What are Elizabeth Falkner's favorite cities?
I can tell you right now that I love San Francisco. It's just a beautiful city to just be in. I think that the best thing about it is just the environment itself. If you walk outside, even if it's foggy or sunny, it's just a gorgeous place to live and it's probably my favorite thing about the city. California is a pretty nice place to live. It's true. It's just great weather all the time, basically. But it's kind of boring too, that way.
I'm crazy about New York and I don't know who isn't, really. There's just so much to see there and it's always evolving and changing. There's so many cool restaurants and people take the restaurant business really seriously there, too. There's always so much to discover there. It's great.
And then my other favorite is Barcelona. That was just a fun food place. The most interesting stuff is coming out of Spain as far as pastry and confection. I went to Enric Rovira, which was, the guy is like just a genius artist and executor. His bon-bons are like hand-coated, which is kind of the technique that Jelly Bellies or M&Ms uses to get those little shiny balls of candy. But he does this series that's based on the oceans and each little confection represents a different body of water and the packaging is phenomenal. Then the product itself is just conceptually brilliant and then it just follows through to the very end. It's just like 'wow, I've never seen anything quite like that.' He does a whole chocolate series based on the John Lennon song Imagine, and every bon-bon is based on a species of human being.
Tokyo's so cool. I haven't been there since the early 2000s. It's like New York but times 100. It's like a Times Square that never ends. There's so much food stuff. I went there to teach classes using California walnuts in pastries and I learned much more than I possibly could've taught people, from my own dining experiences there. Just because, you think 'Japanese food — oh, sushi and tempura.' But there's so many different kinds. I went to a restaurant that specialized in beef tongue only, so they had about a hundred different preparations of beef tongue. And then when you go to a yakitori, where it's just all about chicken, all these amazing preparations. Sometimes it's really simple. I went to a tofu restaurant that blew my mind. I didn't like tofu before, but then it completely altered my experience with tofu.
Then I have to say that lunch that I had with at [Trattoria Perilli] in Rome was probably the best pasta I've ever had. It really was and just, I don't know, being in Rome. I hadn't been to Rome since I was like 20 years old, so just kind of going back to that and then that old pizza oven, too, that you could stand out in the square and have. You know that is like the most basic Italian stuff and it's just like 'wow, this is the real deal.' This has inspired so many people to try to cook some of this stuff, but it's the real deal.