A brief, but somewhat topical, digression before returning to regularly scheduled Spain trip programming. This article, "Should Fine Dining Die?" by Anya von Bremzen in Food & Wine, is an excellent read. Her latest cookbook The New Spanish Table is great too, with lots of solid recipes (I've successfully made several) including a number contributed by some of Spain's top chefs, as well as some good background on Spain's different regions and their foods.
Having just happily experienced a couple Michelin 3-stars, I'm firmly in the "Why can't we all just get along?" camp on this subject. If you don't like fine dining, nobody is going to make you sit through it (Mrs. F might have an argument on this point). But I think it will always have its partisans (though the number of people who can afford it is surely declining, which is another issue entirely) and practitioners, and tend to agree with the conclusion of the article that these places will generally continue to be on the vanguard of creativity and experimentation as long as they have the resources available to them. I will have some further deeper thoughts on what I perceived to be the refreshingly un-snobby Spanish approach to fine dining either along the way or upon the conclusion of my Spain updates.