El Bulli at Next- A Mere 5 Hours & 29 Courses…
So, this is more of a picture post than the rest. Honestly, the reason is this: It would probably take me as long to write about all of this intricate food and our whole experience as it took to eat it. I’m pretty sure no one wants to read 5 hours worth of my writing. Don’t worry, I’ll give you little tidbits here and there, and you can hover your curser over the picture for the title of each course.
So here it is: Next, el Bulli
A frozen shot to start things off…
First 3 courses in snacks…
An inside out ham sandwich.
A liquid olive explosion: Olive juice inside a loosely gelatinous sphere, marinated in olive oil.
The first of 2 little vials of liquid that changed the flavor of the sparkling wine in order to pair better with the following courses.
Fried liquid chicken. Hmmm…
One of my fave courses: A sesame spongecake with miso sauce. It was soft and sponge and bouncy and had this crazy combo of salty umami-ness. Loved it.
Drink me: #2.
Smoke foam. So interesting it took several “bites” for me to decide if I liked it or not. I decided no. It was the favorite course of one of my dining companions. That tells you how strange and provocative it was.
The second foam in a row; this one was fabulous. At first it seemed one dimensional…ok, carrot foam. Lame. Then you discovered the amazingly complex coconut broth underneath and you (ok…I) wanted to take a bath in it. Delicious! Probably my other favorite course.
But this one was really good too. Calamari ravioli. No pasta involved. That super smooth casing is the calamari body. Very tender, flavorful and appealing to the eye.
Tomato ice with oregano…meh.
Hot crab aspic. Huh? How can aspic be hot? The gelatin should melt! These sneaky guys…
Cauliflower couscous with no couscous on the plate. This was a fun one to play with. So many accompaniments and flavor combinations to create!
Liquid potato tortilla. This one was provocative and delicious, as well, with at super silky mouthfeel.
This one actually looks more like a potato tortilla of the previous course but is composed mostly of mushrooms. There are a few crispy potatoes on the upper layer. Pinenuts, herbs and rabbit kidneys accompany. Yes, I said “rabbit kidneys”.
This was probably one of my least favorite (am I allowed to say that?). No one at our table finished this course. Over-salted and otherwise not that great (except for the beautiful brunoisette of “ratatouille” that crusted the fish). I guess the seashell pillow on which the plate was served deserves note.
This course was all about the flower but the eel and bone marrow that rest upon its leaf made it even more interesting.
Here’s the rest of that bunny…
This frozen gorgonzola sphere was more about the presentation and sensation for me. Plus, I like to play with my food so this was fun.
You can probably imagine how ridiculously rich a flan made from, say… foie gras might be. Yes, it was that ridiculously rich.
I could have been the only one at the table to like this “course” but the flavor matching game was so fun!
We weren’t left guessing how many we got right. And the winner is….
This was a crazy, cold-in-so-many-ways palate cleanser. A frozen ‘mint pond’…
…sprinkled with multiple mints, then broken.
The first ‘real dessert’ dessert after several transition courses of ‘somehow sweet yet somehow savory’ dishes. This is chocolate, chocolate and chocolate.
I’m not gonna lie- I can’t say much about the last few. This was about 4.5 hours and 25 courses in. Stick a fork in me… I’m done!
Farewell (/ get-the-hell-out-it’s-1AM).
But not without one last bite!
Seriously. Wow. I’m not even sure this should be referred to as “dinner”. It’s more of a captivating and artistic expression… that we get to eat! A truly fascinating experience.