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Alinea - I'm a believer

Alinea - I'm a believer
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  • Post #481 - April 5th, 2020, 9:40 am
    Post #481 - April 5th, 2020, 9:40 am Post #481 - April 5th, 2020, 9:40 am
    We had Alinea's coq au van last night and it was outstanding. Meal came with chicken thighs, a perfectly balanced sauce with vegetables, a side of their 50-50 mashed potatoes, a salad and pot de creme for dessert.
  • Post #482 - April 18th, 2020, 4:32 am
    Post #482 - April 18th, 2020, 4:32 am Post #482 - April 18th, 2020, 4:32 am
    Apologies if it’s been asked and answered here before...if you opt out of the wine service, what are your beverage options? Just water? Are there other cocktail options? Non-alcoholic options?
  • Post #483 - April 18th, 2020, 12:30 pm
    Post #483 - April 18th, 2020, 12:30 pm Post #483 - April 18th, 2020, 12:30 pm
    abe_froeman wrote:Apologies if it’s been asked and answered here before...if you opt out of the wine service, what are your beverage options? Just water? Are there other cocktail options? Non-alcoholic options?


    During normal service, yes. They have NA pairings. They were delightful when we went for the Vegan Experience.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #484 - April 18th, 2020, 1:37 pm
    Post #484 - April 18th, 2020, 1:37 pm Post #484 - April 18th, 2020, 1:37 pm
    abe_froeman wrote:Apologies if it’s been asked and answered here before...if you opt out of the wine service, what are your beverage options? Just water? Are there other cocktail options? Non-alcoholic options?


    This is what the website says:
    Beverage pairings are available for purchase at an additional cost. You and your guests are welcome to select pairings at any point in advance, or the evening you dine. Additionally, Alinea offers an extensive list of wines by the bottle or glass, as well as a limited selection of beer, spirits and sake.
  • Post #485 - April 18th, 2020, 7:19 pm
    Post #485 - April 18th, 2020, 7:19 pm Post #485 - April 18th, 2020, 7:19 pm
    Ok, so there's other options and you can get a single glass of wine without committing the whole thing. That's good. I'm not a huge wine drinker, but also don't just want water.

    Found out my friend from the UK will be visiting next spring and Alinea is a must-do for her, so I guess I'm going!! Very excited!
  • Post #486 - May 5th, 2020, 7:36 pm
    Post #486 - May 5th, 2020, 7:36 pm Post #486 - May 5th, 2020, 7:36 pm
    I love Alinea, for its amazingly delicious food as well as its unusual presentation techniques. Eating there is SO MUCH FUN! I wondered how much of the fun and deliciousness could possibly carry over into a carryout dinner, and the answer is, quite a lot! This week, they have a special seven-dish menu to celebrate their 15th anniversary, with some of their most special dishes. They came with detailed instructions as well as a background paragraph about each dish. There was so much food that we split it into dinner on two separate nights. This was a wonderful experience. In the restaurant distancing topic, I posted about how easy the ordering and curbside pickup process was. Here is a gallery of photos, including before-and-after shots for dishes for which some assembly was required (or, as my companion joked, "dinner by Ikea" :) ).

