May 31, 2013

The Belly of the Bluefin

Oh man.

It's been awhile since I've been to so many events in one day, but I confess, it was a lot of fun.

The most amazing one of all, however, was the event that was least expected, that I wasn't actually invited to, and that finished off the day with a bang.

It was the breaking down of an entire 200+ kilo bluefin tuna sponsored by Madrid's Baby Beef Rubaiyat Restaurant and Grupo Balfegó. Unreal.

The entire process took well over an hour (or 2) and seemed to be as dependent on strength and experience as it was on intuition and pure skill. It was both fascinating and shocking in terms of the amount of meat produced by that one single tuna.

On a weird note, seeing that beautiful beast of a 15 year old tuna laid out like a sacrificial lamb on the table reminded me painfully of that scene in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe (the book) where Aslan gives is life to save Edmund and is strapped to the table and killed by the witch. That scene horrified me as a child and horrifies me still.

And then I ate a ton of sashimi.

Apparently the meat and fat around the eyeball is exquisite.

May 27, 2013

Crapula and other stories based on real events

So, it's been awhile. Lots of changes in my life, but loads of fun new projects as well.

Rather than go into a lot of explanations and excuses I thought I would do a brief update to catch you up on what's been going on over here in the world of serious Spanish cuisine since I last wrote in February.

To add a little cohesion to the whole mess, I will institute a scale from 1-10, 1 being tragic and 10 being euphoric.


Calçot season came and went, as did a plate full of these seasonal delicacies lovingly grilled by my friend Jorge when I dumped the whole thing on the floor accidentally in a pile of broken ceramic (a 1 turned into a 6 when I was able to peel off the skins with the broken glass on them).

The Calçots, pre-tragedy

I started a new company called Gustology (shameless self-promotion) and discovered that I am very talented at writing on food with a marker - not as talented as others (you know who you are) - but pretty darn good at it. I now carry a sharpie with me in my purse at all times because it's addictive.
Challenges still out there? To write on a nice steak, that was a tough one. 3
Biggest reward? Getting the eyeliner to work on the cheese and swabbing the dorada down in alcohol to make the ink stick. 10
Biggest stink? Moving the raw fish mid-photo shoot, several hours post refrigeration. 2 (but I love the photo)

Photo by the awesome Alvaro Minguito (

Learning how to write on our own food was a challenge for myself and my fellow Gustologists, but convincing others to let us write on THEIR food at Madrid's Salon de Gourmets was a real joy. 8

This young man was particularly forthcoming with his cucumber, unfortunately somewhat hard to read.

The best by far was when we got to take a sharpie to this incredible wheel of Basque cheese from LurLan. 10

Also in April, I started writing the new blog for Foods from Spain - which I am admittedly doing more regularly than my own.


Bar Amor debuted a new menu, which definitely made my life easier considering that I have been eating there between 2-3 times a week recently. 8

A lovely fresh foie with asparagus and bresaola.

I invented a new security system for my home. Patent pending. 6

And maybe one of the most special things that I discovered over the past few months was this wine, Crápula (Based on a True Story) from D.O. Jumilla.
Incidentally, the 2009 crianza version of this wine was named one of the Best in Spain by the 2012 Nariz de Oro competition. And this is also one of my favorite grapes.....

Even so, you've gotta love it.

Happy Spring!

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