLastBite.comOver the years I had seen the “Liquid Olive” and “Pea Ravioli” on various TV shows including “No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain” and “The Best Recipes in the World with Mark Bittman”. Both of the episodes took place at Albert and Ferran Adria’s world-famous elBulli restaurant, on the Costa Brava in Roses, Spain. 

My husband Peter and I have tried getting reservations at elBulli for many years, and once again we were notified that all spaces were filled for the upcoming 2009 season. (Email from elBulli)

ElBulli receives over 2 million reservation requests each season, and there are “only” 8,000 seats available from June to December. Yet I email the restaurant a few times a month, just reminding them that we are open to any available dates and figure that if it happens, great… if not, then we try again next year (and the year after).

If by some miracle, there is a cancellation this season and we get the much anticipated “we-won-the-elBulli-lottery” email from Luis Garcia (the man in charge of bookings)… there is no doubt that we would dig deep into our savings and try to go. We could only do this if we had enough time to actually book the trip properly… meaning if we got the notice a few days before the reservation date, there would be no way we could swing it. 

elBulli Reservation Online, MyLastBite.comNow just for the fun of it, let’s say we are given a confirmed reservation at elBulli a full thirty days before the actual departure date. How much would it actually cost to eat that one meal at elBulli?

I decided to find out and started researching flights and hotels on Hotels.com, where I “faux-booked” a trip for June 2009.

I began this exercise (in positive thinking) by searching for the following:
– Two round trip tickets from Los Angeles to Barcelona.
– Six nights at a hotel in Spain: Five in Barcelona and one in Roses near the restaurant. (Realistically, if we would make the trip to elBulli, then we would want to at least spend a few extra days sightseeing around Barcelona).
– Transportation from Barcelona to Roses. 

Our faux-itinerary:

elBull By Air, MyLastBite.comAir Travel
Monday 22 June 2009
Depart Los Angeles (LAX) 5:45 pm 
Arrive Barcelona (BCN) 7:30 pm
+1 day
 
Airberlin 3531  / 8564
(Connect in Dusseldorf International Airport)

Monday 29 June 2009
Depart Barcelona (BCN) 8:45 am 
Arrive Los Angeles (LAX) 3:50 pm
airberlin 8937  / 3530

Hotel
5 Nights at Hotel Sidorme Mollet in Bracelona (I chose the most inexpensive hotel offered).

EuropCar, MyLastBite.com

Total for flights and above hotel (price combined on Hotels.com) is
$2,826 (for both of us)

Add in one night at Vistabella hotel in Roses where elBulli is located is $180 per night.

Rental Car (europcar.com)
Barcelona Pickup June 25 / Return June 28, three days for 
$160

Above Subtotal $3166.00

To that, I add on these costs:

The elBulli 30-course tasting menu, which would cost approximately $500 ($250 per person, or more).

It's a "Duvet" life for my dogs!A full-time dog sitter: Our three dogs are like kids to us, so when we go out of town we pay someone to love them, feed them, run them and most importantly… sleep with them. I know… they are spoiled (we call them “duvet” dogs). For a week away we would pay our usual sitter (Jade), $100 per day. Total of $700

TOTAL for this itinerary: $4366.00

I would still need to add in additional meals & entertainment for the week. We can get by on two meals per day, and will definitely want to hit every tapas bar in site. Then there are museums, entertainment, transport around Barcelona and shopping. I’m going to just round it out to $5,000.

I know there are probably much cheaper ways to make the trip, maybe take the bus or train instead of renting a car, or find super cheap airline tickets with ten stops in between. Whatever the actual costs, we are still talking THOUSANDS of dollars for one coveted meal at elBulli.

How about another famous molecularly focused eatery that’s closer to home? MiniBar… José Andrés’ tiny, six-seat-only restaurant in Washington DC? I first learned about MiniBar on Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie (on PBS) and the episode was called “Anatomy of a Meal with José Andrés”. Just last week, MiniBar was featured again on “No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain”. That’s where I first saw the “Dragon’s Breath” popcorn and it was just SO COOL… after cooking the small bites of caramel popcorn in liquid nitrogen, Andrés and Bourdain popped the pieces in their mouths and “smoke” came out of their nostrils.

