So much for being foodies, we like to take note of our dining experiences for future references and one thing that we look forward to when we are dining out is the worthiness of each penny we spend on food. It is such a great feeling to leave the restaurant fully satisfied with what you have ordered. We are now more adventurous when it comes to food tripping (if you haven’t done it, I seriously recommend it…don’t worry – it’s legal), something that most of us will really enjoy doing from time to time. While it is said that the best foods in town are pricey, there are some that gives us a wild gastronomic adventure while in budget.
I recently heard that the new edition of Esquire Spain will feature Ferran AdriÃ in a “scratch and sniff” special issue. This got me thinking about the restaurants that I would love to preview in this manner. Let’s kick off my list with the world’s best restaurants:
Restaurant Noma, Denmark. Headed by Chef Rene Redzepi, Restaurant Noma, a two-star Michelin awardee is named the World’s Best Restaurant two years in a row. This restaurant boasts of their recreation and own interpretation of the Nordic cuisine. They take pride in using seasonal and local ingredients that are not found or used outside the Nordic region. Their flawless and extraordinary execution and presentation of their in house dishes make the restaurant a favorite among gourmets and international foodies. Another remarkable thing that makes Restaurant Noma’s famous is the fact that they are making dishes from closely available ingredients, paying homage to sea and soil, reminding us of our food resources. Foodies around the globe will surely love the very earthly and wild gastronomic experience they will have when they dine in at Restaurant Noma. I think this issue would smell like wet dirt in the morning to signify the focus on local cuisine.
Alinea, Chicago, USA. Alinea is famous for creating dishes with unlikely combination in flavors that foodies would not dare to miss. They recreate, reconstruct, and revolutionize the way we perceive food with the execution and unique presentation of their dishes. Chef Grant Achatz, head chef of Alinea, is very imaginative and creative with his masterpieces, something that makes his restaurant uniquely attractive for local and international foodies. Your palate will never get bored with this restaurant as they are constantly changing their menus, letting the diners feel like they’re taking on a journey with the different sets of menus they present. It’s like taking a tour around the world in one comfortable sitting. Everything about Alinea spells “very special,”from their very comfortable interiors to their playful and uniquely presented dishes, your eyes will surely feast on mouth-watering treats, Chef Grant Achatz and the rest of the Alinea staff prepares for you. This issue would smell salty, like oysters in the ocean clean, fresh and modern.
Osteria Francescana Restaurant, Italy. Modena’s pride, Osteria Francescana, owned and run by Chef Massimo Bottura, was a two Michelin star awardee and ranked 6th on the World’s Best Restaurant. This Italian restaurant takes pride in re-creating traditional Emilia-Romagna dishes that will keep the palates guessing and exceed its gastronomic expectations. The unusual blend of flavors and ingredient combinations is to be expected when you are thinking of dining at Osteria Francescana. Their dishes are full of surprises. Great example is a dish where raw prawns and citari (a local product similar
to seabass) with a smokey feel are sealed inside an iced puddle of oyster juice where diners need to crack open. Tradition meets fantasy ” this is the trademark of Osteria Francescana where your stomach will surely be in for a giddy appetite adventure treat ofa lifetime. This one would smell like mortadella, that classic Italian meat that makes me salivate with every whiff.
D.O.M., Brazil. Chef Alex Atala, head of this award-winning Brazilian restaurant makes sure that his restaurant is nothing like any other restaurants in the region. Brazil is known for having the wildest native ingredients and D.O.M. takes it seriously. The Chef also uses Amazonian herbs for his recipes, turning ordinary cuisines into extraordinarily special dishes. Even some of the world’s most famous chefs have been in D.O.M., asking where to get the ingredients they use for their dishes. But one thing that Chef Alex Atala believes in is the preservation of the natural wonders of Brazil. So the ingredients used in his recipes are not readily-available in the market, thus, making his dishes have that distinctive character, flavor, aroma, texture, and taste. The restaurant strikes a balance between the financial aspect and the remarkably delectable authentic Brazilian dishes that one will savor and remember for the rest of his/her life. The D.O.M. issue would be scented like coconuts and manioc to represent the culture of the country.
Per Se, New York. Undeniably one of New York’s “go-to”restaurants, Per Se, is the urban interpretation of The French Laundry, according to its owner Chef Thomas Keller, who also runs The French Laundry in California. Chef Keller does it to a point that the menus constantly differ from each other. Dishes are re-introduced but continuously refined to give new flavors and twists to some of the local in-house favorites. They also have two nine-course, prix-fix menus, one for the vegetarians and one according to the chef’s own choice dishes. Aside from having an incredible menu, they were also praised by critics and guests for their outstanding service and great presentation of the dishes. Expect nothing but excellence from this top New York restaurant. At Per Se, you must prepare yourselves for a very penny-worth experience, where great dining experience is never too pricey for your own good. Per Se would smell of radishes, leeks and English peas after my favorite dish from my last visit there.
There are also restaurants that I would never (EVER) want to experience via “Scratch n’ Sniff.” I’ve had enough experience with their “aroma” just walking past.
White Castle. White Castle has been knocking on our doors and invading our nostrils for 90 years now. They are not the world’s first fast food chain, but they certainly were the first to serve small, square-shaped hamburgers which they call “sliders.”All these years, they consistently armed themselves with different marketing ideas, offering a 30-burger box and burger-scented candles to attract customers. None of them would entice me to try out one of their Murder Burgers. There is a reason for their nickname after all.
Burger King. One of the world’s biggest fast food chains is certainly no newbie in serving our fast food staples. Burger King has evolved from serving simple burgers with fries and soda to making varieties of burger choices for their patrons. One of
their famous products is the Whopper. The Whopper is their signature hamburger: a whopping quarter pound grilled patty, mayonnaise, lettuce, pickles, tomato, ketchup and onion and sandwiched between sesame seed buns. I definitely do not want to “sniff” this out…otherwise I would have bought the Burger King cologne: Flame.
McDonald’s. There is no person in the world who is not familiar with this Fast Food behemoth. With over 31,000 restaurants and over 58 million customers daily, worldwide, McDonald’s is certainly a favorite among fast food patrons and the foe of foodies, animal activist, environmentalist (the list goes on). This year, with the revamp on their American-based restaurants, they are trying to make Ronald McDonald (the mascot) more visible to their patrons, especially kids. But they should think about mellowing down his image. Just like most clowns, he can freak people out. The day a magazine pops up at my doorstep that smells like week old grease and GMO chicken comes into my home is the day I hide from the world.
One chain I would love to smell?
Baskin-Robbins. Who does not love ice cream and milk shakes and ice cream cake? I know I do. This ice cream parlor has been a favorite of not only kids but for adults too. One of my favorite memories of childhood is the iconic Ice Cream Cake – vanilla and chocolate with crunchies in the middle. If they offered a scratch n’ sniff, I think I’d indulge in a little whiff.