Dining at Arzak in San Sebastian

Dining at Arzak in San Sebastian

Being surrounded in Spain by so much great gastronomy, we’ve made the decision to start exploring more of the country. And, we started with the “other” culinary capital of Spain, and that meant a trip to San Sebastian, in the Basque Country. And, on the top of our list was a stop of the 3 Michelin Star Arzak in San Sebastian. We drove about 10 minutes out from the center of San Sebastian, into a residential neighborhood. We actually managed to find Arzak, and park, without getting lost, so we were a little early. We walked into the entrance, which was part bar, part lobby, and as we would find out, part contemporary family living room. Everything at Arzak was family-like. And, that is the reason why I enjoyed it so much. We are not strangers to Michelin Star dining, having previously dined at the number 3 restaurant in the world, El Celler de Can Roca. And, we’ve dined at a few other 3 Michelin Star restaurants, but this experience was, well, unique. When I made the reservation, I asked for a table with good lighting, or near a window, so that I could take photos for my travel blog. That was my only request. I didn’t even really introduce myself at all. Certainly not a reservation laced with special requests.  And, maybe I am fancier that I think I am, particularly with my burgeoning reputation within Spain, but we were treated quite well, solely based on this request. Going Behind the Scenes at Arzak in San Sebastian First, we received a detailed tour of the Arzak operation, where...
El Celler de Can Roca Menu

El Celler de Can Roca Menu

The meal that requires more than one blog post. I wrote about our surreal dining experience at El Celler De Can Roca. But, I wanted to dive more into the menu items, for the true food lovers out there. Here is a recap of the over 30 different courses and bites we had during our 4 hour Can Roca menu. We chose the Feast Menu, with about 15 named courses. The other alternative is a tasting of their classic menu. The tasting menu is about 7 courses, where you have a choice for two of the courses. Of course, we went all in. And, I did the best I could with photos considering the lighting, and I did not want to disturb diners nearby. Bear with me.   The Can Roca Menu: Snacks We started with The World, a paper lantern, ceremoniously untied at the table, and opened to reveal 5 bites reminiscent of flavors from all over the globe. In this case, our world included: From Thailand, Thai chicken, with coriander, coconut, curry, and lime From Japan, miso cream with nyinyonyaki, the Can Roca version of a fried, breaded snack From Turkey, focaccia with lamb, yogurt, cucumber, onions, and mint From Peru, a Causa limeña, or a potato based bite with avocado From Korea, a panko fried bread, with bacon, soy sauce, kimchi, and sesame oil The next snack was a Can Roca-themed diorama, with black of white photos of each Roca brother when they were young. This presentation is called “Memories of a bar in the suburbs of Girona, a reference perhaps to the family’s traditional restaurant,...
Surreal Dining at Can Roca in Girona

Surreal Dining at Can Roca in Girona

In part, this dining experience was not about the food. I mean, of course it was. But, having eaten in Costa Brava, and having learned about the history of gastronomy in the region, this was a pilgrimage. And, a surreal one at that. This was our experience dining at Can Roca in Girona. El Celler de Can Roca I’ve written about El Celler de Can Roca before. We were fortunate enough to have a little taste from the menu, after meeting all three Roca brothers, back in 2015. That visit occurred just after Can Roca won the number one restaurant in the world, and the whole world was a buzz about Girona. El Celler de Can Roca is set in a residential neighborhood, just outside the center of Girona. The 3 Michelin Star restaurant is around the corner from the family restaurant and bar, Can Roca. But, the two restaurants could not be more different. Can Roca is traditional Catalan. A family run establishment, for everyday dining. El Celler de Can Roca is not for everyday dining. It is, indeed, a surreal experience. We’ve dined at Michelin Star restaurants before, and even 3 star Michelin Restaurants. But, somehow this was different, and I am not sure why. Perhaps it was due to the influence of Ferran Adria and elBulli in the region. Perhaps it was because we were dining at the number 3 restaurant in the world. Perhaps it was because we scored a last minute reservation, and only had less than 10 hours to let it sink in that we were dining at Can Roca in the first...
Dining at Locavore – Coming Home and Eating Local

