Mar 31 2012

What’s Next? A trip to El Bulli

For the second time in my life I had the opportunity to dine at Chicago’s very own NEXT Restaurant, a recent James Beard Nominee (and soon to be winner) for Best New Restaurant in America.

If I could, I would tell you to go. Unfortunately, tickets have been sold out since opening night. I am one of the lucky 3,600 people who will have the rare opportunity cross NEXT: El Bulli off their bucket list. This is in thanks to the complete strangers who so kindly invited me to dine at their table. But that’s a story for a different day…let’s get to the food!

For those of you who don’t know, El Bulli, winner of The World’s Best Restaurant and numerous other accolades, closed last summer. As only Grant Achatz can do, he convinced Chef Ferran Adriá to share his recipes for one last El Bulli homage in Chicago (lucky for me)!

To say the evening was magical would be a gross understatement.  This meal, perhaps, the highlight of my culinary adventures, was fun, beautiful and sublime. As each course was delivered to our table, my fellow diners and I were rendered speechless with each new bite.

29 courses and 10 beverage pairings later, I left in awe, giddy, satiated and high. Please allow me to share pictures from each course of this epic night.

PART 1: Tapas:

2004 nitro caipirinha with tarragon concentrate

2000 hot/cold trout roe tempura

2005 spherical (not actually real, just looks like it) olives

1991 coca of avocado pear, anchovies and green onions

2003 ibérico sandwich

2001 golden egg

1997 smoked foam (the only item that I didn't like)

1998 chicken liquid croquettes

2007 black sesame spongecake and miso