Friday, May 18, 2007

Alinea: More Complete Account, Part 14

[Tyler] I call this course the S&M Course. The serving contraption was a long metal rod held at an angle by a heavy base, and pointing up at us like a thin robot . . . well . . . appendage. My first thought was that it might put an eye out if we weren't careful. To make matters worse, the server said, "This is intended to be eaten without your hands. Just lean forward and bite it off."

We leaned down and chomped the caked, and I was immediately impressed with the sensation of tiny little needles stabbing the roof of my mouth. The spun muscovado sugar tasted nice, but hurt. Really.

I was so taken by the crystalline spears puncturing my palate that I didn't even notice the licorice, anise, and orange flavors mentioned in the menu entry for this course. All-in-all, a mildly intriguing idea but not my cup of tea, kind of like S&M.

"And the chocolate course," said the server, "because every meal should have some chocolate." This was an extra-smooth chocolate ganache, served with passion fruit. I think it had a soy foam and lime flavors to accent the passion fruit.

One of the things we learned on this trip is that ganache can and should be very smooth. If you've never made a real ganache, it's a lot of work, and to find one as smooth as this one was pretty impressive. The chocolate tart we had at Vanille Pâtisserie also had a beautifully-smooth ganache in it. Thanks to these two experiences, Rob has a new idea of the perfection he wants to shoot for.

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