Dining at Locavore – Coming Home and Eating Local

When we left Ubud 2 years ago, anyone who read the last of my Ubud blog posts would assume I would never return. In fact, when I left, I too assumed I would never return. But, when the chef at Locavore Bali invited us for lunch, I suddenly found an excuse to return to Ubud. I’m glad I did. Why We Returned to Ubud During our last week living in Bangkok, we attended an award ceremony for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, hosted by The World’s 50 Best. I’m still not entirely sure how we ended up on the invite list. I will assume it is because we met Joan Roca of El Celler de Can Roca, the 2015 best restaurant in the world. Or, that I am a budding culinary author with my recent publication of the Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna, home to the 2016 best restaurant in the world. Sometimes, it’s just luck. We showed up at the W Hotel in Bangkok, where the top echelon of the Asian culinary world rubbed shoulders. We were fancy for one night. We tried to fit in. We drank Champagne. We sat in the large ball room and awaited the announcement of the top 50 restaurants in Asia. Only one of which we’ve actually eaten at. But, we met the chef during that visit, so I felt a little more fancy. At one point they announced the top restaurant in Indonesia, and without knowing anything more, one word crossed my lips: Locavore. In fact, Locavore also won the Highest Climber Award. Of the top 50 restaurants in Asia, Locavore rose from 49,...
Maldives Sunset Dinner at Outrigger Resorts

Maldives Sunset Dinner at Outrigger Resorts

One of our favorite things to do when traveling to tropical locations is to enjoy a little cocktail at sunset. While staying at the Outrigger Resorts in the Maldives, we took our sunset experience one step farther. We spent one of our last nights on the island enjoying a Maldives sunset dinner, with toes in the sand. Maldives Sunset at Outrigger Resorts While we waited for the sun to set in the Maldives, we relaxed on specially set lounge chairs, set just for us. We sipped glasses of sparkling wine and waited for the sun to set. I’d like to say we sat and simply enjoyed the sunset. But, as people who know us can guess, we spent the time snapping photos and capturing video of the stunning sky. It seemed that every few minutes the sky changed color, as did the area surrounding the elaborate table that the Outrigger staff set up for us. At first, we drank our sparkling wine as the pinks and blues took over the sky. Then, as dusk set, and the full moon peeked out, our table set up became even more romantic. Once the sun set beyond the horizon, we sat down to start our meal. Yes, the sunset was stunning. But, what I was most excited about? Enjoying a luxury meal, with wine pairings, in the Maldives, with sand between the toes. We didn’t even wear our shoes out for dinner that night. In fact, we were able to walk out the front door of our beach villa straight to our water front dinner table. Maldives Sunset Meal Overall, I was pretty...
5.8 Underwater Restaurant – Dining Underwater

5.8 Underwater Restaurant – Dining Underwater

When researching the what to do in the Maldives, we spent most of the time researching the website of the resorts we planned on visiting. After all, in most cases, travelers land on a private island, and stay on that private island. During my research, though, I never thought we would end up in an underwater restaurant. About 5.8 meters underwater to be exact.  5.8 Underwater Restaurant Just before dusk, we left the soft sands of the Maldivian island where we were spending our luxury holiday in the Maldives. We walked onto a jetty that juts out into the warm Indian Ocean. As we walked along, we looked to either side and spotted small, black tipped reef sharks, that seemed to be circling us. Just before hitting Aquarium restaurant, where dined the night before, we made a left turn down another overwater walkway. This one offered views of Hurawalhi resort to the left, and the sea to the right. We crossed over several glass panels, which offered views to the world underwater, just below our feet. This was just a sign of what was about to happen. Our server opened the double doors, almost as though he was presenting another world to us. And, in some ways, he was. We started to walk down a narrow spiral stair case, descending further and further away from the light above. Around each bend was a window offering the views that surrounded us. The first view included about 15% of the land above the water line, and I could catch a glimpse of the resort in the distance. The rest of the view was dark...
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