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BoTic (near Girona, Michelin 1 Star)

The restaurant was located on the side of a freeway, about 30 minutes away from Girona.

Catalan sausage with bread and tomato. The tomato was dried and pressed into a fruit loop like consistency, with a piece of Catalan sausage sandwiched in between--- a play on a classic appetizer combo.

Liquid ravioli of Bloody Mary. On first bite, the Bloody Mary exploded out of the ravioli and mixed with the extra virgin olive oil. The two liquids had slightly different viscosity, adding textural complexity, and their flavors were a match made in heaven.

Assorted crisp. From the top: sunflower seeds, Parmesan cheese and banana with curry. The intense flavors were out-of-proportion to the physical airiness of the crackers--- every bite was a "wow."

Martini with olives. A play on the classic cocktail: the "olive" was frozen gin and vermouth, while the "martini" was an olive puree.

Transparent gazpacho with tomato ice cream. The transparent gazpacho was in fact "tomato water," a new darling of chefs around the world in recent years. Both the gazpacho and ice cream were served cold, and had a clean, intense tomato flavor.

Pumpkin cream with lobster and idiazabal raviolis. Lobster bits were incorporated into the terrine and idiazabal is an unpasteurized sheep cheese from the Basque region.

Grilled octopus with asparagus and romesco sauce. This dish came with a translucent cover and I was suspicious that something deviously clever was lurking beneath. When the cover was taken away, a plume of smoke came gushing out--- smoke captured when the octopus was being grilled. The octopus tentacles were very thick, but were kept moist and non-rubbery. The asparagus sauce added yet another level of smokiness.

Foie texture. The foie gras was presented in 3 ways: moose, shaving and crumble. While all 3 were interesting in their own rights, the shaving was the most outstanding hands-down. The shavings were so thin that they melted and formed a coating the moment they touched my tongue, and since they were flat with a large surface area, the resulting burst of flavor was especially memorable. Littered around the plate somewhat subtly were "islands" of sweet complementary flavors, including raspberry, lemon, orange and figs.

San Pierre with barnacles, saffron and mushrooms. This dish, from the San Pierre fillet to the mushrooms to the barnacles, literally embodied a taste of the sea, a gustatory experience difficult to describe--- think seawater without any unpleasant fishiness. The hints of saffron from the clear sauce added elegance to the rawness, almost like a culinary Beauty and the Beast.

Upclose shot of a barnacle, which tasted like seawater (in a weirdly pleasant way) and had the same texture as the chanterelle mushrooms right next to it.

Marmite mead with mushrooms and quail eggs. I never had marmite before, which was a savory vegetarian spread. Not knowing what to expect, my first impression of the marmite was that it reminded me of spam. Just as I was about to write off the dish as an expensive version of spam, I poked the quail eggs and out flowed a stream of yolk. The yolk, when combined with the marmite, became exceptionally rich and savory,  instantly elevating this dish to Michelin-1-star standard.

Chocolate suprise with baileys cappuccino.

I mentioned in previous posts that I liked dining at restaurants owned by young chefs because they are usually hungry and ambitious. Case in point: we visited BoTic on a Sunday night, when most other restaurants were closed for the day. Albert Sastregener i Surroca, the chef, even took the time to speak to us, sign our menus and take a picture with us. BoTic is certainly a hidden gem and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for reasonably-priced food made with love and dedication.

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