    Blis Steelhead Roe: Coconut Pudding • Carrot • Turmeric • Passionfruit Gel (before assembly)
    Image
    Blis Steelhead Roe: Coconut Pudding • Carrot • Turmeric • Passionfruit Gel (after assembly)
    Image
    Chilled English Pea Soup: Chamomile Compressed Cantaloupe • Yogurt Custard • Nueske's Ham (before assembly)
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    Chilled English Pea Soup: Chamomile Compressed Cantaloupe • Yogurt Custard • Nueske's Ham (after assembly but before I poured all the liquid in)
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    Poached Prawns: Cucumber • Thai Curry Sauce • Mango • Thai Aromatic Salt - The dish of aromatic salt and lemongrass does not get eaten! It heats in the oven alongside the prawns, and is served alongside, to offer the aroma while the prawn dish is eaten.
    Image
    “Rootbeer” of Braised Beef Short Rib: Fennel • Anise • Parsnip
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    Vanilla scented 50/50 "Robuchon Style" Mashed Potatoes
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    Wild Mushrooms and Asparagus: Lapsang Souchong Tea Emulsion • Pickled Allium
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    Chocolate 64% on Your Table: Strawberry • Vanilla • Hazelnut Praline • Blueberry • Lemon (before assembly) - In the restaurant, this dish is prepared (often by Chef Achatz himself) after covering the table with rubbery silicone. A sheet of acetate is included in the carryout kit for the preparation.
    Image
    Chocolate 64% on Your Table: Strawberry • Vanilla • Hazelnut Praline • Blueberry • Lemon (after assembly)
    Image
  • Post #487 - May 6th, 2020, 6:27 am
    Post #487 - May 6th, 2020, 6:27 am Post #487 - May 6th, 2020, 6:27 am
    We had the anniversary meal as well. Surprisingly good value, all things considered. We were more ambitious and tried to make it all the way through in one meal. Unsuccessfully.

    Still no comparison to Real Kitchen's version:

    https://vimeo.com/77976339
  • Post #488 - May 6th, 2020, 6:56 am
    Post #488 - May 6th, 2020, 6:56 am Post #488 - May 6th, 2020, 6:56 am
    The Alinea anniversary dinner looks amazing but that video provided a much-needed gut laugh. When they juiced the chicken...
  • Post #489 - May 7th, 2020, 6:47 am
    Post #489 - May 7th, 2020, 6:47 am Post #489 - May 7th, 2020, 6:47 am
    Luckyguy wrote:The Alinea anniversary dinner looks amazing but that video provided a much-needed gut laugh. When they juiced the chicken...


    Both prophetic and hilarious.
  • Post #490 - May 7th, 2020, 4:44 pm
    Post #490 - May 7th, 2020, 4:44 pm Post #490 - May 7th, 2020, 4:44 pm
    In case anyone was thinking about getting the 15th anniversary dinner but found that it was sold out - they just announced that they are extending its availability through May 20, and I think they expanded the number of slots available, as there are now lots of openings May 10-20. This was such an awesome carryout experience, and a true bargain at $50!
  • Post #491 - May 8th, 2020, 4:37 pm
    Post #491 - May 8th, 2020, 4:37 pm Post #491 - May 8th, 2020, 4:37 pm
    Oh my, yes! Just booked a pickup on May 16th. Can't wait.
    Oh, and, we ordered a bottle of "reserve wine" for $45. They're not specific about this. At all. At this point I don't know if it's white or red or Boone's Farm. Does anyone know? Will they choose a wine to match the dinner?
    TIA!
  • Post #492 - May 10th, 2020, 1:55 pm
    Post #492 - May 10th, 2020, 1:55 pm Post #492 - May 10th, 2020, 1:55 pm
    We loved our Alinea birthday dinner. Wish we split it into two separate meals though. Though we did save the dessert course for the next day to have with our kids. It’s a lot of (outstanding) food. They suggest starting to cook the short rib while you are eating an earlier course. I suggest holding off to make sure that you’re still hungry before proceeding with a pretty massive meat course. But, all in all, it was really fun and a good value.

    I don’t know what wine they will give you, but a previous carry out came with a really nice bottle. Happy we took the gamble. The first half of the birthday dinner is white friendly and the second half is red friendly, so you’ll be fine either way. maybe they’ll give you a sparkling.
  • Post #493 - May 19th, 2020, 10:58 am
    Post #493 - May 19th, 2020, 10:58 am Post #493 - May 19th, 2020, 10:58 am
    The Alinea Spring Selection Tasting Menu was just loaded into Tock. It starts when the 15th Anniversary Experience availability ends (21 May) and is available through 2 June.

    https://www.exploretock.com/alinea/
  • Post #494 - May 20th, 2020, 11:12 am
    Post #494 - May 20th, 2020, 11:12 am Post #494 - May 20th, 2020, 11:12 am
    Based on the birthday dinner, the new one was a must-do and is reserved for Sunday.
  • Post #495 - May 21st, 2020, 5:23 pm
    Post #495 - May 21st, 2020, 5:23 pm Post #495 - May 21st, 2020, 5:23 pm
    These two locally based guys have an entertaining YouTube channel. Their shtick is to do carryout from local restaurants and rate and review - one of their latest forays was a visit to Alinea...
    https://youtu.be/lAjF6LIxiUI

