I wouldn't mind having Bazaar chef Jose Andres as my tour guide in Spain. Unfortunately, he hasn't invited me. But I was invited to the SLS rooftop party and Bazaar dinner for the Luxury Collection hotels Spain guidebook of art, culture and food from Assouline publishing, with recommendations from Andres. Each of Assouline's destination guides has an expert host, like Mario Batali for Italy, as well as an enticing list of all the Luxury Collection hotels from Phuket to Peru.
Also included are cocktails themed to various locations from Greg Seider, the farm-to-glass mixologist who runs Summit in New York. Seider knows how to have a good time, to say the least, so our end of the table was infused with a non-stop parade of jamon iberico and a double dose of New York suggestively snarky banter. We talked with Seider about cinnamon-infused agave, the best bourbons, and cocktails with sun-dried tomatoes while 20 or so wonderful tastes unfurled from Andres' kitchen. Among the highlights:
- A delicate eel taco enfolded in a tortilla-thin cucumber slice garnished with chicharron
- tuna ceviche and avocado roll with coconut dressing -- it sounds like something nearly any restaurant would offer, but the silky slices of avocado wrapped around top-quality tuna elevated the roll way above the usual sushi bar fare
- Norwegian lobster - a rectangle of perfectly-cooked lobster on a bed of briny seaweed, paired with a shooter of creamy, deeply ocean-flavored lobster essence; and
- Papas canarias -- a favorite nearly everyone at the dinner, the pequeno potatoes are cooked until a salt crust forms on their skins, then dipped into a tart mojo verde sauce. I'm going to try the recipe for these in Jose Andres great-looking "Made in Spain" cookbook which is almost all real, hearty Spanish food with nary a glimpse of lemon air.
|Not Your Everyday Caprese flavors popped with liquid mozzarella|
|salt-crusted papas canarias|