Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Where is Waldo?

Let's go for our first try.  Even though I consider it to be dead easy I will give you a hint.  Although this is not one of the great cuisines of the world too heavy, too greasy on occasion, it might be the best at combining natural and basic flavors in a ruthlessly simple matches.

37 comments:

  1. Buenos Aires

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  2. Anonymous7:42 PM

    Spain?

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  3. Anonymous10:02 PM

    Queso y Guava?

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  4. Anonymous10:33 PM

    B.A.

    marc in calgary

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  5. I'm not sure if the Where is Waldo answer is "Spain" or the "What am I eating" is jamon serrano. Anyways those are my guesses to both questions.

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  6. Obviously Spain but you could make it a bit more specific and then it would be more fun.

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  7. framethedebate2:06 AM

    Madrid, Spain

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  8. OK, Brian got it complete first!

    But in a way I was cheating. I spent 6 hours in Madrid in between planes and this the tapa I got at Barajas airport, Serrano and Ribera del Duero.

    still it was a valid quizz because I did take the Metro to watch the end of the Dia de la Hispanidad parade. Needless to say this brunch was quite welcome and appropriate after the event.

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  9. "Although this is not one of the great cuisines of the world too heavy, too greasy on occasion, it might be the best at combining natural and basic flavors in a ruthlessly simple matches."

    My dear friend, let us agree to disagree on that one. For Basque food, a region of Spain last time I checked, is second to none. Don't tell Ferran Adria or other notorious Catalans that the French cook better.

    I believe you should brush up a bit on what's considered the best cuisines of the world:

    http://www.theworlds50best.com/awards/1-50-winners

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  10. sorry alek. a great cook winning great awards is not enough to carry a whole cuisine. spanish cuisine simply does not encompass the variety of french or chinese cuisine for one very simple reason: spain does not have access to the variety of products that france has. with europe and 20 years more maybe the spaniards might have developed further riches, but the french are still ahead, sorry.

    briefly: cream and butter based cuisine in spain do not even reach italian cuisine levels which are not that high to begin with. how many cheeses in spain? there are plenty of great spanish wines but champagne, burgundy and bordeaux are still Champagne, Bourgogne et Bordeaux, together with their effect on local cuisine.

    there is no mystery here: the french have been eating well for at least three century the spaniards have starved quite often until not that long ago.

    what spain has going for it, allowing it to catch up fast is its climate variety, tourism and their increasing ability to travel and see how it is done elsewhere. but they are still catching up even if michelin is already giving a few three stars rating

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  11. For sheer cholesterol, nothing like Spanish Food, but the Ribera dilutes it!

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  12. Anonymous3:40 AM

    That little serrano and glass of wine @ Barajas probably cost Daniel an arm and a leg of his Euro quota.

    As to French vs. Basque food, let's face it; good food can be found most everywhere. The best meal that I have had in my life was two years in Ovidos,Portugal but will I now say that Portuguese food is the best food? Is Basque food better than French? Every country has some WOW offerings along a lot of junk.

    I am off to Budapest this weekend and I am always hoping to discover a WOW meal experience. If I get one WOW experience on each trip I consider my self blessed.

    Cheers to discovering new and delicious culinary experiences.

    And yes some time a simple arepa con caraoticas and quesito the mano does the trick too.


    Alejo, VZLA Paraiso Perdido

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  13. As I said, let us agree to disagree on that one. Between San Sebastian and anywhere in France, I know where I would chose to go eat.

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  14. PS: 4 of the 10 best restaurants in the world are in Spain, 2 in the Basque country (San Sebastian).

    None in France...

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  15. So, Alek, of Basque ancestors, tells us that Basque cuisine is the best. Daniel, of French ancestors, tells us that French cuisine is the best.

    :-)

    Michelin, Michelin...sounds like a Greek or Scandinavian name, doesn't it?

    Daniel: I thought the French got the wine from the Greek bases in the South and then properly from the Romans. The Spaniards got the wine culture from the Phoenicians, who developed a very strong wine culture already with the foundation of Cádiz many centuries before the Celts did.