    "Goldie, how many times have I told you guys that I don't want no horsin' around on the airplane?"
  • Post #496 - May 22nd, 2020, 10:28 am
    Post #496 - May 22nd, 2020, 10:28 am Post #496 - May 22nd, 2020, 10:28 am
    cito wrote:These two locally based guys have an entertaining YouTube channel. Their shtick is to do carryout from local restaurants and rate and review - one of their latest forays was a visit to Alinea...
    https://youtu.be/lAjF6LIxiUI


    We dipped into our cellar for a couple of nice bottles of wine. I'm shocked we didn't think of Malort and Old Style instead. :lol:
    -Mary
  • Post #497 - May 23rd, 2020, 9:54 am
    Post #497 - May 23rd, 2020, 9:54 am Post #497 - May 23rd, 2020, 9:54 am
    The GP wrote:We dipped into our cellar for a couple of nice bottles of wine. I'm shocked we didn't think of Malort and Old Style instead. :lol:


    LOL at these YouTube guys not remembering what "vinegar" is.

    Interestingly, the Aviary parners with Jeppson's, and consequently Alinea drink kit add-ons feature the Jeppson's bourbon, which we found to be very nice, pretty oaky and smooth for the north end of proof range. Would not have gone for it otherwise.
  • Post #498 - June 8th, 2020, 5:56 pm
    Post #498 - June 8th, 2020, 5:56 pm Post #498 - June 8th, 2020, 5:56 pm
    So first off, that Real Kitchen video is great. And it's six years old? So prescient and spot-on.

    Now, that being said, my wife and I did Alinea carryout for our anniversary last night and had a wonderful time, even if that RK video now makes me feel little like a rube for enjoying it so much. Oh well, life can be two things.

    That said we had a great time. The dinner took us over two hours, and we were stuffed. I'm sure I fucked up the presentations and assemblies. I'm also sure it doesn't live up to the actual Alinea experience...but that's not in the finances for a while.

    And I can't stress this enough, will Alinea play reruns of "Schitt's Creek" for the entire two hour plus duration of your meal? I think not. It's those special little things that really make the home experience.

    So here's all the dishes/containers/ingredients unloaded (well not everything, there's probably another 10 containers plus the acetate in the dessert bag)

    Image

    First Dish: Charred Roe with cantaloupe, lime, champagne. Was a nice start. I enjoy Roe but won't go out of my way to order it....but this had a nice smokey/briney flavor that paired nicely. My wife took a tiny bite and scraped it off.

    More Roe for me.

    Image

    Chilled Carrot Soup. This was nice, refreshing, and the coconut paired well, but was a little underwhelming and probably my least favorite dish. But it sure is a purty shade of orange.

    Image

    Poached Atlantic Scallops [with heated Spring Aroma reminiscent of wild bee balm, milkweed, and bergamot...not to be eaten]

    Again, Real Kitchen's parody is spot-on. We (I) probably looked like privileged idiots reheating a spring smell from Mr. Achatz's childhood... while America is burning; and my wife did not hold back the mocking. On the other hand, you have to stop to celebrate anniversaries and we were having fun. Oh yeah, this was a very good dish. I'm still kind of amazed how Alinea could coordinate this meal, using only our oven set to 350, and a sauce pot for one or two dishes. Fucking scallops man, they're alright.

    Image

    Prime Beef Short Rib. Normally, I'm not a short rib guy (too pot-roastey). But this was fucking amazing, and came out perfectly medium rare (thank you four pages of instructions, single spaced).

    My 12 year old son started eating my wife's portion, and she almost closed fist punched him when he went in for a third bite. Fair is fair. My son then remarked "remind me to order this when we're at Alinea." So many problems I don't even know where to start.

