I'm a recent newcomer to Mark Bittman, but I've quickly become a fan. While I was home in Massachusetts this past weekend, my dad turned to The Best Recipes in the World on the local PBS station for some background entertainment while we engaged in one of our many heated Scrabble battles (yes, we are one of those families). But soon enough, the game took a back seat to watching Bittman, who devoted an entire episode to what's generally referred to as the best restaurant in the world: El Bulli.
I first heard of El Bulli when I read Clotilde's amazing account of her six-hour dinner there over at Chocolate & Zucchini. I don't think I'd even heard the term molecular gastronomy yet, but there it was in all its glory. And on Saturday evening, I watched in amazement as Bittman learned from chef Ferrán Adriá how he makes his spherical olives and Parmesan "air."
I have to say, I'm a real sucker for Bittman's everyman personality. Even when he stands next to and converses with some of the best chefs in the world, there's something about him that makes me think he could show up at my apartment at any moment and start raiding my fridge. His cooking videos on the New York Times website are casual and refreshingly unpolished, and as if I needed further incentive to enjoy those anti-Food Network stylings, the New York Times posted one of his quirkiest videos to date today.
May I take a moment to share with you roasted tomato soup, featuring Mark Bittman and a very special friend. What I would give to sit down for dinner with this guy.