    French cuisine is Italian cuisine with a strong Germanic influence. Spanish is delicious but quite heavy. I have to admit the Basque cuisine is much less heavy than that in the rest of Spain.

    De gustibus non est disputandum, but my list goes like this:


    1 - real Chinese
    2 - Japanese
    and
    3 - Italian (not what most people know abroad: simple pasta and pizza)
    4 - Spanish (preferably Basque), French and Lebanese

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  16. While you can certainly get a delicious jamon crudo (not jamon serrano) with a copa of vino tinto in Argentina, it's hardly the emblematic dish there that it is for Spain. Plus calling Argentine food "cuisine" is a stretch by any definition of the word. They take good meat, and they cook it. Cook it properly, yes, which can be delicious - but not cuisine.

    Looking forward to where you land next, Daniel! Three more installments? Always enjoyable - but especially so for food with me, as I'm one who likes to eat his way around the world.

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  17. the ham, mature cheese, heavy red wine and olives, plus maybe paella, these are great in Spain, also lechon and the lamb but it is just variations on food that you can get anywhere. I put on 25Kg in my first two years living there...ooops.

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  18. alek

    you are being silly. a few years ago there was no michelin star in spain. did that mean that paella sucked? did that mean ribera del duero wags donkey piss? did that mean that pata negra was a synonym for dirty ham?

    restaurants come and go, a cuisine remains.

    but fine with me if you prefer san sebastian: we do not need philistines like you....

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  19. kepler

    have you ever had greek wine?

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  20. My palette goes like this( I know I am too picky):

    Spanish food is okay but gives me indigestion.French food is delicious but often unhealthy.German food is fresh but too meaty.Belorussian food is too gamy( the pork almost tastes spoiled)and the table water is hot and salty, English food is tasteless cardboard and the fish and chips pure grease, Chinese food contains too much sugar and simple carbs( bad for diabetes),Japanese food is pure salt( yuck) and bad for your heart,American food is too processed ,Mexican food is a big bore and also very unhealthy, Indian food is too spicy but has some incredible dishes...etc etc

    I prefer my own cooking thank you.
    The only other cuisine I really really like is Tai.

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  21. How crazy of me, I forgot to say that according to my taste, Venezuelan food is also one of my favorites, far better than any cuisine from Europe or the Americas.

    I adore Hallacas, the sancochos,trucha from Merida, arepas,the hot sauce with aji dulce, shark empanadas from Margarita, fresh fish, cachapas, the incredible white cheeses, and on and on.Spanish food cannot hold a candle to Venezuelan food in my book.

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  22. Roger8:04 PM

    As greasy goes its hard to beat french pork pies or gorton or in English....HeadCheese. except for Foux Gras but that is a level of cultural strata. Oui? You have me planning a trip to the Mexican Carnaceria this weekend.

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  23. Oh yes, I am being silly, fool me. How could I not know that "a few years ago" Basque people ate berros and talo eta esnia?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arzak

    For the record Daniel, and with all due respect, the Basques were eating fantastic food much before the Michelin guide came round, or are we to think that such an extraordinary gastronomical culture was developed in "a few years"?

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  24. alek

    so now we are down to basque cuisine alone? at least with spanish cuisine you may have had a case but if we go down to regional cuisine i am afraid that you case weakens by the minute because no country in europe has as many different local cuisines than the france. heck, we even have basque cuisine in france!

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  25. OK, this became an ancestor's war:
    Alek's grandmother's versus Daniel's grandmother's.
    :-)

    Venezuelan TRADITIONAL food from Mérida to Guayana is also excellent (i.e. without the current proportions of mayonnaise and meat and with a higher level of herbs)

    Greek wine: yes, I have and I always get a headache even if it is not properly a hangover. Perhaps it has to do with so many centuries of Ottoman control? :-) You have a point with that. Now, I know French wines tend to be more varied than the German ones, but all along the Rhine you also have this phenomenon: wine to the right can be sold by much more than the one on the right and yet in blind taste proofs the "connoisseurs" won't notice the difference.
    As Robin Williams said: it's because we aRHe FRHench.

