Thursday, February 17, 2011

New Frontiers, Fabulous Food

Travelling with 3 chefs is not for wimps. First of all these are hearty consumers of food and drink, they have opinions, about food for sure and just about everything else: politics, music, shoes, Detroit, sex, art, fire building, what's clean and what's not, did I say shoes? I'm just happy to taste a little, stay upright, see the full moon rise over the mountains and the big dipper moving to it's spring-time position in the northern hemisphere. I'm in Spain, my amigos are constantly amusing and the Jeff Koon's dog sculpture in front of the spectacular Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is blooming with pansies. That Bilbao used to be an industrial power that waned and turned to art for its revival makes me hopeful all over again for Detroit and these creative, hard-working people whose opinions aren't necessarily the same but agree on what it means to make a good life in Detroit. In the end the pizza-dough wouldn't behave and refused to cook in the picture-perfect wood-fired oven. Chef Mark from Wolfgang Puck Detroit proclaimed he might not cook at all and it was well-marbled Molly (her name de guerre) that patiently got the fire burning and the chicken cooked perfectly. The cheap wine had everybody laughing, so all is bueno. Dave scored reservations for a meal that the newly-arrived Mark proclaimed awesome. We got to meet chef Victor Arguinzoniz and see his immaculate kitchen with all those grills at his restaurant Etxebarri. His sous chef came out to explain in his Florida accent what made the menu that included smoked goat butter and shaved truffles, grilled oyster, local-caught crab, impossibly tiny baby octopuses, a grilled egg-yolk with purple potato puree and more truffles, grouper and a rare grilled ribeye plus smoked ice cream and all this done at different temperatures, so special. No sooner had the food been consumed when we were back to menu planning and the grocery store, refueling the refrigerator. We got cooks and seriously particular eaters, empty wine bottles, and dishes to keep clean. The internet is streaming constant Motown R&B, because we always bring ourselves whenever we go and the commentary on the latest controversial Detroit fundraising for art, "Robot Cop" is being followed closely. We can't seem to stop facebooking, blogging, emailing and connecting to our home bases, but tomorrow we are looking forward to exploring the ancient town of San Sebastian and if I can get up before lunch, I'm going to make another solo hike down the rocky slope to marvel at the big waves that cut the rocky cliffs and the view from which daring Spanish explorers imagined a new world that we simply call home. In our own way each of us is looking at a new frontier that many also call impossible and imagining great things to come.

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