To view all my shots at Alinea you can see the entire set at Flickr.
One thing worth mentioning about Alinea. It’s a ton easier to get into than The French Laundry. Call, leave a message with preferred times and dates for dining. They actually call you back. I called about a week before I tried to make a reservation on a weeknight. They called me back and I got in. Then I had all these reservation rearrangements. They were incredibly sweet in fixing things. I have heard that you need to call at least a month ahead for weekend reservations, so that may be slightly more complicated.
So I didn’t exactly get to meet Grant Achatz. Very disappointing. But I did get a chance to eat the food he made. I am decidedly more infatuated than before. For a long time, I’ve taken issue of the art of cooking versus the craft. I’ve always felt that a lot of the more fashionable restaurants are a triumph of art – plating, sustainable ingredients, organics and odd food combinations – that generally does not work. The chefs work to satisfy the artiste in themselves, rather than to please the palate. I found that the case with Alinea is that art and craft intersect in rather pleasing ways.
I was joined by two friends, S. and P. for the 14 course tasting menu with wine pairings. This included two additional gratis courses. And, no, the restaurant doesn’t know I’m a food blogger.
Something interesting that is exemplified by Alinea is the satisfaction of all the senses, a strong driver of this blog. From the moment you step through the door, you are transported. Housed in a non-descript storefront, you walk down a corridor that seems to go nowhere. And just as you think that you are simply locked in a hallway, electric sliding doors open to your left and you enter into Alinea. While waiting to be seated you can catch a glimpse of the kitchen. Throughout the meal, the other senses are massaged and played with. Continue reading
I came home from Chicago today. Mixed feelings, except for this.
Stories about Chicago to come. Knackered.
After Thanksgiving, March Madness is probably one of my most favorite times of the year. And I recently spent a joyous night in Duffy’s watching Duke get knocked out of the tournament by a resurgent VCU (one of the few times that I will make a favorable mention of anything from Virginia). And I watched my friend, J., make a Duke fan cry. (Don’t worry, he bought him a drink and made him feel better.)
So browsing ESPN, I noticed excerpts from what may become one of my favorite books of the year, To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever: A Thoroughly Obsessive, Intermittently Uplifting, and Occasionally Unbiased Account of the Duke-North Carolina Basketball Rivalry by Will Blythe. I love anything that can further establish the reasons for my hating on something. And if it’s hating on Duke… well… Here are some excerpts, which had me laughing and disgusted at the same time.
I have no pictures. I haven’t made this yet. But I’m posting it so y’all can start getting ready for Saturday. Stout is beautiful!
3/4 cup superfine sugar
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/4 cups Guinness stout (make sure your drunkenness doesn’t allow you to spill)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch-square pan. Combine eggs and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the bittersweet chocolate, milk chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and beat into the egg mixture. Sift flour and cocoa together and beat into the chocolate mixture. Whisk in Guinness. Pour into pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Serves 8 to 10.
Make sure to grab a pint of the stuff to go along and do the pint shuffle (essentially the Running Man, while holding a pint glass and spilling everywhwere)
Adapted, but mostly stolen from Oxblog (not a food blog!)