CONFESSIONS OF A                                                                  
A San Francisco Girl's Down and Dirty Adventures in the Culinary Playground

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Part 1 -- "That Road" (El Bulli -- Roses, Spain)

Read Part 2 , Part 3, or Part 4

I told you I'd write it! We're doing this bad boy in parts, a'ight? Think of this part as foreplay.

We all remember how excited I was upon getting an actual reservation at El Bulli, no? There was so much anticipation around the whole damn thing, I wondered how I would feel once it finally arrived. On September 18, 2006, I got my answer: Numb with disbelief.

I could not believe we had actually landed in Roses, Spain (which, by the way, involves a drive from Barcelona with more fucking rotaries -- sorry, circles -- than I've ever seen in my life) after ten months of waiting. I usually get all nervous and weird before big meals -- I'm so afraid they won't live up to my lofty expectations. This time, however, I had psyched myself up so much that my ass got all Zen.

Jon was the one who had the unfortunate task of driving both in Barcelona and out to Roses. Let me tell you that unless you have tried driving in the city of Barcelona, you have no idea what the phrase "hell on earth" means. I'm talking please-dig-my-eyeballs-out-with-a-fork-because-it-can't-be-any-worse-than-this kind of agony.

When talking with friends who had been to El Bulli, every single one of them mentioned that road. No one really elaborated on why it was that road, just that it was that road and there was a reason to fear it. Because of this, Jon wanted to do a test run of the drive from our hotel to the restaurant before our reservation that evening.

Jon and I had differing opinions on which way to go, but he appeased me and went my way because he's my bitch. As we climbed the hill, we began to see why everyone referred to it as that road. Except they are pussies because what they should have said was that mother fucking winding road of death. Picture, oh, I don't know, the roads in Dr. Suess books. Or better yet, picture the famous part of Lombard Street embedded into the side of a cliff with nothing but scary death-like emptiness on the other side of the road. And no flowers.

At this point, Jon was sure he had gone the wrong way, I was practically in his lap because I was on the death-like emptiness side and we were pondering how many people plunged to their bloody end on their way to or from El Bulli (even though, according to my dearest darling, we were going the wrong way). Jon declared that he would gladly pay whatever it would cost, if only a taxi would take us there. No chance -- Roses is tiny and very empty come September, and well, who would willingly drive other people up to dinner on that mother fucking winding road of death.

After about 20 minutes, we saw the famous sign and I broke out into a full on told-you-so dance. Then I remembered we had to get back down. And back up again. And back down.

A few hours later, we braved the road again, making a pact not to overdrink ourselves lest El Bulli be our last (albeit rockstar) meal.

We arrived at the restaurant and noticed something peculiar. THERE WERE FUCKING TAXIS DROPPING PEOPLE OFF. Jon was horrified. "Why didn't you tell me?," he asked. And that is exactly the question I have for all of you bitches who had been there before me. So there we were, with what was certain to be our chariot to hell, while others blissfully stepped from taxicabs.

No matter because we forgot all about it once we peeked in the window of the laboratory. No, not kitchen, grasshopper, laboratory. We were early for our reservation since Jon was somewhat more comfortable on his second try with the mother fucking winding road of death. We was lovin' that window like a two-bit crack whore lovin' the safety glass between her and her convict lover.

Because El Bulli doesn't turn tables, they graciously invited us in. We were greeted by Luis Garcia, the fairy god-person that had granted our reservation and who had the most shockingly gorgeous aquamarine eyes I have ever seen. The most amazing part about Luis, is that he acts as if he has been waiting for you, and only you, to join him at the restaurant since the day it began.

"Would you like a tour of the kitchen?," he coyly asked. Fuck, yeah, I want a tour of the kitchen!

You would swear you had walked into a CSI lab. Everything is immaculate. The chefs only have out exactly what they need at the moment. The shelves are stacked with what passes for dishware at El Bulli. The best part, however, is the big, bad bull's head smack dab in the middle of lab. Totally bitchin'.

Jon and I then spied a table for four set in the kitchen. "Who gets to sit there????," we asked. Luis told us it rarely gets used, only under very special circumstances. My guess it's for when people like Jon's new work buddy are in town. Bitches.

