Time To Bite Into Genius!
Yes, that is a strip of “hanging bacon”…from the world’s most inventive Chef…need more proof?
What you see above you is Rabbit – yes, Rabbit….and then again, what you see next is a black truffle potato soup:
And one last piece of proof: your table is literally turned into a mini-outdoor grill!
Meet The World’s Most Inventive Chef!
Chef Grant Achetz has been known as one of the world’s greatest Chefs for years, but based on a meal we recently had at his restaurant, it’s time to acknowledge that he is, for us, the world’d most inventive Chef as well!
Alinea, A Molecule Masterpiece – 7-19-15!
Welcome to Alinea, Chicago’s culinary institution, where Chef Achetz puts on a 3-hour display of molecular wizardry and imagination that must be tasted to be believed! And that’s exactly what my wife Alex Duda and I did on July 19, 2015…
You are seated quickly and immediately given a “drink”:
Bite Into A Bellini Ball!
Yes, your first taste is a Bellini served inside a frozen ball…champagne, basil and peach cleanse your palate for the SEVENTEEN tastes of wonder that await:
Surf Clam Necter With Cucumber!
Your first taste is of the sea, a delicious sip of nectar that is full of flavor, is sipped with a straw….
After sipping your soup – and yes, you are expected to slurp, you move on to a delicious “Steelhead Roe” with english pea, olive oil and chamomile…
Bite Into Some Graffiti!
Next, a plate of gravel appears. This is referenced as “spring through the concrete”, and it’s a collection of delicate lettuces and flowers served within an edible concrete!
Next, you are served a collection of delicate “bites”:
Here is a look at what you taste: a caramel-roasted sun choke, flower custard, a cucumber and horseradish sandwich, some sort of purple flower bubblegum, and a clam salad!
Next is a grilled lily flower with mango and ginger foam…and that is when you glance upward and notice something very interesting:
Look Out Above!
When you sit down, you notice something hanging above the table, and yes, it’s for one of your dishes!
It’s a hanging lemongrass ginger wrap, that is cut down, steeped at your table and poured over banana and mustard seed and becomes a freshly scented darjeling tea!
By the way, these dishes come out in a nice pace, and the restaurant isn’t stuffy at all – they have fun with menu and want you too as well!
A shallow bowl arrives next with some broth added, then you are plated with eggplant, banana cocoa and curry!
“Percebes” To You!
Next up is a unique taste of the sea: in case you don’t know, “Percebes” is a sea barnacle that is served to you sashimi style – a delicate barnacle of sea freshness!
Let’s pause for a moment to reiterate: this restaurant is amazing, with unique dishes served in a fun and inventive manner, with no stuffiness – and the “Percebes” dish was a preclude to the most unique dining experience we’ve ever had!
Along with the barnacles, a plate is set down with two pieces of sashimi on it…and then they set the plate on fire!
This Place Is On Fire – Literally!
You can see there are two twigs on the plate, and you are instructed to pierce the sashimi and you can cook it a bit over the fire if you don’t like your fish raw!
Alex gave the fish a quick sear…and then we quickly moved on to our next dish…while the fire continue to burn gently on the table…
A Foie Gras Butter Sandwich With A Dehydrated Icefish Cracker!
After the slightly seared sashimi and fresh barnacle, you are served an intense bite of deliciousness thanks to this presentation:
Yes, it’s a sandwich of foe gras butter on a dehydrated icefish cracker – and then your taste buds get scrambled once again with a frozen bite of wonder!
Grab The Needle And Slide It In!
Yep, grab the needle and lift up you frozen cocktail – called a “Siam Sunray” – with vodka and lemongrass…you slide it off the needle and into your mouth! It’s one of three dishes served on a single plate:
Tamarind with young coconut is one bite, and a crab with rice and green curry is the other…
Now, time to return to a dish that was left on your table…that’s right, it’s back into the fire!
“Jump Into The Fire!”
There’s an incredible inventive reason the dish is left on your table – it is cooking your next course!
While you were distracted, your table was continuing to cook a roasted parsnip and chunk of pork belly in the fire…
They return to remove your fiery plate and dig into the fire – first up is a roasted parsnip, with the char scarped away….
Next, they dig around in the embers and a banana leaf is pulled out of the fire, and inside is a delicate chunk of pork belly!
The imagination that went into the creation of this multiple fiery course is so impressive, and everything is perfectly seasoned and smoked…an absolutely incredible culinary experience!
And of course, it’s not over yet:
Hot Potato Cold Potato!
What you see here is a hot truffle potato soup, with a slice of cold potato and truffle on a pin sticking out of the plate…
You slide the pin out, the ingredients slide into the soup and you take it down in one delicious shot!
Time now for your protein:
Rabbit Over Redwood Forest Moss!
Your next plate arrives as a piece glass over redwood forest moss! This is braised rabbit with morel mushrooms…
There is also a Rabbit Rilette and Rabbit Pate stuffed inside the morel mushroom…and the mushroom is a prelude to one of Alinea’s signatures tastes:
Black Truffle Explosion!
This is an Alinea favorite: you put the entire bite in your mouth, because the delicate dumpling is filled with black truffle jus!
Time to get sweet now…first up is a Cheesecake served colorfully with blueberry and hibiscus powder….and then, butterscotch got a chance to shine!
Bacon Glazed With Butterscotch!
Take a look at this, bacon suspended on a wire, delivered to your table after being “encased” in a butterscotch glaze!
The presentation is unique, and the flavor delicate and salty sweet – and how can you not love this bacon dish? But of course, the imaginative creations continue:
Apple Leather Balloon!
This is another amazing molecular treat: a helium balloon made out of edible green apple – delivered to your table on a string – and yes, you are told to suck out the helium and talk!
Finally, the uniquely inventive dessert finale that begins when your table is completely cleared and covered with a rubber mat!
Then, a series of small colorful dishes are delivered to your table:
A Chef arrives at your table and begins to “paint” an incredible table of color!
When finished, your table looks alike an abstract painting!
Although it looks too beautiful to disrupt, you are instructed to wipe the white chocolate across the rum, vanilla and kafir lime sauces that are painted on the table!
Bravo to Alinea!
Kudos to the entire team at Alinea – the food is incredibly inventive, delicious, and creatively presented by a staff that makes you embrace the fun side of the food!
The restaurant was in the news recently when Chef Achatz tweeted this:
Chef Achetz’s honest comment on twitter – where he wondered if an infant should have been allowed in the restaurant – drew a lot of media coverage…but the question is real: should a small child be at a restaurant like this? Read the entire story here, along with the story of Chef Achetz and his incredible life story:
Achetz worked with legendary Chef Thomas Keller, whose 3-star Michelin restaurant recently celebrated its twenty year anniversary:
We were lucky enough to attend this culinary celebration, which you can read about here:
And we got to see Chef in the French Laundry kitchen as well!
Kudos to both of these Chefs, creating the most inventive food in the world!
Categories: Art, Awards, BACON, Books / Media, chicago, cookbooks, Exotic Travel, Food, Food Review, Memoirs, Recipes, Restaurants, Talent/Celebrities, Technology, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir, Uncategorized, Wacky Food, wine