Friday, February 06, 2009

Food of Tomorrow... Today!

Welcome to "Foodie Friday" here at Fosco Lives!

Let's kick some things off today with a bit of gastroporn--both professional and amateur. Fosco remains fascinated by the work that Grant Achatz does at his Chicago temple of molecular gastronomy, Alinea. Achatz was born in both the same year and the same state as Fosco, so he feels a natural connection with the star chef. At some point, you should read about Achatz's battle with tongue cancer--it's an amazing story.

Here are some professional pictures of Achatz's creations. One of his guiding principles is to create entirely new ways of tasting familiar flavors. This is "rhubarb."

And this is a "tomato" caterpillar:

And now here are three "amateur" photos of dishes that Fosco had on his visit to Alinea in December 2007. I don't know who took this (found it on image search; my own pic didn't really turn out), but the dish is called "Lamb in Cubism." There are two preparations of lamb plated onto colorful panes of sauce--each pane is a different sauce, focusing primarily on Mediterranean flavors (yogurt, mint, pomegranate, saffron, &c.). The idea is to mix and match.

The next two photos were taken by Fosco. This is a dish called "venison." Achatz is also very interested in the ways in which scents can impact flavor--so yes, that is an inedible juniper branch. Nestled inside the juniper is a super-heated river rock. On top of the river rock, a small venison roll is being seared. The roll contains marinated Japanese plum and is topped with candy cane shards. You eat it in one bite with chopsticks. (And in case you think this looks like too small a portion, recall that the Alinea tasting menu has something like twelve courses. Fosco was very full.)

This dish was one of the desserts. It's a tempura-battered fried pumpkin pie popsicle (frozen with liquid nitrogen) on a cinnamon stick that is set aflame (look at the tip).

And you see that Achatz custom-designed wire holder? They've been popping up at other restaurants recently (including Jean-Georges, where Fosco saw them last December). That's called influence.

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