I decided to go back and document some of my most memorable dining experiences. I have a large collection of pictures of restaurants I’ve been to and this will force me to analyze and relive the experiences.
The first installment in this series will be Alinea’s pop up in Miami. About a year ago while Alinea was renovating their restaurant in Chicago they did a pop up restaurant in Madrid and Miami. And for my birthday present two years ago I got to go! I was very excited because second to The French Laundry in Yountville (which I still haven’t gone to!), there wasn’t a restaurant I wanted to go to more in the US. In addition Grant Achatz is an alumni of the CIA, the same school I am now attending.
The setting they chose for the restaurant was the dining room at the Faena hotel in Miami Beach. Faena embodies the excess of Miami Beach from the ridiculous cars always parked outside to the mammoth skeleton dipped in gold that was bought at auction by the Faena family for the hotel for a price of $15 Million.
The dinner was an experience. Achatz likes to play with your senses. Constantly delivering dishes that aren’t quite what they seem. The first dish was this cube of clear gelatin titled a taste of Chicago. It was served over a Chicago themed post card and the cube tasted like a hotdog complete with all the accouterments.
That was that was the most whimsical part of the dinner although the balloon gave it a run for it’s money. The caviar dish that followed has been one of my favorite to date. It had papaya and plantains. It really took the local flavors and elevated them in a cool presentation.
From there we had some awesome dishes the highlights were the corn soup, the hot potato cold potato, wagyu beef, and black truffle ravioli explosion.
The balloon was interesting although it just tasted like a sour apple candy.
The malted milk modern art dessert was really cool to watch and actually tasted really good. Months after when I staged at Alinea the malted milk block of malted milk was one of the dishes I prepared and I snacked on the pieces that broke off all night.
All in all I think Alinea deserves their spot as one of the best restaurants in the US.
This experience wouldn’t complete without my sharing the pictures of a few of the cars parked out front.