    This was also the portion where the "frugal" demon perched on my shoulder started chirping up about the cost/size of the little celery and apple slices accompanying this dish. Demon ain't wrong, but fuck him. The food was tasty and we were having a great time. As this pandemic rages or wanes, I think we will be looking at dining out more as a unique experience as opposed to...aw fuck. Getting sidetracked. I'll post this somewhere else. Prime beef short rib was killer.

    Image

    Sweet Garlic Corn Orzo. Running out of superlatives. This was very very good. Slightly sweet, savory, very filling and perfect segue as the meal was winding down towards dessert.

    Image

    Roasted mushroom vinaigrette. If Grant Achatz can peddle in childhood memories so can I (unfortunately I can't charge a couple bills for mine though). Anyway, my mom used to sometimes serve us salad after dinner and say we were doing it "European style" that night. Mostly she had just forgotten the salad in the fridge, or knew we didn't have the patience for it...but this brought me back regardless.

    Instructions said heating was optional, so we served one portion at room temperature, and one heated (in the microwave....sorry Mr. Achatz. I was a little too buzzed at this point and didn't feel like cleaning up the sauce pan).
    Wife and I both like the heated version more. So room temp plate took a quick spin and we were both off. Great final (dinner) dish.

    Image

    Dark Chocolate on Your Table. Can most people tell the difference between a true Jackson Pollock and some shit my boys splattered? Probably not. That said, this was pretty tasty and my boys were having fun making fun of my wife and I. Honestly, there's tons of dessert that taste better (pretty much any warm homemade chocolate chip cookies beat this dish in the flavor department)... but it was still a blast and a perfect conclusion to a very fun meal.

    Image

    Almost forgot the booze. I opted for the Cody Road barrel aged Old Fashion. I ended up drinking half the bottle throughout the meal (please remember, it was almost 150 minute long). They supplied the orange peels, and I added a couple cherries. Needless to say I enjoyed it. Making an old fashioned isn't all that difficult, but a bottle of this (without the Alinea markup) is pretty reasonably priced. Might be keeping this on hand in the future.

    Image

    Wrap up: Sorry this got a little long, but it was a lot of fun and we thoroughly enjoyed it. I'll leave it at that. Thanks Alinea!!
  • Post #499 - June 19th, 2020, 6:45 pm
    Post #499 - June 19th, 2020, 6:45 pm Post #499 - June 19th, 2020, 6:45 pm
    Alinea wrote:Order Alinea's Steakhouse - To Go, The Alinea Group will never build a steakhouse… right? But we are Chicagoans and if not now, when? Filet Mignon of Prime Beef au Poivre - served in a rich, cognac and peppercorn sauce - prepared medium rare to finish at home with a perfect sear. Maine Lobster Bisque, Gruyere Cheese Potato Gratin and a Summer Tomato and Cucumber Salad compliment the 6oz Filet in classic fashion. For dessert, decadent Strawberry Shortcake. Maybe we’ll build one after all. $49.95

    Tips: (1) The instructions for the filet tell you to sear it in a saute pan, but grilling works equally well (and requires less cleanup). (2) Bake the potatoes for 5-10 minutes longer than the instructions tell you.

    Also, like our previous meal, the portions were generous. We decided to hold off on the soup till the following evening, while consuming the rest for our dinner.Image
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  • Post #500 - June 26th, 2020, 12:46 pm
    Post #500 - June 26th, 2020, 12:46 pm Post #500 - June 26th, 2020, 12:46 pm
    Alinea in Residence to offer guests an al fresco version of Chicago’s most acclaimed restaurant

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/c ... story.html
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #501 - July 8th, 2020, 2:32 pm
    Post #501 - July 8th, 2020, 2:32 pm Post #501 - July 8th, 2020, 2:32 pm
    There's a joke in here somewhere about the paradox of "bad taste" at Alinea, but I'm too gobsmacked by this ugly (in all ways) dish to make it.

    Alinea Made A Coronavirus-Themed Dish. It’s Not Going Over Well
  • Post #502 - July 9th, 2020, 7:07 pm
    Post #502 - July 9th, 2020, 7:07 pm Post #502 - July 9th, 2020, 7:07 pm
    Coronavirus-inspired dish at Alinea draws backlash. Chef Grant Achatz explains his intent.