MiniBar is much easier to get to then Roses, Spain, and if we actually scored reservations, the tasting menu (27 little bites) would cost $120 a person. We could easily fly in for one or two nights and keep the costs down (a little bit). MiniBar’s 8:30pm seating starts at 8:40 and can take up to 2.5 hours, so I would plan to arrive the day before in case of flight delays. Let’s say we have a dinner reservation for March 28, 2009. Here’s the breakdown:

Round/Trip flight to DC (again, using Hotels.com):

Friday 27-Mar-09
Depart 1:10 pm  Los Angeles (LAX)
to Washington DC (IAD) Arrive 8:54 pm

Sunday 29-Mar-09
Depart 5:50 pm Washington DC (IAD)
to Los Angeles (LAX) Arrive 8:20 pm 

Two nights at the Candlewood Suites Herndon

Rental Car: Hertz Economy Car

Total for above (for two people): $687
+ $240
for MiniBar
+ $400 for additional meals, sightseeing & shopping

 A trip to José Andrés MiniBar in Washington DC (Air, Hotel, Car and Meals): $1327.00

I could spend the next few days trying to figure out the costs of visiting restaurants that focus a large part of their menus on molecular, modern treats… Alinea in Chicago, wd~50 in NYC, Mugaritz and Arzak (both in Spain), and the mighty Fat Duck in England… but the point I’m trying to make is… I don’t have to. I can hop in my car and drive the fifteen minutes to the Bazaar by José Andrés and slurp down ten liquid “Olives Ferran Adria” (that’s what they’re called on the menu) and the “Dragon’s Breath” liquid nitro cooked popcorn? Yup, the Bazaar has that too! 

Honestly… the place just makes me happy! Each time I’ve taken someone new to experience it with me, and it’s like we’re all in kindergarten and just visiting the circus for the first time… but with way better concession snacks!

For all the joy and deliciousness I’ve experienced in my three visits to Bazaar … I really believe it’s an absolute bargain.

Our cost for our most recent dinner at The Bazaar was $158 for the two of us. That included 9 dishes, 2 desserts and 2 cocktails. The price also includes entertainment (if sitting near the Rojo kitchen) and education (if you’re into molecular cooking too!).

Finally, in comparison to a night at elBulli, The Bazaar by José Andrés is a steal. I know times are tough and I feel tremendously grateful that I get to eat there at all. To me, it’s worth every penny.

New Dishes We All Enjoyed (we were joined by my sister Janet, her husband Paul and our good friends Afaf and Ray):

Shrimp Cocktail at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
This gorgeous dish (above and below) is called “Just Shrimp Cocktail: Yea Right” $12

Shrimp Cocktail at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
To eat, you put the whole shrimp in your mouth and squeeze the cocktail-sauce filled pipette! 

Sweet Potato Chips at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Sweet Potato Chips with Yogurt, Tamarind, Star Anise $10
Foi Gras Mini Burgers at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Adorable (almost Barbie doll size!) Foie gras and Quince on a Mini Brioche Bun 3 for $12
Uni Mini Buns at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Sea Urchins, Avocado in a Steamed Mini Bun 3 for $12
Hangar Steak at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Beef Hanger Steak and Piquillo Pepper Confit $10
Toro at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Toro (Tuna) “Nigiri”, Wasabi, Watermelon, Soy and Jalapeño $16
Bazaar Dragon's Breath, MyLastBite.com
“Dragon’s Breath” Caramelized Popcorn made with liquid nitrogen. After you pop these treats in your mouth… smoke streams out your nose (like a dragon)! Made by Chef de Cuisine, Michael Voltaggio. Thank you!

Chef Voltaggio at Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Chef de Cuisine Michael Voltaggio

Bazaar Coconut Island, MyLastBite.com
“Nitro Coconut Floating Island” with Passion Fruit and Banana. It was soft on the inside and frozen on the outside.
Bazaar Dessert, MyLastBite.com
Beet Meringue with Pistachio Cake and Berries
Bazaar Dessert, MyLastBite.com
Chocolate Cake topped with Gold

Dishes we had on previous visits and enjoyed again:

“Philly Cheesesteak” Air bread, Cheddar Cheese, Wagyu Beef $8 (everyone loved these)
Hilly Cheesesteak Air bread, cheddar Cheese, Mushrooms (instead of beef) $7 (my sister’s favorite)
“Not your everyday Caprese” Cherry tomatoes, liquid mozzarella in pipettes $12 
King Crab with Raspberry Vinegar $16 

Dining Date: 2/1/09
A special thanks to William Douillet and the entire staff for an exceptional evening. 

