Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Invention of Food at the Dali Museum – St. Pete, FL

Now that Lance has a regular Monday – Friday job, we can finally do whatever we want together on the weekends!  Last week, we took a bike ride around Snell Isle in St. Pete down to the Dali Museum.  They currently have an exhibit running called “The Invention of Food.”  It celebrates the dishes of world renown chef Ferran Adria, whose Michelin 3-star restaurant, El Bulli, was only a few miles from Dali’s home in Spain. 

According to the Michelin guide, one star signifies "a very good restaurant", two stars are "excellent cooking that is worth a detour", and three stars mean "exceptional cuisine that is worth a special journey". The listing of starred restaurants is updated once a year.

His dishes look like works of art themselves, many of them inspired by nature.  One wall had a constantly changing collage of photos with pictures of his creations.  Every night, El Bulli served a new combination of dishes, with 30-50 courses at each meal.   

2 million people a year would attempt to get reservations, but they only allowed 8,000 diners.  For a better idea of the kinds of outrageous foods served, check out this post by the Amateur Gourmet – one of the few who was lucky enough to experience this restaurant.  Despite the meals being £240 (or about $300) per person, the restaurant still was not profitable, so they shut their doors in 2011.

Seven sold-out “immersion dinners” were held in conjunction with the Dali exhibit.  Each was prepared by top chefs as experiential homage to Ferran Adria. This included Chef Michael Mina of FarmTable Kitchen at Locale Market, Chef Jeremy Duclut of Cassis American Brasserie, Chef Tyson Grant of Parkshore Grill, Chef Greg Baker of The Refinery and Fodder & Shine, Chef Fabrizio Aielli of Sea Salt, Chef Marty Blitz of Mise en Place, and Chef Jeannie Pierola of edison: food + drink lab

We unfortunately did not attend any of the immersion dinners, but they do offer samples of pata negra ham at the Dali museum exhibit – they feet a pig a diet exclusively of acorns, then age the meat for four years.  It was a small sliver, but I was surprised how much flavor was in that tiny bite.  I can imagine a full dinner at El Bulli would have been a pretty amazing experience if that’s any indication of the flavors you’d taste. 

If you haven’t been to the Dali Museum before, it’s worth going since you can view both the Dali pieces and this temporary exhibit. 

The Invention of Food runs through November 27th at the Dali Museum, located at 1 Dali Blvd, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.  They have special hours for the week of Thanksgiving, so check out their website before you visit.  

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