Our table was ready, but the staff gave us the option of enjoying our aperitifs outside on their patio of sorts. From our seat, we could see the gorgeous beach of Cal Montjoi as the sun faded from the sky. Heaven.

Then the parade of culinary craziness began.


"To eat is a necessity. To eat intelligently is an art."
-- La Rochefoucauld

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Week In Review

  • First, jackwad, if you decide to go to Ton Kiang when it is butt ass cold outside, suck it up and stand the fuck OUT.SIDE. 'Cause guess what pretty pretty princess? Even though you think you are more important than everyone else, here's a news flash. YOU'RE NOT. I'm talking about you, blocking the door in and out with your thirteen hundred family members and your forty-seven double wide strollers, preventing anyone else from getting in or out, pushing into the restaurant so the lovely folk with their tasty dumplings can't get back to me patiently waiting at my corner table. That's bad enough, but what's worse is your dumbass son elbowing another diner in the face and your fat ass slamming up against some poor sap's chair while he's munching on some cha siu bao. After patiently waiting his turn. OUTSIDE. I hate you. And in the words of Corky St.Clair, I hate you and your ass face. (Side note: Jon says that should we ever have offspring, they are so screwed because we will hold them to a higher standard of courtesy than the rest of the world holds themselves. Tough titty.)
  • I also hate January (lots of hate going on up in here these days) because nothing good is in season, and all the good stuff that remains is getting murdered by this freakishly cold weather. It is also historically my worst work month, hence the lack o' posts. Fuck January.
  • We went to Kiss last night for Jon's birthday and did the omakase for the first time. After two prior visits of sushi and sashimi only, we realized this is the way to go, because it ended up costing the same as what we normally spend there anyway. Plus, Naka-san's crazy fabulousity really shines when you kick it omakase style.
  • We also went to Sebo earlier in the week, and as it is closer to my house than Kiss, it will probably see more of my business. I can see pissing through my life's savings on o-toro there, and not regretting it for one second. Amazing fish. Truly. The waitresses can be bitches (unless you really work hard to kiss up to them), so watch out.
  • Tomorrow we head out of town, hitting Ad Hoc tomorrow night (recently moved from temporary to permanent status since TK realized he can't open ANYTHING and then expect to take it away from us -- silly, Thomas, temporary restaurants are for street fairs). Then we return to my glorious Cyrus on Saturday night. Why are we doing this? Well, because, it's my fucking birthday on Saturday.

"To eat is a necessity. To eat intelligently is an art."
-- La Rochefoucauld

Friday, January 12, 2007

Holy Fuck, 12 days???

Twelve fucking days? That's how long it's been since I've posted. In that time I have eaten a delicious olive oil dinner at a favorite spot with a favorite friend, and enjoyed creamy filled cupcakes with another. I also ate a shitload of other fabulous meals with fabulous people that I am too lazy to tell you about in this paragraph. Still, it is so goddamned lame that I haven't posted for TWELVE DAYS.

I also closed my show (and if you didn't see it, you missed out, yo), endured a serious personal crisis (we figured the first time 'round didn't hurt enough, so we wanted to take a spin on the wheel o' masochism again) and embarked on the month of January, otherwise known as the-month-that-makes-me-want-to-blow-my-fucking-brains-out-because-it-is-so-retardedly-busy.

Next weekend Jon and I head to Healdsburg to hump the folks at Cyrus for our birthdays. The night before we will be at Ad Hoc. I am such a spoiled brat it should be illegal.

My New Year's Resolution was no reviews of anything until El Bulli goes up, and I'm sticking to it. I'm trying to be better. Really, I am. But, honestly, it's just a blog and when my life decides to fuck me up the ass, or my work pile gets higher than your brother at a peace rally, the blogging is the first thing that gets shirked. That said, here I am on a Friday night posting for you, when I should be at a restaurant (and while I do love you, it's mostly because I have an audition in the morning).

Oh, and also, on Monday the winners of the Menu For Hope prizes will be announced. I've got the low-cut shirt all ready to go.


"To eat is a necessity. To eat intelligently is an art."
-- La Rochefoucauld