Despaña, our favorite spot for a café bonbon (a thick, caramel-like coffee made with condensed milk) and an extravagant sandwich, has been missing one thing until recently — churros, the Spanish doughnuts that Madrileños eat at the bar while playing One-Armed Bandits. Maybe in response to our threats to picket the place unless they added churros to the takeout menu, they're now serving four of them swaddled in paper for $5, or two of them with chocolate a la taza (a small cup of thick hot chocolate) for $3.50. The pre-fried, frozen Casimiro churros are also available by the box ($15) should you want to bake them at home.
The nominations for the James Beard Foundation Awards, the Oscars of the restaurant industry, will be announced Monday morning. We’ll report on that as it happens, but for now, here are picks for the main categories from Adam Platt, Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld, and Josh Ozersky. Our choices are admittedly New York–centric (the awards go to restaurants across the country), but the ceremony is held here, and the city always looms large in the proceedings.
New York Magazine has gone Spain-crazy this week. Adam Platt sates his bottomless hunger at Boqueria, and Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld interview Spain's most illustrious chef, Ferran Adrià of El Bulli. Let Grub Street pile on, then, with talk of the secret society of Spanish pork.
This society may be unofficial, but we belong to it. It is made of men and women who have tasted the meat of the celebrated pata negra, or black-foot pig, and will do anything for more. "Once you taste ibérico, you can't compare it to anything else," Bar Jamón chef Andy Nusser has said. The society's holy grail, though, remains tantalizingly out of reach for Americans even ones with a deep affinity for Spain.