César Ramirez, a longtime protégé of David Bouley's, is busy manning the month-old kitchen at Bar Blanc, where he makes things like confit of baby pig with chanterelles, brussels sprouts, and natural jus with cinnamon star anise and orange. We sprung the question of his last meal recently, and he asked for some time to think about it. Not much time—he called back five minutes later with some rich memories.
I decided you have to leave with something that brings you back to the beginning, like a dish I grew up with: barbacoa. It's a goat, cooked in the ground for 24 hours. An amazing dish. Every time I smell lamb, it reminds me of this. I grew up in Mexico—well, I was born in Mexico; I grew up in Chicago.
How old were you when you left? I left Mexico when I was four years old, but I couldn't forget this food. Do you know how it's done? With this charcoal like iron, so it stays hot, and banana leaves. The hole is covered with plywood.
Isn't this where the word "barbecue" comes from? It is sort of similar to barbecueing, and the word is close . . .More »