11.24: seriously, are you tired yet? (Alinea, part 3)

wine, course 11

course 11
course 11: octopus + green peanut + mint + dill
wine pairing: vecchio samperi "ventale", marsala, sicily

This course was *really* tricky because the bowl had no flat base, which meant that it couldn’t be set down on the table. Rather, it was meant to be eaten quickly in one bite. I was really proud of myself for holding the dish in one hand and taking a picture with the other. I shouldn’t have been so smug. (Especially after all that wine.) *Just* as I was about to set down my camera, I actually dropped my dish. OH NO!! I was SO embarrassed and my brother looked like he wanted to kill me. The servers, however, didn’t skip a beat. They cleaned up my spill and took *both* of our dishes to the kitchen so that they could prepare new ones for us to eat together. All the while Tim was shaking his head muttering about how I’d completely thrown off the kitchen’s service. If the kitchen hated me, they certainly didn’t let on. We got new dishes. But I’d learned my lesson and I didn’t attempt to take any more photos of this dish and enjoyed my dish like a “normal” person would. 🙂

The wine pairing for this dish, btw, was very strong but very good…almost more like a smooth bourbon than a wine.

course 12
course 12: matsutake + pine + otoro + mango
wine pairing: antonio caggiano "bechar" fiano di avellino, campania 2007

This dish was just a work of art.

course 13
course 13: pheasant + apple + shallot + burning oak leaves
wine pairing: w.h. smith "marimar estate vineyard" pinot noir, sonoma coast 2006

The presentation of this dish was phenomenal. Smell is a strong component of the experience at Alinea (you’ll see in some of the subsequent courses). Fall is my favorite season and the faint smell of the burning leaves evoked all sorts of great memories.

course 14
course 14: hot potato + cold potato + black truffle + butter

This was one of my favorite dishes of the night. A custom-made paraffin wax bowl is pierced with a pin on which a truffle topped potato and parmesan cheese hover over the hot potato soup. To eat, one pulls the pin through the wax releasing the truffle, potato and cheese into the hot soup. Eaten in a shot you can actually feel the hot soup and the cold portions intermingling in your mouth. Simple amazing.

enter the centerpiece

course 15

course 15
course 15: lamb + pumpkin + eggplant + rosemary aroma
wine pairing: josef umathum "ried hallebuh", burgenland, austria 2001

Finally, our centerpiece came in handy. The thin metal tray for the lamb portions was screaming hot which allowed the meat to sear marvelously. The addition of the rosemary sprig to the hot plate released the aromas.

crazy good
course 16: concord grape + maytag blue + toasted walnut
course 17: lemon soda, one bite

Sadly, I didn’t get pictures of either of these courses although I don’t think you’re missing much. These were both dishes that had to be eaten right away. The concord grape dish was interesting texturally (sort of like eating an eyeball if you can imagine that) but neither of us were crazy about this dish. Tim and I both found the blue cheese a bit overpowering. (And I normally like blue cheese.) The lemon soda was basically a tiny packet eaten in a single bite. Sort of pop-rock like.

course 18
course 18: blackberry + goat milk + onion + lavender
wine pairing: elio perrone "bigaro", piemonte 2008

This dish was eaten hands free, straight off the wire by leaning into the dish. (This picture will give you an idea of how long the wire is.) My memory is a bit hazy but I think courses 16-18 were brought out together.

course 19
course 19: bubble gum: long pepper + hibiscus + creme fraiche

This dish was SO fun to eat. The contents were sucked out of the tube just like drinking of the straw. All the different tastes rushing in felt and tasted fantastic.

course 20
course 20: transparency of raspberry, yogurt

This is clear proof that my limited photography skills had deteriorated significantly over the course of 20+ courses and several glasses of wine. But pretty, right??

course 21
course 21: hay + burnt sugar + coffee + huckleberry
wine pairing: klein constantia "vin de constance", south africa 2004

This dish was so beautiful and came out on these giant pillows filled with nutmeg air. The pillow deflated as we ate, releasing the aromas.

Ok, that’s enough for one night. Another post with the grand finale (and believe me, it was quite grand) to follow shortly.

Earlier: Alinea (Part 1); Alinea (Part 2)
Also: Someone else’s much better photos at Alinea

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7 responses to “11.24: seriously, are you tired yet? (Alinea, part 3)

  1. oooooh! aaaaah! 😀 😀

  2. I am so enjoying this!

  3. Omg, I was watching how they make some of this food on Food Network last night! I wasn’t paying attention to which restaurant or where it was, but it looked so cool! That is awesome that you got to eat there.

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