I love pumpkin carving – it’s my favorite part of Halloween. This year, I decided to do something a little different with my jack-o-lanterns: animate them! I was inspired by the guys at DigitalDudz, who came up with the very clever idea of brining Halloween t-shirts to live by taping your smartphone or tablet inside the shirt and playing a video that aligns to the image on the front of the shirt. If it works for a t-shirt, why not a pumpkin?
After hitting the quality cuisines of England, Austria and Spain, I made my final stop on Gastropocalypse 2012: Germany. Just outside Cologne resides a giant palace, the Schloss Bensberg, and tucked within is the best chef in Germany and his restaurant, Vendôme. In May 2012 Chef Joachim Wissler was voted the best in his trade by the 100 finest cooks in Germany for the second time in a row, as the “Cook of Cooks”. A three star ending to a five star vacation. Or so I thought.
Catalunya, the current center of the gastronomic universe. I hadn’t been there since 2001, when food meant to me whatever the closest restaurant was offering at the moment. This time I walked through Barcelona with a culinary eye, and found (and ate) many a wonderful thing, if only for a short couple of days.
The gastropocalypse continued on from England and Austria into the next country: Spain. Specifically to the culinary paradise of Catalunya, and the beautiful city of Barcelona. There I had made reservations at a tapas bar. It doesn’t have any Michelin stars and isn’t in the Top 50 restaurants in the world. But I thought it was worth checking out. Why? Because it’s run by Ferran and Albert Adrià. You know, elBulli. Considered the most revolutionary cooks alive and all that.
Excuse me for a moment while I channel Eric’s excitement:
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I ATE AT TICKETS!!! I HAD A DRINK AT 41º!!!!!!! AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
OK, that feels better.
Continuing my European culinary journey which started in London, my next stop was Vienna, Austria to visit some friends and experience the city. And, of course, to eat at their local temple to gastronomy. Theirs is located in the center of town in the middle of Stadtpark. It has plenty of outdoor seating, which was a first for me in these kind of places. Its name is Steirereck.
I just came back from a two week jaunt through Europe. I hadn’t been on a two week vacation in over two and a half years, and hadn’t been to Europe in six years, so I was determined to pack in as much excitement as I could. And boy, did I. I decided one aspect of this vacation was to be a culinary exploration, and I managed to score reservations at some of the best places on the continent. I named the whole excursion Gastropocalypse 2012. The first stop on the culinary map: London.
So I did it. I read the whole thing – all five volumes. “But the last one is just recipes.” Yes, I know – I read all of them. And I’ve been able to cook over 30 of the 1522 recipes, which, granted, is just scratching the surface but it has given me some perspective. So, have I learned anything?