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


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is what is known as a cock-tease.

1/24/2007 10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first little kisses were nice, but you said foreplay! I am telling you right now, bitch, if you take another four months to move below the waist, as it were, I'm coming to SF to shank your skanky whore ass myself!

[Disclaimer: *begged with the utmost respect* Please take this in the spirit intended as I'm blending in with the style, of course. When in Rome, and all that rot. Remember, the sincerest form of flattery is, indeed, imitation. Really. I swear. *runs and hides from Joy's shiv*]

1/25/2007 12:09 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

why is Garret posting anonymously?

I think I saw Anthony Bourdain sitting at that table once.

1/25/2007 9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome introduction! I can't wait to read the rest.

1/26/2007 9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like Eric, I'm loving it so far and can't wait to read more. :)

1/26/2007 12:01 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I attend the French Culinary Institute, and earlier this year 10 of the top chefs from Spain, including El Bulli's chefs, came and did demonstrations. It was quite incredible

1/27/2007 5:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds heavenly. When are you organizing the group tour?

1/27/2007 3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it that the best things are so often located at the end of a road like THAT?

Can't wait to hear the rest.

1/31/2007 2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*anxiously awaiting Part 2*

Not that I'm trying to hurry you or anything... :-)

2/01/2007 4:38 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Hey, the chef where I used to work (Jaleo, tapas in DC) trained with the chef from El Bulli. I'm so fucking envious of you!

12/12/2007 4:43 PM  

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