Thursday, May 10, 2007

Alinea: More Complete Account, Part 4

[Tyler] The next course was the celery juice, granny smith apple juice, cocoa butter, and horseradish shot I mentioned in an earlier post. Notice how tall the shot glass was. Only the top half was open -- the bottom was solid glass. The whole thing had been stored in a freezer, so it would keep the juices cold when the chefs poured them in. I think the cold may have been important to keep the cocoa butter solid. We're still trying to figure out how they made this dish, and it was definitely the most dramatic course of the night.

Besides wine pairings, Alinea also has bread pairings. I think there were three breads served throughout the course of the evening, some of which were intended to be paired with more than one course. In this picture, you can see the whole wheat pretzel with Thai long pepper, which was paired with the monkfish.

The shape of the dish this course was served in added to the mystery of eating it (it also made it a bit of a challenge to eat with a knife and fork). There were slices of fresh banana tucked in among the monkfish in the edges of this bowl, and we were both a little surprised to find them.

One of the things Chef Grant Achatz likes to do is combine sweet, savory, sour, and spicy flavors in unexpected ways. Normally, one wouldn't think of serving fresh bananas this early in a meal, because their sweetness seems more suited to desserts. But they worked perfectly with this course.

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