Video storyteller Liza de Guia goes into the basement of Back Forty restaurant in New York City to watch Shanna Pacifico, the chef de cuisine & butcher, break down a steer. Shanna speaks about her love of butchering and the benefits of using the whole animal.
Often on weekend days, I like to take long walks without a destination in mind. I wander until I’m hungry and try to happen upon a place. Sobakoh was just that place. Tiny, just a few seats, and filled with Japanese families. But what really drew me in was seeing the soba noodles made fresh, the old fashioned way. Owner Hiromitsu Takahashi trained in Japan to become a soba master. Instead of using a machine, he cuts the dough with a traditional soba kiri cleaver (soba kiri literally translates to buckwheat noodle slice). All day long, he makes noodles in a wooden booth with a glass wall overlooking East 5th Street. It’s an amazing piece of marketing! People wander by, watch him, and most can’t resist going in to try his creations. Luckily, I had a Flip camera on me. I was completely memorized by his zen approach. It’s what actors call “being in the zone.” Watch him combine athleticism, grace, and a touch of theatrics.
One of my favorite places to visit in Barcelona is the candy store, Papabubble. Every day, they sculpt sugar into tiny multi-colored beads that resemble Venetian glass, but taste a whole lot better. Here is a video I made after my last visit in September:
In an hour, I will be heading to the airport to fly to Barcelona, Spain. This will be my third trip in three years. As anyone who has ever been there knows, it’s a great, vibrant city. Beautiful architecture, temperate weather, friendly people, and small enough to walk everywhere. All nice attributes, but what really excites me about visiting Spain is the food.
I live in New York City, no slouch in the food arena. But, somehow food tastes different in Europe. A peach tastes like you imagine a peach to taste. Often, food here in the states tastes bland to me. I buy at the greenmarket, but nothing ever has the same zing.
Which leads me to wonder, which city has the best food in the world? We will be heading north to San Sebastian, which has more Michelin-starred restaurants per capita than in any other city in the world.
In January, the Wall Street Journal wrote an article about Mexico City with the title: “The World’s Greatest Food City?” The Guardian wrote an article in July, declaring “Osaka – the world’s greatest food city.” U.S. food magazine rates Tokyo as having the best food, with Barcelona coming in second.
I would like to open this debate and hear from you. It’s time for me to hit the road, but I will weigh in with my thoughts upon return.