The Bazaar by José Andrés
SLS Hotel
465 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA
(310) 246-5555
thebazaar.com 

Menu for Rojo y Blanca (pdf)

Reservations Available on OpenTable

TV mentioned:

Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie (pbs)

No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain (travel channel)

The Best Recipes in the World with Mark Bittman (pbs)

Restaurants mentioned:

Alinea

Arzak

elBulli

Fat Duck

MiniBar

Mugaritz

wd~50

More reading:

My Adventures in Molecular Cooking

Bazaar visit #1

Bazaar visit #2

Bazaar visit #4

The Bazaar by Jose Andres on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Eating Out, Food Stories (written by me), Molecular Cooking

The Bazaar by José Andrés [2]

Foie Gras Cotton Candy?

Another outstanding dinner at The Bazaar by José Andrés last night. This time celebrating my friend Laur’s birthday in the “Rojo” dining room, which was warmer and had a more seductive vibe than the “Blanco” we dined in last time.

New dishes we tried this visit included three pretty little “cans” of seafood filled with delicious mussels, oysters and crab called “Latas Y Conservas”.

From the Rojo menu: “Canning was invented in 1810 in France by Mr. Nicolas Appert. Spain adopted this technique and today is known for producing the best canned products in the world. Here at the Bazaar by Jose Andres, we make them in house daily.”

Mussels Escabeche, MyLastBite.com
Mussels Escabeche, marinated in olive oil, vinegar and smoked paprika $7

Kumamoto Oysters, MyLastBite.com
Kumamoto Oysters with lemon and black pepper $12

King Crab, MyLastBite.com
King Crab with raspberry vinegar $16

Organized Arugula Salad, MyLastBite.com
Organized Arugula Salad with raspberries, corn and Cabrales blue cheese $9

Dashi "Linguini" with Tomato, Lemon and Caviar, MyLastBite.com
Dashi “Linguini” with tomato seeds, lemon and caviar $9

Ottoman Carrot Fritters, MyLastBite.com
Traditional Ottoman Carrot Fritters with pistachio sauce (Peter loved these), $7

 Caviar Cone, MyLastBite.com
Caviar Cone with crème fraîche

Foie Gras Cotton Candy, MyLastBite.com
My very favorite bite of the night (so much so that I ordered extra!) was YES … the 
Foie Gras Cotton Candy! Bites of foie gras rolled in crushed CORN NUTS then wrapped in cotton candy. The salty, sweet and super rich flavor was simply incredible.

Dishes we had on our first visit and enjoyed again:

Tortilla de patatas, MyLastBite.com
Tortilla de patatas ‘new way’: Warm potato foam with a slow cooked egg at 63 degrees, and caramelized onions $9

‘Philly cheesesteak’, MyLastBite.com
 ‘Philly Cheesesteak’: Air bread stuffed with cheese and topped with Kobe beef $7  
Fideo, MyLastBite.com
‘Rossejat’ de fideos: Traditional fried pasta, paella-style with monkfish and shrimp, cooked in a seafood broth $10

Bazaar Appetizers, MyLastBite.com
Mozzarella-tomato pipettes with micro basil $8

The Bazaar restaurant is so much fun, especially when you look around and notice that people are smiling at every table. It’s all about jumping in and sharing an exciting new experience together. Whether it’s Ferran Adria’s Liquid Olive (we each had two), potato “foam”, or succulent bites of Kumamoto oysters. I personally feel incredibly grateful that we have our own little bit of “el bulli” right here in L.A.

Thank you José!

Jo, Bob, Peter, Laur, MyLastBite.com
Hanging out after dinner…

Bazaar Visit #1

Bazaar Visit #3

Bazaar visit #4

The Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 246-5555
http://www.thebazaar.com

The Bazaar by Jose Andres on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Eating Out, Molecular Cooking