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#91 Chambolle

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Posted 25 April 2016 - 02:51 PM

Very good. I'm glad it's working out okay for ya, mitchells. I had to cash in one of my chips to get you that table, you know.

 

Did Eneko stop to say hello and make sure you guys were happy ? I asked him to do so.

 

And just to confirm re the car, they gave you the AMG S65, right ? 



#92 mitchells

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 09:14 AM

[quote name="Chambolle" post="1372623" timestamp="
 
And just to confirm re the car, they gave you the AMG S65, right ? [/quote]

Yes, but my wife's suitcase filled with shoes didn't fit so we had to exchange for a c-class sedan. 😎Next stop: St Jean Cap Ferrat.

All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusions is called a philosopher.
Ambrose Bierce

#93 Chambolle

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 09:30 AM

 

Next stop: St Jean Cap Ferrat.

 

From the Bastard ? You serious ? How you getting there ? Driving ?



#94 mitchells

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 09:33 AM

Yes, made a pit stop in Castelnau Le Lez. Thought it would be nice to hang poolside on a vineyard for a day and drink Rose from the vines a few meters from the pool. 👌 I could definitely get into the Chambo lifestyle.

All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusions is called a philosopher.
Ambrose Bierce

#95 Chambolle

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 10:10 AM

So you're serious, eh ...



#96 mitchells

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 12:14 PM


 


Next stop: St Jean Cap Ferrat.

 
From the Bastard ? You serious ? How you getting there ? Driving ?

Listening to the Beatles catalogue made the drive fly by.

All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusions is called a philosopher.
Ambrose Bierce

#97 mitchells

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 02:39 PM

Some pictures from Azurmendi near Bilbao. Exceeded our expectations in every way. The food, service, room, view and total experience.

 

You walk into the lobby of the restaurant and each party is brought to a different high top table or sitting area. You are then introduced to a different member of the kitchen staff who delivers this. A picnic basket and glass of local wine. This basket contained a Tomato Gelee, an Eel Sandwich and a some sort of passion fruit bon bon that exploded in your mouth.

 

 

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You are then taken thru their indoor garden and provided a few "snacks" in each area. As an example, a leaf made of dried mushroom that is in the mushroom growing area. A bit kitschy but fun nonetheless. Then a tour of the kitchen. I think there are more kitchen staff than seats in the restaurant.

 

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The view from the dining room doesn't suck:

 

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First course, the famous egg with part of the yolk removed using a syringe and a hot truffle liquid injected.

 

 

 

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Oyster with oyster tartare and liquified seaweed

 

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Sea urchin with an intense seafood broth and a waffle that I forget what it was made with

 

 

 

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Fresh peas with Caviar. Not only beautiful to look at but delicious.

 

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Roasted lobster with a crunchy lobster cone

 

 

 

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Cauliflower with fried eggs and truffle. This dish may have been perfect.

 

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Cod tripe with chick peas and potatoes. This was one of my favorites.

 

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Monkfish wrapped in Iberian ham with artichokes and basil

 

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Pigeon with green beans and mushrooms. Came with a foie canape (on the wood block) and in the glass was sherry spiked with stock.

 

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Then several desserts with the final item being a white chocolate and basil lollipop

 

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All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusions is called a philosopher.
Ambrose Bierce

#98 Chambolle

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 04:45 PM

Wow, mitchells !

 

VERY nicely done. I'm super proud of you. I'm truly happy to call you my friend and colleague.

 

There's not really much more to say ... but I'll think of something ...



#99 Chambolle

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 05:13 PM

For example, before you "walk into the lobby of the restaurant", folks might enjoy seeing the view from the road and the view from the lower parking lot.

 

You know that lower parking lot, mitchells ... the one you were staring at during your meal (I can't believe they did that to you. So unfair. I truly sorry about that ! )

 

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The real problem is that they get SO MANY of my friends coming thru that they got a real problem with allocating their best real-estate.

 

So mitchells, next time be sure to tell them that you are my VERY VERY good friend and then do that secret handshake thing that I PMed you about and only then will you be totally golden and get the good view ... or maybe you're just a total gentleman and gave the wife and daughter the best views ... come to think of it, that could be it ... oh my goodness, mitchells must actually be in love to give up a view like this ... that's incredible ... this love shit is real and it exists in the wild ! )

 

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But we all appreciate that you took one for the team because it allows us to mention that you were looking at the former location of the gastro resto that has now become a more casual eating option and a large banquet hall ... but Chambo says unambiguously Go Gastro !

