Friday, November 22, 2013

Showtime at Albert Adrià's Tickets

Ferran Adrià is the world's most celebrated chef today thanks to his legacy at El Bulli and his contributions to the modern age of gastronomy.  Just one year after Ferran began his career at El Bulli at the age of 22, his younger brother joined the staff at the age of 15.

"Without Albert, El Bulli as we know it now would never have existed," claimed Ferran.  Albert Adrià eventually became the restaurant's creative director.  Any mention of Albert always brings his brother's name into the conversation.  Albert is beyond worthy of his own name.  Jose Andres worked with both brothers in El Bulli said, "Ferran may be an incredible chef, but there is no better cook in the world than Albert."

Albert Adrià is genius in his own right.  He currently has 4 restaurants in Barcelona, with 2 more opening next year.  As soon as we planned our dates, I jumped online to book a table at Tickets.  You have to reserve 60 days in advanced online.  And the availability goes out as fast as a Jay-Z/Justin Timberlake concert (or The Rolling Stones or Paul McCartney if you want to be technical about fast selling tickets).  After 3 attempts on 3 different nights (and having to wake up in the middle of the night as soon as the next day's schedule gets online), I finally scored a lunch reservation for 4!  It felt like winning the lottery.  Now I just had to wait 60 days..

The wait is so worth it.  When you enter Tickets, you know you're going to have fun, like you just got a ticket to the coolest food carnival.

I originally reserved for 4, but our party increased to 6.. well, 6 1/2 including my nephew.  Without hesitation, but with pure friendliness the hostess immediately accommodated our increase of seats.  Eating in many high end restaurants in the U.S. and Europe, I have grown weary of arrogance among the wait-staff.  There was absolutely none of that in Spain's best restaurants.  They all welcome you like you're great friends - Tickets is no exception, in fact it's incredibly kid friendly.

The menu is an extensive list of tapas.  I'm here for one meal, so it was hard to narrow down what to order.  Our waiter offered to provide us a taste of the best - either according to our budget or until our stomachs could take no more.  No pretension nor snobbery if we had a particular budget.

We chose the stomach option, and I think I could have gone for days.  Hands down, the best celebrity chef experience.  The best food experience in the world.  And the bill came out to be waay cheaper than any other tasting menu I've encountered.

I've seen all that I want to in Barcelona (the first time was all about sightseeing, and this time was all about the food).  I'm partial to Madrid and San Sebastian where there's more of an old world culture while retaining a cleanliness.  But, my love for food will most definitely bring me back to Barcelona to experience more of Albert Adrià.  Plus, he's an incredibly sweet guy who happily obliged a photo with my family.  Stand up guy, amazing cook - there's no better combination.

Albert Adrià talking to his team

Fan girl photo with Albert Adrià!

The Setting
With these tweezers as your utensils.  Kinda works like chopsticks.

Melocotón Impregnada
Peaches infused in Sangría as a refreshing cocktail

Traditional starters
Tapa Jamon y Tapa Coppa Joselito (Two kinds of jamon)
Nuestro Pan con Tomate (Bread topped with tomato)
Anchoas del Cantábrico (Local anchovies)

Spherical Olives
Olivas Gordal Adobad and Olivas Verdial.  Classic Adrià brothers.

Mini Airbags Rellenos
Mini airbags stuffed with Manchego cheese foam.  The lightest, airiest crisp.

Huevo de Codorniz
Quail egg with its nest.  A wonderful play of textures from the smooth egg against the strands.

Ensalada de Tomate
Tomato salad with transparent gelatine of Gazpacho.  What a brilliant execution of gazpacho!  Wow, these little tomatoes really packed a punch of flavor.

Majado de Aguacate
Avocado crushed with mint and spicy tuna.  Guacamole made to perfection with the freshest bits of tuna.

Taco de Cebiche
Ceviche on lettuce cups.  The fresh, seafood progression continues.

With red wine vinegar, tarragon, and olive oil caviar.  The first of the oyster courses.

Mas ostras
With grilled melon consomme.  Such fresh, plump, juicy oysters.

Concha Fina
Local clams.  A fresh bite of these plump clams.

Razor clams with refried sauce and lemon air.  My favorite of the shellfishes.  These razor clams were really plump and juicy.  A little sweet, savory, and zesty.

Fritura de Pescado Embarrado
Marinated fried fish.  Meat white fish, lightly fried.  A nice transition from fresh cold seafood onto the hot courses.

Mar y Montaña
Surf and Turf, sauteed beans with Iberian homemade sausages and baby squid.  Squid in Spain is incredibly fresh.  This was an excellent version of a light surf and turf.

Patatas Confitadas
Confit potatoes with Iberian cured ham and pork rib jus.  Enjoying the delicacy of the jam in its juice.

Mollete de Papada Adobada
Toasted bread with a slice of pork chin.  Papada translates to double chin.  It's probably named this because I could eat these for days and the next thing you know.. a double chin has formed.  It's so good you might not care about that papada.

El Cornete Tickets
A cute little ice cream cart that goes to your table for a freshly scooped little cone.  Perfect for the little ones (when they need a sweet treat or distraction between courses), and the bigger ones.

Filete de Vaca "Máximo nivel"
High level beef tenderloin, cut at the table

Plated with pimientos de padrones.  Perfectly medium rare without blood oozing out.

Xuxi Queso Payoyo
Liquified cheese along with traditional cheese.  A brilliant presentation of a traditional cheese course along with the Adrià brothers' modern creations.

Worms!  Hilarious presentation, and a fun start to the dessert courses.

Merengue de Grosella
Strawberries in a meringue cup.  Light fruity dessert courses so you don't leave feeling too heavy.

Lemon sorbet.  The tartness really lightens you up after this wonderfully epic meal.

Palet D'Or
Chocolate on chocolate on chocolate, with some gold.  I love chocolate, and gold is nice, too.

The Bill

Truly a place fun for the whole family - and for all sizes.

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