Iceland was the perfect vacation for me, we work so hard that we like to play hard. It is all cool lava rainforest moss, with mystical hot water springs. The last picture is of the Blue Lagoon and once we went there I basically just spent the rest of the time in the peaceful milky blue hot water. It was the most peaceful experience of my life sitting on a lava rock in the lagoon with creamy white silica mud all over me. It was dead silent with natures elements all around you from sun to foggy wind and rain but you are safe and warm in the silent lagoon. With all of the fog you feel as if you are alone except for the occasional bird call. We stayed in one of the 25 rooms at the lagoon site because I wanted to have as much of that time as possible. We ate some mushrooms and floated in the private lagoon all day and watched the sun set it was magic.
The hot dogs are the best in Iceland and everything in the pubs is wool, leather and fur, it is very surreal like another planet. I balled out and bought a lot of sheep skin and wool and the whole time I was there I slept of a bed of Icelandic sheep skins draped in wool. Oh yeah and we tried to have a picnic and lay on the moss covered lava but the wind was whipping so fast that we retreated back to the hot lagoon.
Oil burns happen in a kitchen sometimes. Man up and get back to work.
Winter is coming again soon and I am catching up on some writing now before the winter rush. I am realizing that I have left a lot out in the last 3 years. I found this excerpt from last winter that I never posted.
“Ever since I moved back to Saskatoon I have been feeling a sense of extreme freedom like I am in some sort of wild west. I have gotten my gun license and have been shooting and butchering like never before. I go out in the cold dressed in leather and mink and it is so surreal like a silent snowy desert where possibilities are endless. There is no bad weather here only bad clothing. There is no where else I would rather live.”
I still feel this way and although I am enjoying the last month of summer and this beautiful harvest season I am not dreading the winter. I haven’t written much since the restaurant has been open. When I was working for other people I would learn so much through my mistakes and I would write about it, but having my own restaurant I am afraid to tell my mistakes. Now that is has been three years I have had so many insane learning experiences that I am sad I did not document them. All I can do is start from here with a wealth of perspective and no fear in heart.
We went out for many coursed lunches, after a while instead of saying, “are you ready for lunch?” We began saying, “are you ready for 5 hours of fish?”
This place was the best, I can’t remember the name of it but the room was very modest and it was in a basement. All of the wines were by the bottle and they had and incredible cellar of white wines, we enjoyed them so much.
The seafood at this place was the best we had in Spain. The gooseneck barnicles were my favourite, but then my camera died.
The final course was a whole flat fish cooked in lemon and brown butter, so simple but so good. We picked all of the sticky bits off of it until it was just bones.
*I didn’t take as many pictures of this trip as I would have liked because I had a new camera that wasn’t easy for me to use. I think I am going to get a new iPhone and use the camera on that from now on.
I don’t even know what to say about all of this, it was overwhelmingly good. As one of the top restaurants in the world at Mugaritz it is easy to see the quality of food, service and wine. They knew that Bryan worked at Hawksworth and that we were all chefs from Canada. Apparently part of being the best is googleing the names of all of your guests.
All of the tables in the room were very spread out and the room was very modest but absolutely beautiful. For the second course they asked us if we would like to see the kitchen and meet the chefs. I was so happy, the amazingly professional chef showed us all of the stations in the gleaming kitchen and she explained how the menu is comprised. Then suddenly one of the cooks was offering us the best thing ever, a pigs blood and foie macaron. The cooks were such good hosts and handed us little serving napkins with our macaron, and as soon as we popped them into our mouths another cook was their to collect the napkins from our hands, so their was never an awkward moment. The macaron fascinated me! It was made with pigs blood instead of egg whites, they explained that the blood acts the same as the whites, and the foie custard was sweet, and savoury. It was amazing.
Also a side note, the bathrooms had black toilet paper, and individually wrapped ‘Mugaritz’ toothbrushes and toothpaste.
We had many courses and many pairings, two of which were sherry and two of which were sake. The unfiltered sake was paired with the hake and tiger nut course and was an exquisite pairing.
Anna and I were laughing very loudly at the end and of the meal and the guys said we were to drunk so we went outside and explored the gardens. I found a toad and rolled in some goose poop. When we were getting in the cab and Bryan asked the cab driver to drive us to old town and he didn’t know what Bryan was saying, I leaned over the seat and said “OOOOOLLLLLD TOOOOOWWWWWNNNNNN!” Everyone looked at me shocked and then Kyle said, “Oh, he can hear you. He just doesn’t speak english.” I was a mess after those pairings…but they were so good and everything was above and beyond.