 

Okay ... so as you were saying "You walk into the lobby of the restaurant" and you see the following ... assuming you are the last to arrive ... cuz they clean up after everyone pretty quickly after that quick picnic and keep the place pretty spotless ...

 

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And that picnic basket can keep on changing each time you show up but no need to dwell on that when there's a full kitchen to enter.

 

I presume that you went into the kitchen PRIOR to the meal starting* because I think everyone does and I do see you have that nice pic looking into their war room.

 

* this happens a bit in the Basque ... seems as though some of these gastro kitchen pros enjoying having their team shout hello to their future guinea pigs

 

Once inside, what's quite nice is to take a close sneak peak at the ingredients on display and see if they are to your liking or not ...  and if so then be sure to include them when ordering even if it requires a mix and match from the two menus. That's a little Chambo trick that I enjoy employing every now and then.

 

For example, here are some hunks of hake pre-bake ...

 

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And here is the fish post-fry (yeah, I know, it wasn't really pre-bake, but it rhymes ... R-Tiste and all, ya know ...)

 

To be exact, that's Fried Hake, Roasted Pepper Infusion and Parsley ...

 

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And it's an ethereal fry in this case ... (but I do understand that some will find this quite ordinary but I'm cool with that ...)

 

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With the interior cooked to perfection ...

 

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#100 mitchells

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 05:37 PM

When driving up to Azurmendi with the gardens and vineyard and their mission regarding food and sustainability, the most obvious comparison is BHSB in the US. As you can hopefully see from the food pictures posted, the comparison ends with their mission.  And at a price point that is more than  $100 less per person. Factoring in wine, the difference in price is even greater. I have enjoyed BHSB the 3 times I went there but there is no way I will ever go back because it will be impossible to enjoy it after our experience at Azurmendi.

 

eta, their willingness to swap courses from one menu to the other is a real plus.



All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusions is called a philosopher.
Ambrose Bierce

#101 Chambolle

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 06:23 PM

Ah yes look at that ... upon closer inspection, mitchells did indeed say that he had a pre-eat kitchen tour AFTER his indoor garden tour / snackfest.

 

That's a nice segue to say that they can shake things up a bit and run audibles and keep return customers off-balance as to the order of their picnic-ing and garden touring and kitchen welcome and all that ... and quite frankly, the routing most probably depends upon the exact timing of their guest flow.

 

Note that the garden snackfest is a relatively new thang but I'm not gonna discuss it nor show pics because the surprise element is key to enjoying it.

 

It is worth noting that there can also be an outdoor garden tour on the way to the indoor garden tour and in that case ...

 

**** SPOILER ALERT ... CLOSE YOUR EYES IF YOU MIGHT GO SEE THIS MOVIE AND FEEL YOUR WAY PAST THE NEXT TWO PICS AND ON TO THE ENSUING TEXT... BUT IT'S JUST A TEASER TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA ... SO DON'T FREAK OUT CUZ VIRTUALLY ALL THAT KITSCHY STUFF IS STILL TO COME ****

 

... you're probably like me and you have your head down looking at patch after patch of garden plenty ... you're tuning in Tokyo by touching the tomatoes, breathing in and basking in the basil, peaking at plenty of peppers ... and then ...    WHAM BAM !!!    ...    it's like a frickin' surprise birthday party and you head inside !!!

 

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Trust me on this, folks ... eventually you do get to sit down at a real table and eat real food.

 

Not surprisingly, my main man mitchells is totally talking the truth about the first course being "the famous egg with part of the yolk removed using a syringe and a hot truffle liquid injected". So true.

 

By the way mitchells, upon looking at your "truffled" egg upthread, to my eyes, I think that you got a pretty crappy one and it seems as though they seriously gipped ya on the truffle ... but no worries cuz there's always a next time ...

 

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Yo mitchells ! Did you guys play dumb and ask them how they do that magic trick at the end of the meal ? 

 

Cuz if you didn't then you missed out on the POST-EAT kitchen tour and yet another truffled-egg-fest*  ... but there's always a next time ...

 

* cuz it's not like they are going to toss the thing out without offering it to you right ? ... or did I just pick up the spoon and eat it to verify that it wasn't an optical illusion ? ... quite frankly I had had quite a lot to drank at that very point in time and everything was getting a bit cloudy

 

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#102 mitchells

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 06:42 PM

There is a youtube video of Eneko himself demonstrating the trick. FYI, Eneko was not in the kitchen the day we were there. Someone said he was in London working on plans for his new place there. Not that I am into rankings but this restaurant was ranked #1 European restaurant by Opinionated About Dining in 2015.



All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusions is called a philosopher.
Ambrose Bierce

#103 balex

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 08:52 PM

For logistical reasons we ended up going to Martin Berasetagui for our fancy meal; it was kind of disappointing. Very beautiful, impeccable service, but the food just lacked some oomph.

My strongest memory after a few weeks is a glass of cider I had with the pudding which was really awesome, as interesting and complex as a very good wine. 

The most expensive meal of the trip and we enjoyed it less than Ibai or Extxebarri. 



#104 Chambolle

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Posted 22 May 2016 - 06:23 PM

we ended up going to Martin Berasetagui for our fancy meal; it was kind of disappointing. Very beautiful, impeccable service, but the food just lacked some oomph.

 

Ah man, that bums me out a bit, balex. Seriously.

 

I'll state the obvious - disappointment is invariably a function of expectations.

 

The service there is indeed superb. A total class act at a true 3* Mich "French" level. Elegant, sophisticated and formal but if they sense that less formal and more fun is preferred then they auto-adapt with ease. A pretty young service team too, as I recall. It was mostly men in good shape moving effortlessly on the dance floor and I distinctly remember thinking that Martin B could probably field a pretty serious soccer squad and kick some butt in the Spanish intramural Michelin league. 

 

It goes without saying that you have to be in the mood for this type of production. And if fancy is on order for the evening, why not !

 

And even though I did indeed say that it was an OakFridrozian place ...

 

... the real Martin B. resto is 15-minutes outside of SanSebast in Lasarte and I'm always going to be spending time in SanSebast too (... all this is assuming of course you want the Martin B. experience which would be the expected call for the OakFridrozians out there who want that true, fairly formal, (even white-gloved !), Michelin service and ceremony. Even Chambo has gone a few times and enjoyed it... it just depends what type of meal and what type of environment you are looking for that evening.

 

... if you had asked my advice about your going there for a fancy meal, I probably would NOT have dissuaded you from going !

 

I would have thought that Martin B could indeed work nicely for a gentleman like you with such a divine lady as previously described.

 

That said, I would have painted the picture in a bit more detail for you to hopefully better set expectations.

 

I would have said that Martin B isn't trying to break new ground and shake up the world but that his classical, retro-experimental food can be very enjoyable "fine dining" nonetheless.

 

I would have said that you shouldn't let a bunch of foams ruin your evening. They are fine ! Just go with it.

 

One also should know in advance that Martin B is constantly rotating various of his vintage dishes onto his menus ... stuff from his back catalog ... mostly dishes from the last 15 years or so. Numerous are still very good.

 

I would have said "You got to be a little careful picking and choosing here ! "

 

The 2011 roasted red mullet with edible scales - yes. The 2014 sea bass fillets with percebes - no ! Sliced percebes is very wrong in my book. The vegetable hearts salad* with a bit of seafood from 2001 - ABSOLUTELY ! The 2009 fennel risotto dish - OH YEAH ! Best fennel dish I've ever had ... and it's a riff off Thiery Marx's risotto de soja that I yawned at ages ago at Cordeillan Bages. The 2012 Smoked balloons with mille-feuille of endives, oily fish in a watercress and chickweed bath - Why not ! That's good stuff and quite striking in a bitter sense. That 2012 aspargus dish ain't the greatest though - so be careful, balex ! The 2011 grilled sirloin is perfectly fine but it's not going change your life. Pigeon and poop, yes, but lievre is best left to the French in wintertime. And do get that 2014 Gin Tonic with mint and cucumber initial dessert - VERY LIGHT and QUITE REFRESHING. Pretty too (assuming the foam doesn't bother you) !

 

Par chance, If you remember, balex, what did you eat and what did or didn't you like ?

 

 

* the only potential issue here could be that you are a bit early in the season to be tiptoeing through so many patches of the garden.



#105 Sneakeater

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Posted 22 May 2016 - 06:27 PM

I think balex is a little put out by the recent announcement of the relaxation of the dress code at Glyndebourne.
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