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July 03, 2006


I think I just made a critical error.

I just finished watching Bourdain's special on Ferran Adriá and El Bulli. This is a really, really big problem. My soul is now officially up for sale. If somebody told me they could get me in tomorrow night, I'd find some way to get there.

I have always been suspicious of the molecular gastronomy movement. But what this special did was convince me that Adriá is about the food. The process, as nutty as it seems, is still simply the means. This goes way beyond creative and inventive. What Adriá is doing now seems much, much bigger to me, and I'm suddenly consumed by a need to see it for myself.

Soooo... anybody got an in?


Do you have an American Express card? Their concierge service can frequently line up hard-to-get reservations. About a year ago, when a friend and I went to Paris, we got reservations for several "sorry, you need three months lead time" places (Jules Verne, Les Ambassadeurs, Le Grand Vefour) using her American Express concierge service. It's a place to start, anyway.

Bon chance.

Once upon a time, but no longer. Though the more I read, the more I get the sense that it take something on the order of a papal decree. For 2006, they purportedly received 300,000 reservation requests for 8,000 seats... all within the first week of opening reservations for the year.

I did write, and got a very polite "sorry". Sounds like mid-October is the time to write and hope for the best for 2007.

So, any chance they have a policy like Alinea's, where you can get on a waiting list and be notified if someone cancels? (With a one-year wait, someone must cancel.) Of course, you'd have to be pretty flexible, as far as jumping on a plane.

I did check several sites, and the best advice anyone had was just tell them you'll accept anything in the coming year, and take what you get, rather than requestion specific dates. And instead of sending an e-mail, when reservations reopen, consider phoning. It takes a lot longer to plough through 300,000 e-mails than it does to answer one phone call. It's worth a try, anyway.

And good luck. I'll look forward to the report when you return.

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