This is actually my first time in Contra which I been wanting to visit for a long time. I truly love the the concept and the way they change their menu. The way they update their menu and use of ingredients is a true statement of the quality of cooks that they are. The menu is unpretentious and delicious. A Very casual setting but with great flavors and an unbeatable price. A true value in one of the most competitive cities in the world.
This is my 5th meal at Pineapple & Pearls and every time is just gets better and better. Loving how now they are brining a lot of table side presentations to the table. Every time I have visited the menu is almost completely new which show how much they push to create new dishes. Truly spectacular experience.
Somms Uncorked, a ‘Wine Dinner’ held at Jaleo Crystal City featuring dishes of Chef Jose Andres, each one paired with two wines from Andy Myers (Master Sommelier and Wine Director of Think Food Group) and Eric Segelbaum (Advanced Sommelier and Wine Director for Starr Restaurant Group)
2017 was a truly amazing year. Over 90 plane rides, 7 countries and I can not even count how many cities or restaurants I was able to experience. I eat more than what I can write, that is for sure.
Here is a list, month by month, about it’s highlight experience.
MAIDO, Lima – Peru
The first month of the year took me home, I was able to be in Lima three times this year and able dine multiple times at many restaurants. I visited Maido 3 times this year and each experience was truly outstanding. No wonder they were recently selected as the Best Restaurant in Latin America.
The tasting menu is truly a masterpiece that combines Peruvian and Japanese techniques into something you will never forget. Get ready to give Nikkei cuisine a place in your heart.
PER SE, New York City – USA
New York City is 3 hours away from my current location which made it the city I visited the most this year (10 times). Per Se has become a second home to me. It truly feels like family every-time I go back. This year I was lucky to have four meals at Per Se and each of them was truly superb. For me, Per Se is the highest expression of fine dining in the US.
CENTRAL – Lima – Peru
Central is currently the most iconic restaurant in Peru. Led by Virgilio Martinez and Pia Leon, Central is a study of Peruvian ingredients by altitudes in every region of the country. A truly unique and risky format, but executed to perfection.
I was able to visit Central 3 times this year and every time the menu was very different with very new ingredients but masterfully put together discovering new flavors and textures.
BRAE – Birregurra – Australia
April took me to the other side of the globe and landed in Australia, where the gastronomic and wine scene is playing a major role in the country and Brae was a clear example of the marvellous culinary experience they have to offer.
Just 90 minutes away from Melbourne, Chef dan Hunter is offering one of the best menus I have tasted this year, respecting the land around and true to its products and seasons. Brae is worth every minute of the ride.
NOMA, Tulum – Mexico
Noma, Rene Redzepi’s masterpiece moved to Mexico for 7 weeks this past May to explore and lear from Yucatan’s ingredients and farmers. The result? A brand new restaurant that left its footprints for ever in Tulum’s economy and food industry by creating not only more jobs but systems for farmers and craftsmen around the Yucatan Peninsula.
Noma is getting ready to open in their new location in Copenhagen in 2018 and I can not wait to see what Rene have for us.
ALINEA, Chicago – USA
June took me back to Chicago, a city I visited 7 times this year. The culinary scene in Chicago is one of the highlights of the US right now and Grant Achatz is responsible of propelling this.
Alinea is his maximum expression with an experience that is not only innovative but also interactive. Pushing the boundaries of what a restaurant can be. My two times this year at The Gallery has been truly memorable.
MARMALADE, San Juan – Puerto Rico
July took me for the second time to Puerto Rico, where I used to live for 3 years. Marmalade is a special place for me. Not only the food is truly super delicious, but Chef Peter has an unmeasurable passion for hospitality.
The ‘Little White Bean Soup’ is one of the best dishes I have ever tasted. Period.
MINIBAR BY JOSE ANDRES, Washington DC – USA
Washington DC dining scene has grown in the past few years quite a bit. Last time I sat at Minibar was in August, the third time this year. It is incredible to see what the guest experience from the other side. The way the experience has evolved is truly spectacular.
Minibar is truly the best Chef counter I have sat in his year. Playful, imaginative, fun and delicious. It is truly a show not to be missed in the Capital of the USA.
NEXT (THE WORLD’S 50 BEST), Chicago – USA
September took me back to Chicago once more, this time for Alinea’s sister restaurant, NEXT, which put one of the best menus ‘ever’ this year. A Collection of dishes from restaurants in the Worlds 50 Best List. What a Challenge!
THE FAT DUCK, Bray – United Kingdom
October took me to United Kingdom and to scratch off a restaurant from my bucket list. The Fat Duck. Heston Blumenthal culinary temple that pioneered the used of emotions as an ingredient philosophy as well as a number of modern techniques widely used today.
The menu is a journey that takes you back in time. The Fat Duck is probably the best experience I have had this year. A truly transformative event.
ASTRID & GASTON, Lima – Peru
November took me for the third time to Lima and to Gaston Acurio’s iconic restaurant for the third time this year as well. The menu showcases the mixture of Peruvian culture with those around the world in a magnificent tasting menu called ‘Lima Love’.
PUJOL (TACO OMAKASE), Mexico City – Mexico
December took me back to Mexico for the 5th time this year. Chef Enrique Olvera’s recently relocated PUJOL was the major highlight of this trip. The Taco Omakase counter where 9 different taco preparations are placed in front of you was so delicious I have done it two times this year already.
Hope you all have an amazing 2018 full of health, travels, and good food!
December 17th, 2017
Chef Tom Cunanan
Bad Saint, the Filipino restaurant led by Tom Cunanan unveiled a new ‘holiday’ menu. A Pre Fixe / Tasting of 7 courses which will run until January 8 (However, I truly hope they keep the tasting format).
Two choices: Omnivore and Vegetarian. Anyone you choose, will leave you with a great understanding of his style and what the new Filipino cuisine has to offer.
As usual, no reservations, so lines form outside well ahead before doors open. Warm service, great ambiance, and delicious food (that probably you have never had before) is the great reward for your patience.
Come hungry …
Cosme is a restaurant in New York City’s Flatiron District serving contemporary Mexican-inspired cuisine. World-renowned Chef Enrique Olvera and his team create dishes rooted in Mexican flavors and traditions, while also celebrating local and seasonal ingredients from the Hudson Valley and surrounding region. Cosme’s beverage program focuses on artisanal spirits and mirrors its cuisine, letting the high quality ingredients shine.
A meal at the dining room or at the bar is sure to delivery an amazing and unique experience.
Sushi Ginza Onodera, whose NYC outpost is led by Chef Masaki Saito, was recently elevated to the exclusive club of 2 michelin stars making them the only sushi restaurant in the USA in that category (only Masa holds the almost unattainable 3 stars).
With three different menus for lunch ($100, $130, $150) and two for dinner ($300 & $400), Sushi Ginza Onodera exceeds expectations in every single bite.
Many… many years ago I had my first experience at Per Se when I visited New York for a couple of days. Per Se was one of my first fine dining restaurants ever, and I was very intimidated and excited at the same time. Holding 3 stars from the prestigious Michelin Guide and 4 stars from the New York Times (at that time) it was a culinary adventure. Many years have past, and after over half a dozen of visits, I consider Per Se the best example of ‘Fine Dining’ in the USA.
Pictures of my last meal at Per Se (Salon). Worth every single moment.