Alinea

1723 N Halsted

Chicago, IL 60614

October 10, 2008

If you don’t already know, Chicago is an awesome city. I love NYC but Chicago’s charm is inescapable. It’s got that big city feel with a small city community warmth. Nobody helps me carry my suitcase at Grand Central Station/JFK but at O’Hare, there is always someone offering to help me. There are a lot of activities in Chicago, shopping, museums, sports and of course, my favorite activity, eating and going to restaurants. It’s only fitting that I hit Grant Achatz’s brainchild. Curiosity got the best of me. How does a chef with tongue cancer continue on making amazing food?

[See more about Grant Achatz and his cancer here.]

I successfully dragged two of my high school classmates with me to embark on the tasting menu with wine pairing at Alinea.

I’ve lost my tasting notes so all I have are photos from our dinner and the actual tasting menu which I will post. I can still remember how each dish felt like so I will try and explain each plate’s impressions on me.

TASTING OCTOBER 10, 2008

Trout Roe: coconut, hyssop, passionfruit (Cocktail of Henriot Brut with Pineau des Charentes and Campari)

Trout Roe

Tomato: basil, mozzarella, olive oil (Domaine Sigala Assyrtiko “Santorini”, Santorini, Greece 2007

Tomato

Cauliflower: five coatings, three gels, apple (Venica & Venica Tocai Friulano, “Ronco delle Cime”, Collio 2007

Cauliflower

Lobster: popcorn, butter, curry (Chereau-Carre Muscadet “Comte Leloup de Chasseloir, Ceps Centenaires”, Loire 2003

Lobster

Rabbit: prune, walnut, autumnal fragrances (Domaine de Trevallon, Vin De Pays des Bouches du Rhone 2009)

Rabbit

Wagyu Beef: maitake, smoked date, Blis Elixir (Littorai “Savoy Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, California, 2005

Wagyu Beef

Lamb: Saffron, poppy seed, pistachio

Lamb

Concord Grape: yoghurt, mint, long pepper

Watermelon: fresh coriander, tamari, bonito

Watermelon

Note: Sorry Shoks, you’re in photo but it was the only good photo I had of the watermelon. =) Don’t sue me, Attorney!

Bacon: butterscotch, apple, thyme

Bacon

Pumpkin: gruyere, Blis maple syrup, smoke (Klein Constantia “Vin De Constance”, Constantia, South Africa, 2004

Pumpkin

Chocolate: fig, olive, pine (Christian Drouin “Coeur de Lion” Pommeau de Normandie, France

Chocolate

Dry Caramel: Salt

Dry Caramel

Judging from the stars on the tasting menu, I really enjoyed the Trout Roe as well as the Henriot brut cocktail, the Cauliflower, the Lobster and its accompanying  Muscadet, the Wagyu Beef with the Pinot Noir, the Cims de Porrera “Classic” Priorat 2004 and the Chocolate entree.

I remember how the Tomato dish felt like. The mozzarella came in a foam block and when I touched it, it was solid. But when I put it in my mouth, it disintegrated like foam and into thin air. It was a surreal feeling, one I never had before in dining. I also remember the bacon and they told me not to touch it when they served it. I could only touch it after a few minutes when I was ready to eat it. It also disintegrated like foam. It was wild!

I’m just sorry I didn’t make detailed tasting notes, especially on the wine. I could barely take proper photos, let alone make tasting notes. I just really have to track down these wines so I can taste them again.

It took us 3 hours to finish our meal from the start to finish. We then got our bill, shut our eyes, and handed over our credit card. I paid this meal with the money I earned during my internship. I got minimum wage during my externship so in short, I handed all my money to Chef Achatz.

After that, we proceeded to Rush Street and went “clubbing”. The best part was meeting a nice guy and getting a date 3 days after that. That doesn’t happen to me in Manila.

No, it does not.

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