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavi ... story.html
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #503 - July 10th, 2020, 8:18 am
    Post #503 - July 10th, 2020, 8:18 am Post #503 - July 10th, 2020, 8:18 am
    Alinea isn't the only place doing this:
    Coronavirus-shaped cakes and cupcakes are popping up in fine-dining restaurants, bakeries and home kitchens around the world
  • Post #504 - July 10th, 2020, 8:58 am
    Post #504 - July 10th, 2020, 8:58 am Post #504 - July 10th, 2020, 8:58 am
    cito wrote:These two locally based guys have an entertaining YouTube channel. Their shtick is to do carryout from local restaurants and rate and review - one of their latest forays was a visit to Alinea...
    https://youtu.be/lAjF6LIxiUI


    This was really good, thanks for sharing.
  • Post #505 - July 10th, 2020, 5:10 pm
    Post #505 - July 10th, 2020, 5:10 pm Post #505 - July 10th, 2020, 5:10 pm
    Nick Kokonas all but prides himself on his bristly personality, but his response to the (silly) covid-looking dessert brouhaha was particularly obnoxious, even for him. Trotting out the hoary "good art is bound to offend" defense was bad enough, but then to once again wave off the price of Alinea as nbd by comparing it to a mere pair of Bears tickets was a very "which weighs more, a ton of feathers or a ton of bricks?" way to go. Man of the people, that Nick Kokonas.
  • Post #506 - July 11th, 2020, 7:36 pm
    Post #506 - July 11th, 2020, 7:36 pm Post #506 - July 11th, 2020, 7:36 pm
    Alinea Pop-Up Closed After Staffer Tests Positive For Coronavirus — Days After COVID-19 Canapé Backlash
    https://blockclubchicago.org/2020/07/11 ... -backlash/
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #507 - July 18th, 2020, 7:47 am
    Post #507 - July 18th, 2020, 7:47 am Post #507 - July 18th, 2020, 7:47 am
    Nick Kokonas all but prides himself on his bristly personality, but his response to the (silly) covid-looking dessert brouhaha was particularly obnoxious, even for him. Trotting out the hoary "good art is bound to offend" defense was bad enough, but then to once again wave off the price of Alinea as nbd by comparing it to a mere pair of Bears tickets was a very "which weighs more, a ton of feathers or a ton of bricks?" way to go. Man of the people, that Nick Kokonas.


    There is no doubt NK is a bright guy, but his arrogance and tone-deafness have reached new heights. Boasting on Twitter about exactly how many meals his restaurants sold while others suffer just doesn't sit well with me; particularly since public records indicate 2.3Mill+!! in PPP loans combined for Alinea, Next and Roister. I hope he acts responsibly with these funds and have no reason to assume he won't, but felt it worth noting.
  • Post #508 - Yesterday, 12:59 pm
    Post #508 - Yesterday, 12:59 pm Post #508 - Yesterday, 12:59 pm
    alessio20 wrote:
    Nick Kokonas all but prides himself on his bristly personality, but his response to the (silly) covid-looking dessert brouhaha was particularly obnoxious, even for him. Trotting out the hoary "good art is bound to offend" defense was bad enough, but then to once again wave off the price of Alinea as nbd by comparing it to a mere pair of Bears tickets was a very "which weighs more, a ton of feathers or a ton of bricks?" way to go. Man of the people, that Nick Kokonas.


    There is no doubt NK is a bright guy, but his arrogance and tone-deafness have reached new heights. Boasting on Twitter about exactly how many meals his restaurants sold while others suffer just doesn't sit well with me; particularly since public records indicate 2.3Mill+!! in PPP loans combined for Alinea, Next and Roister. I hope he acts responsibly with these funds and have no reason to assume he won't, but felt it worth noting.

    Let the NK bashing continue.....
    How Nick Kokonas pivoted hard at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, launching Tock to Go and other innovations

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavi ... story.html
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard

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