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Asador Etxebarri* – not just a side trip meal!

Somewhere on the way to Asador Etxebarri (Yes, we were a bit off the beaten path – blame Google maps! ;=))

Many foodies have already passed the doors of Etxebarri, and many many more will. When visiting the Basque country, probably aiming to dine at one or more of the acclaimed 3 star restaurants in Bilbao or San Sebastian, it is basically a must to also stop at Victor Arguinzoniz’ asador, a true gem hidden in the hills East of Bilbao.

When stopping there you’re in for much more than just a rustic meal in between two fine dining places. In fact, when having such kind of itinerary, I am sure that 1 out of 2 diners will say that they preferred the experience there to any fancy restaurant with foams, reductions and other chichis. Read the rest of this entry »

Categories: Fine Dining,Spain

Restaurant Martin Berasategui***, San Sebastian – 25 years of modernism

Martin Berasategui probably isn’t the most talked-about Spanish chef these days. His track-record though puts him as one of the institutions of Spanish fine-dining, as his restaurant is holding a Michelin star for 25 years now and entered the elite circle of 3 star restaurants in 2001, 13 years ago.

So what was I expecting? Without having read much about him, not even blog reviews, I was rather awaiting some kind of classical Spanish fine dining, product-centered with flavor-combinations that have already proved successful and very few modern twists. Maybe something like the Spanish Troisgros or Bocuse.

However, I was about to find out that my expectations weren’t quite right. Although quality and choice of products clearly play an important role in his cuisine, Berasategui is even more focusing on creativity and flavor combination. And some of these were to leave us breathless and with dropped jaws.

A chef and a restaurant full of surprises! Read the rest of this entry »

Categories: Fine Dining,Spain

Azurmendi***, Bilbao – on a journey with Eneko Atxa

After being recommended to do so by my friends the Spanish Hipsters, I got a lunch reservation at Eneko Atxa’s 3 star restaurant Azurmendi, located just outside of Bilbao. The restaurant building is entireley made of steel and glass and includes a greenhouse atop of the dining room. The dining room itself has a glass facade with a nice view of the Basque hills. Just a little unfortunate that a highway runs through this landscape. But honestly, in the end, this doesn’t matter at all. Read the rest of this entry »

Categories: Fine Dining,Spain

Restaurant Pujol, Mexico City – a story of Mexican food

When I knew I would be staying in Mexico City for a few days it wasn’t hard to pick a restaurant: everyone seems to agree that Pujol is one of the best fine dining experiences in Latin America. Within the 2013 San Pellegrino World’s Best List, it appeared second after Alex Atalas DOM in Brasil. The just released 2014 list still places him 6th. Also, there is no question that chef Enrique Olvera, who just fulfilled his dream of opening a restaurant in New York (Cosme), is the institution when it comes to fine dining in Mexico. This is underlined by the fact that some of today’s Mexican newcomer chefs also have passed through his kitchen. Somehow Enrique Olvera is the first of a new breed of chefs in Mexico trying to include local ingredients and specialties into modern cooking with all its twists and techniques. I first read about Pujol a few years over here on a Life worth eating and had it on the back of my mind ever since. I was curious how a concept of fine dining comprehending Mexican food and ingredients would work out. Is it actually possible to transfer all these good things into fine dining, elevate them? Read the rest of this entry »

Categories: Fine Dining,Mexico

Wurstmarkt 2014 – Dürkheimer Weinprobe bei den Medienagenten

Fast ist es schon Tradition. Alljährlich nehmen die in Bad Dürkheim ansässigen Medienagenten den Wurstmarkt zum Anlass während einer lockeren Weinprobe Winzer und Weine aus dem Ort vorzustellen. Der zum 598. Mal stattfindende Wurstmarkt ist sowas wie das weinlastige Pendant zum Oktoberfest. Und so wie bei Letzterem nur Münchner Bier ausgeschenkt wird, erhält man auf dem “Worschtmarkt” ausschließlich Wein von “Derkhemer” Winzer. Traditionell wird dieser in “Dubbe-Gläser” getrunken  - das sind 0,5 Liter große Schorle-Gläser, die gerne auch unter Freunden rumgereicht werden. Read the rest of this entry »

Restaurant Villa Rothschild** in Königstein bei Frankfurt – Liebe zum Detail und zum Geschmack

Etwas abseits von Frankfurt, aber im per Auto doch recht zügig erreichbaren Königstein befindet sich das Restaurant Villa Rothschild. Dort hat im März dieses Jahres der 32-jährige Christian Eckhardt das Zepter übernommen, nachdem sein Vorgänger Christoph Rainer über viele Jahre die Reputation des Gourmet-Lokals aufgebaut und das Haus zu den aktuellen 2 Sternen im Guide Michelin geführt hat. Read the rest of this entry »