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"My good friend Gerry Dawes, the unbridled Spanish food and wine enthusiast cum expert whose writing, photography, and countless crisscrossings of the peninsula have done the most to introduce Americans—and especially American food professionals—to my country's culinary life." -- Chef-restaurateur-humanitarian José Andrés of José Andrés ThinkFoodGroup, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Oscar Presenter 2019

"Trust me everyone, I have traveled with this man, if Gerry Dawes tells you to eat somewhere it's like Bourdain, believe it!!" - - Chef Mark Kiffin, The Compound Restaurant, Canyon Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

“Spain wouldn’t be as known to Americans without the stories Gerry tells and writes.” - - Superstar Catalan Chef Ferran Adrià, elBulli

"But, for Gerry, Spain is more than just the Adriàs and (Juan Mari and Elena) Arzaks. He has connected with all manner of people working at every level and in every corner of Spain. I’m always amazed at this reach. You can step into a restaurant in the smallest town in Spain, and it turns out they know Gerry somehow. I remember one rainy night in Madrid during the 2003 Madrid Fusión congress. I wanted to go to my favorite place for patatas bravas, the ultimate tapa. But Gerry had another place in mind, and I didn’t know about it. But Gerry is always right. The potatoes at his place were amazing.” - - Chef-restaurateur-humanitarian José Andrés, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Oscar Presenter 2019; Chef-partner of Mercado Little Spain at Hudson Yards, New York 2019

"Gerry Dawes loves Spain, and he loves Spanish wines. And the man knows whereof he speaks. The country bestowed upon him its prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomia (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003, and here’s what James A. Michener said about him in Iberia: SpanishTravels and Reflections: “In his nearly thirty years of wandering the back roads of Spain, Gerry Dawes has built up a much stronger bank of experiences than I had to rely on when I started writing Iberia … His adventures far exceeded mine in both width and depth … ” I first reached out to Dawes when I was planning a culinary journey to Barcelona, Rioja, and the Basque region of Spain, in 2011. I found his website and began reading, and have been learning from him ever since. Then, when I was preparing to stage at Arzak, in 2012, Dawes offered me some sound advice: learn Basque. He is opinionated – “You must decide whether you love wine or carpentry. If you want wood in your wine, suck on a toothpick as you drink your vino.” – he lives life with passion, and he respects wine and the men and woman who make it. Here’s to Gerry!" - - The Original Drinker: Spanish Wine Master Loves a $15.99 Rosado, Hates Wood and Always Avoids Wine Bars, James Brock, Paper City, papercitymag.com


Food Arts Silver Spoon Award to Gerry Dawes


 Premio Nacional de Gastronomía - - James Beard Foundation Nomination (Best Wine Writing)
Premio Periodistíco Cava

Gerry Dawes's Article Medieval Riches of El Cid's City (About Burgos, Spain)
Front Page, The New York Times Sunday Travel Section

 About Blog Author Gerry Dawes, Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award)


4/20/2019

Alicante's Monastrell Restaurant, Dinner at Chef María José San Román Pérez´s Jewelbox Restaurant


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 Chef María José San Román Pérez, chef-owner of the Michelin-starred Restaurante Monastrell in Alicante, Spain, with her chicharónes del mar, billed as “Fish cracklings” on the English menu, actually eel cracklings.

Chef María José San Román Pérez is the chef-owner of the Michelin-starred Restaurante Monastrell, which is located at the far end of the pleasure boat port, in Alicante, Spain. María José, one of my dearest friends of more than 20 years, is a brilliant, dynamic chef who is a great student of food products and is always creating exceptional dishes--and always using the best possible products to do it. (Her la Taberna del Gourmet in Alicante is, IMHO, one of the greatest casual restaurants in the world and it is with some trepidation that I even add the word “casual,” since it is one of the best restaurants I have ever had the pleasure of eating in--now at least a dozen times.)

Chef María José San Román coming to greet us at Monastrell.

Classic ensaladilla (rusa) con aceite de cornicabra (olive variety) y bonito, classic Spanish “Russian” potato salad with cornicabra extra virgen olive oil and bonito tuna at Monastrell. 

María José showing us samples of her only partly polished (65%) rice, which retains the nutrients that are "polished" away during commercial rice processing. These samples are from three rice varieties: Bomba, Bahia and Carnoroli. 

 
Beberechos con puré de coliflor y plankton, cockles with a puree of cauliflower and plankton (Video). 
 
 This artichoke dish was simple, but brilliant. A thick-walled bowl, like a mortar bowl, was brought to the table with a glowing piece of charcoal inside. A small square metal grill had been placed on top with several pieces of tender artichokes and alongside was a green anchovy-laced sauce. I love these table-top mini-grills and am in the hunt for something similar. What a terrific dish and terrific presentation.  Video (6 secs.)

 Ventresca de atún con sal de Pinoso, tuna belly with salt from the nearby town of Pinoso.  The pink tuna belly slice is the edible part, the block of salt is not!
 
 Arroz seco socarrat con pata de vaca y garbanzos, variedad Bahia, "dry" (non-soupy) rice with cow's foot and garbanzos, rice variety, local Bahia rice, with the socarrat, or caramelized rice from the bottom of the pan, served on top.  No place does rice dishes better than in the Alicante and south of Valencia area of Spain.

Arroz meloso con atún, arroz Canaroli envejecido, risotto consistency rice with tuna, aged Canaroli rice.

 Crema helada de AOVE hojiblanca arroz de naranja, chilled crema Catalana made with hojiblanca Extra Virgen Olive Oil and rice flavored with orange, with a caramelized crème brûlée crust. This is a very Alicante inspired dish, since arroz con leche (Spanish rice pudding) is often served with a caramelized crème brûlée crust.

Nothing at Monastrell was over-the-top cocina de vanguardia.  All the dishes were riffs on traditional Spanish dishes, down with the best ingredients and presented with the imagination and seriousness of thought and research for which Chef María José San Román Pérez is known.  This one of the best meals I have ever had at Monastrell.

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  Shall deeds of Caesar or Napoleon ring
More true than Don Quixote's vapouring?
Hath winged Pegasus more nobly trod
Than Rocinante stumbling up to God?

Poem by Archer M. Huntington inscribed under the Don Quixote on his horse Rocinante bas-relief sculpture by his wife, Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington,
in the courtyard of the Hispanic Society of America’s incredible museum at 613 W. 155th Street, New York City.
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 Gastronomy Blogs

About Gerry Dawes

My good friend Gerry Dawes, the unbridled Spanish food and wine enthusiast cum expert whose writing, photography, and countless crisscrossings of the peninsula have done the most to introduce Americans—and especially American food professionals—to my country's culinary life." -- Chef-restaurateur-humanitarian José Andrés, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Oscar Presenter 2019


Gerry Dawes is the Producer and Program Host of Gerry Dawes & Friends, a weekly radio progam on Pawling Public Radio in Pawling, New York (streaming live and archived at www.pawlingpublicradio.org and at www.beatofthevalley.com.)

Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià. 


". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 
 
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

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