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  26. Daniel, entre gustos y colores...

    You wrote that Spain is not one of the great cuisines of the world. I thought that statement was typical of a chauvinist, convinced of the utter supremacy of French cuisine.

    France had, without a doubt, one of the great cuisines of the world. It continues to have it. But to argue that Spain's cuisine is not one of the great too, is not only silly, but ignorant. You say that restaurants come and go, with which I agree. But can you possibly expect for your comments in this regard to be taken seriously by putting down the gastronomical traditions of a country, or any of its regions? Furthermore, do you really think that international recognition, which would put your comments to shame, is something a region, or a country, manages to get, consistently, just like that, if it lacked a solid gastronomical tradition?

    You know that I know that, between the two of us, you are by far the better educated. However, speaking from my own experience and coming from a family that certainly was far from wealthy, I can tell you that I am yet to visit a home where the quality of the food is as consistently good as that with which I grew up with with my Basque grandparents. I am yet to visit a country, where traditionally, the men form gastronomic societies, places in which women aren't allowed to set foot in the kitchen, where the most extraordinary food can be had time and again, in a setting of very friendly personal competitions, that last a lifetime among its members, to outcook one another. People in Spain have been eating excellent food much before the arrival of the Michelin guide, heck, most food experts agree that the revolution that has taken place in Spanish cuisine, in which the Basque have always led the field, is quite unique. So much so, in fact, that the place with the largest number of Michelin starred restaurants per capita in the world is nowhere to be found in the land of Louises, but in that little known, and less understood, part of Spain, known as the Basque country, more specifically San Sebastian (from where my grandmother hails), where I had the chance to eat many a delicious meals in my time in the Basque country, in family houses, societies, restaurants, bars, sidrerias, etc.

    So as I said in my initial comment, let us agree to disagree on this one, for I think that Spain has nothing to envy France. After all, no solo de queso vive el hombre.

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  27. alek

    i do not withdraw anything, chauvinistic as it might be......

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  28. Alek and Daniel,

    If you were truly educated you could see the difference between taste and objective knowledge.

    Experts are just idiots who jump through all the hoops to then declare themselves objective on taste which is really quite a personal matter.

    Bore..........so much lovelier to admit one's humility in the scheme of things.To each his own.

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  29. A 12 table restaurant in Denmark was just named "Best in the World" for using only ingredients found in Nordic countries. In 24 hours they have received 100,000 (not a typo) requests for reservations.

    http://www.theworlds50best.com/awards/1-50-winners

    Looking at the list you have to go to number 11 to find a French one.

    #2, #4, #5 and #9 are in Spain.

    Now while this is not indicative of a trend, nor determinative of a region's cuisine in general, it is certain to add gasoline to the debate between Alek and Daniel!

    For me, an arepa of pulpo con caraota negra reigns supreme! (not really, 'toy jodiendo)

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  30. I meant "West": wine on the West (French) side of the Rhine is often several times the price of wine from the East (German) side just across the border and with identical wine but for the name (I know the terroir blablabla can vary a lot in couple of kilometres).

    Now, Daniel, you are a scientist. How can you prove it?
    How do you prove real variety and not "creme de gauche a droite versus creme de droite a gauche"? How do you prove the quality of the cuisine? The taste?
    That's not possible.

    And then there is the coffee in France: oh, my God! That is NO coffee!

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  31. 1979 Boat People11:49 AM

    Have you tried Vietnamese food yet?

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  32. Boat people, Vietnamese food is another cuisine I like

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  33. Boludo Tejano5:20 PM

    1979 Boat People said...
    Have you tried Vietnamese food yet?

    Let's put it this way. Within a mile of where I live there are at least three places where I can get good value Pho my food dollar.

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  34. 1979 Boat People2:28 PM

    Firepigette and Boludo Tejano,

    I am very happy that you tried and like the food.

    Many thanks.

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