For most of us, sitting down to a multi-course dinner prepared by a famed chef is a special occasion. Very special.
But there are some parts of the world where premium food and wine are such essential parts of daily life that it’s not unusual to be treated to such an experience every day - without going broke in the process.
Take San Sebastián, on northern Spain’s Bay of Biscay coast, just 20 kilometers from France.
Known as Donostia in the Basque tongue, the city says it has more Michelin stars (a total of 16) per square meter than any other place in the world.
Read the full story on CNN Travel: "San Sebastian's amazing Michelin street dining"
For dining devotees and fans of innovative cuisine, a reservation at chef Ferran Adria's elBulli restaurant in Roses, Spain is something of a Holy Grail. It's said that there are several million requests annually for the restaurant's 8,000 seats during their dining season - and even those are no longer available.
On July 30th 2011 elBulli - often cited as one of the world's best restaurants - will cease to serve the dining public and instead begin a transformation into a "creativity center" and "think-tank for creative cuisine and gastronomy" which will open in 2014.
For her book The Sorcerer's Apprentices, journalist Lisa Abend spent a season in the kitchen with Adria and his team of chefs and stagiaires to explore and document the dedication, innovation, bravado, sweat and tears it takes to craft the meal of a lifetime.
We spoke with Adria and Abend about process, creativity, fear and what's coming up next.
Madrid, Spain (CNN) - Authorities on Thursday ordered the closure of a restaurant for repeatedly violating the nation's tough new anti-smoking law, the first such shutdown in Spain, officials told CNN.
The owner of the restaurant - El Asador Guadalmina near the popular southern Mediterranean resort of Marbella - earlier this week defiantly told Spanish media he would not pay a nearly $200,000 fine for allowing clients to smoke in his locale, despite the new law which prohibits smoking in all indoor bars and restaurants.
A health inspector accompanied by local police was to go to the restaurant later Thursday to inform the owner of the closure order and shut the establishment, a spokeswoman for the Andalusia regional government health department told CNN.
Read the rest of "Spain shutting down restaurant for defying smoking ban" on CNN World.
5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.
Whether you're jetting off to Barcelona this weekend (because seriously, who isn't?) or planning your first or thirty-first visit, you're going to need your energy for strolling Las Ramblas or climbing the spiral staircase of the Sagrada Família. (Life! It's just so hard sometimes.)
Y'know a great way to get that energy? Eating - and eating well.
Marc Vidal is the executive chef of Boqueria Restaurant in New York City. Before working under the likes of Ferran Adrià, Alain Passard and Alain Ducasse, Vidal, a Barcelona native, learned to cook at his family's restaurant and earned two culinary degrees in the City of Counts. Let's just say he knows the city like the back of his spatula. (We'll be here all week, try the jamón.)
Five Off-the-Beaten Path Eateries in Barcelona: Marc Vidal