Why my bags are so damned heavy:
Five assorted El Bulli books.
Knives - my Wusthof Culinars - a 20 cm chef's, a Santoku, the diamond steel, a paring, and my favourite - don't tell the others - my boning knife.
Other essential kitchen tools - OXO stainless steel peeler, Microplane, kitchen shears, big Zippo lighter, and the absolutely vital little, offset spatula.
Rocks - beach rocks from Cala Montjoi - black, flat, with chalky white stripes - when you see them you see inspiration for the book cases.
Three kilos of Gallo brand fideo - for fideua - the pasta paella served with aioli that's my new obsession. Reportedly Rafa makes the best in the region - but he only makes it when he can get some specific little fishies that he likes for the fumet/fish stock - that are only legal to fish under certain conditions. And what kills me is that he only charges like 9 euros for it - that kills me - really just kills me.
Tins and jars of sardines and anchovies - triple Ziploc-ed because it would really suck if those leak.
Six sets of chef's uniforms - jackets and blue houndstooth checked pants.
And then there's my ultra-fragile carry-on tote bag - not at all heavy but a heart-attack when coupled with maneuvering my monstrous checked bags. That holds the giant El Bulli birthday card for my sister - she's a paper designer so she'll get a kick out of it - hopefully; three bags of jamon-flavoured potato chips - potato chips are my dad's one snacking vice; not-yet-released Bonne Maman apple tartelettes for my mom; and my highly coveted sample of the new Valrhona Porcelana del Pedregal - a shockingly rare Venezulean single-estate chocolate - 10 years in the making - deep, dark, stunningly smooth.
For my brother, I got a t-shirt - an El Bulli t-shirt - which of course I think is really cool - plus my brother likes interesting t-shirts. But in my punchier moments at the restaurant - every night - I thought it should read "My sister staged at El Bulli and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" - cracked me up almost every time.