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  • MB 8:06 pm on April 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , tapas, , travel   

    My Dinners with Albert: Tickets 

    tickets-1

    The third, and obviously final, Albert Adria restaurant I visited when in Barcelona was Tickets. Maybe it was wrongheaded to start with 41° and end with Tickets, but that’s what happened. And, ultimately, Tickets was my least favourite experience. By far. It’s not that the food isn’t terrific. In fact, it is terrific. But I found the kitsch a little overwhelming, and it felt a little more Britney Spears  than Barnum and Bailey when it came to the Circus theme.

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    • Andrew 8:27 am on April 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Whomever organized these dinners ought to have started with Tickets and graduated to 41°. The order would no doubt contribute to the disappointment because Tickets is more like lighter, whimsical fare in casual tapas bar format (in Adrià sophistication, of course) and 41° is essentially elBulli Lite.

    • MB 11:22 am on April 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      The windows for reservations are brief enough that we took what we could get when we could get it. If the reservations were easier to get, I would have definitely scheduled it differently. As it is, I just feel lucky that I managed to go to all three. And, frankly, no matter the order, my disappointment in some of the dishes at Tickets would have been unavoidable. Some of them were simply not great.

  • MB 8:09 pm on April 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , travel   

    My Dinners with Albert: 41° 

    41-1

    It was like having dinner inside a Stereolab song.  From the dots and loops, wow and flutter, and what were projections of des étoiles électroniques on strips of plastic that hung from the ceiling like small portals to otherworldly planets full of butterflies, statues and swirling starscapes, 41° is modern and whimsical, buzzing with the the same sort of cerebral experimentation and orchestration you find in the lush sonic swirl of Mars Audiac Quintet.

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  • MB 8:26 pm on April 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , nikkei, , , , travel   

    My Dinners with Albert: Pakta 

    My friend Ron is a bit of a reservations savant. I can’t really think of a reservation that he has wanted that he hasn’t gotten. It’s not like he trips into them or anything like that — for the reputedly difficult reservations at restaurants like Frenchie or Momofuku Ko, he has definitely put the work in, making phone calls at what could be ungodly local hours or setting the proper Google alerts or whatever other subtle sleuth work is deemed necessary for each occasion. But the thing is: there seems to be no difficult reservation outside of his reach.

    And so, in Barcelona this past week, through a series of happy coincidences and well-timed legwork, between Ron, my friend Lisa and me, we were able to secure reservations at Albert Adria’s trio of Barcelona restaurants: Pakta, 41 Grados, and Tickets. Being the lucky fifth wheel who was vacationing at the same time as two couples, I somehow managed to be the luckiest of all, getting to all three restaurants for meals. Kristina started calling our vacation My Dinner with Albert, since we were basically sharing our lives over these dinners and we all consider ourselves as talented and interesting as Wallace Shawn. (We don’t. Because nobody is. That is, to put a pin in it, inconceivable!)

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    • Lindsey 2:25 am on April 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      how did you manage to swing a reservation at Tickets the week OF your visit??

    • Samantha 3:03 am on April 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Your photos from all three dinners are breathtaking! Sorry to ask such a tacky question about the experience, but…. is Pakta prix-fix? If so, what is the cost? There’s very little info online about the technical details of dining there, and since I’m visiting in May, I’m rather curious. Thank you.

      • MB 7:12 pm on April 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Lindsey — we just paid really close attention to the websites and kept watching for the days to open for reservations. Part of it was dumb luck. With Tickets in particular it seems like you can perhaps chance getting in without reservations if you go early. Before dinner at 41 Degrees we actually went in for drinks without reservations. And it seemed like people queued outside didn’t all necessarily have them, either.

        Samantha — Pakta has tasting menus. There were two — one was around 70 euro and the other was around 90 euro. I think they are 16 and 24 courses respectively. There are drink pairings available as well, or you can get drinks a la carte.

  • MB 11:11 pm on July 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: eating, , salmon, , travel   

    Charlottetown Farmers’ Market 

    I was just in Prince Edward Island, and treated myself to a little bit of time at the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market. A wholly different experience from the Halifax market. It caters more to prepared food—with African, Asian, Indian and Canadian food stalls peppered throughout the small building—but also has lots of wonderful local produce, art, crafts, coffee and preserves filling up the other booths.

    Charlottetown Farmers Market

    A blur of activity at the Farmers' Market

    There is something really joyous about finding all kinds of foods that you wouldn’t expect to find elsewhere in PEI; the samosas and curries are especially delightful. But, ultimately, it’s the great local treats like Medallion smoked salmon and coffee that is roasted in Murray River, that makes me want to keep going back. And that’s exactly what I ate when I went there last week.

    Medallion Smoked Salmon

    delicious smoked salmon, eventually shaved super thin for an awesome breakfast sandwich

    Bagel Prep

    The beautifully sliced salmon is plopped on top of a swath of cream cheese, and sprinkled with red onion, capers and a finishing touches---a squeeze of fresh lemon

    Bagelwich!

    Perfection!!!

    Last year there had been news of an expansion of the Market or perhaps an additional Charlottetown space, and I’m admittedly ignorant on what is going on there, but I have to say that as much as it does seem like someone squeezing into an outfit that is two sizes too small, I find the market charming and engaging, and part of me would hate to see it change.

     
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