Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Alinea named top US restaurant

One of Chicago's 'top' restaurants, Alinea, has been named as the top American restaurant by the top 50 restaurants in the world. NOMA, from Copenhagen, was first. The reason I'm telling you this is so that you will know and you will know not to go there. I've never been, nor will I go. Alinea is known for its "Molecular Gastronomy". Makes you want to go just for that! Molecular Gastronomy based on rethinking the science of cooking and reviewing all the myths etc about cooking and food. This part I like. The part that Alinea is involved with is the reinvention of food. I like food. Real food. I do not want to go to have a "PB&J" which is a peeled grape (with stem) covered in peanut butter and then wrapped in a thin brioche. Maybe 10 of these, but at Alinea there is one perfect on a plate. Grant Achatz, who is the chef, worked under our own Charlie Trotter and taken the food to a new plane of existance. At one point, he took a hot dog and pulverized it and captured the vapor. You squirt the vapor into your mouth with a bite of brioche and probably some foam of condiments and you have a Chicago hot dog.

Lots of foams and freezing of stuff you might not think about freezing. One article said he and his wife went and spent $750. His wife can't remember ever chewing. After then left, they went to a hot dog stand.

If you have too much money and are willing to eat foams, a lot of suspended spoons over a broth, frozen items that probably aren't meant to be eaten frozen, items on antennas etc etc.

In respect, I understand what Achatz is doing. He is asking people to reconsider the food they eat by altering what you see and how you taste it. I am impressed with his and his staff's ability. I don't necessarily have to have a plate of food with protein, veg, starch. I happen to like tastings, but I do believe that food should be eaten and if I eat at a restaurant (and spend a few hundred), I would be relatively full.

I am probably a heathen and an outcast for those thoughts. But I hope this trend towards tastings and molecular gastronomy will fade and chefs can get back to making real food again.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cheap Eats - Eggsperience, Naperville

This is a local chain of breakfast/lunch places in the Chicago area with one recently opening up in Naperville (75th near route 59, near Whole Foods). Ok it is a breakfast place. But it isn't pretentious or too loud, not too fancy, not too hip, not too cheap looking. We like it and think most people would. The decor is wake me up yellow. If I want fancy restaurant, I can pay for fancy restaurant. This is just right for a morning. Service is very good and food came out fast, again one more important thing with breakfast. The food is very good and the mix of items is pretty basic, but nicely handled. My wife wanted something a little different on the menu and they said sure. I like that in a quick, fast place.

My only downside is the coffee. It seemed strong, like very strong. Like too strong for me. If I wanted espresso, I can order it (which they have). They give you a pot (again I like that) and a carafe of water (gotta like that too). The first pot smelled burnt to me, like it was overcooked. We complained and the server brought us another pot. It was ok, but so strong. She said they do have really strong coffee. The next visit we just didn't order coffee, but that was afternoon. I'm not sure what to do the next time.

This is a keeper. Quick, casual, not too loud (we could sit in our booth and talk normally even with a full house). Food is great, service is great and fast. And it is breakfast. We haven't tried it for lunch but it looked pretty good on the menu.

Here is there web site: