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What did you eat last night for dinner?

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by Fabienne, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. SField

    SField Senior member

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    I don't usually like when something is plated and I'm instructed too much on how to eat it.

    I know I harp on and on about Alinea, but I remember my first meal there and a beautifully composed and rather complicated dish was presented to me and the server simply said, "ya, just mash it all together, it doesn't really matter."

    I think the way one plates should facilitate this, or if there is some need for a more deliberate method of eating, it should be made so that it is relatively self evident even for the most inexperienced diner. I don't do much ragging on mm really, I was one of the few to defend him in his private chef thread.

    But what he does present is often akin to precious hospital food, which isn't a commentary on the quality of it but rather the fact that he fells compelled to compartmentalize everything, much like one would get on a tray at a hospital. You are, after all, serving everything on one plate for a reason. I also think it will improve once he realizes that the other components aren't there simply for the architectural purposes of having something to put on top or underneath his beloved protein.
     


  2. KJT

    KJT Senior member

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    Just to be clear, this is a good thing right?
     


  3. kwilkinson

    kwilkinson Having a Ball

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    Yes. People think Alinea is a place where they'll be told exactly how to eat something, how many bites it will take, which hand to use their fork in, etc. But it really isn't, and Matt can attest to that, even though that was one thing he was worried about before going there. The only time they ever really tell you how to eat is when it's Black Truffle Explosion or the little plastic tube- cock sucker course, where they tell you to get it all in one bite so it doesn't make a mess.

    Some courses I wish they had told me how to eat. Like the aroma-pillow course, which for us was a big tomato salad with grass aroma in the pillow. It was just difficult as hell to figure out how to eat off the plate without having it fall off that pillow.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011


  4. foodguy

    foodguy Senior member

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    that's funny. i haven't eaten at alinea yet, but did have Grant's food at the TFL 10th anniversary party and the experience was very different. some contraption was parked in front of each diner and then the waiter gave very explicit instructions about what you were supposed to smell first and how quickly you were supposed to do it. (IIRC, it was like a shrimp stuck on a sparkler, but it might have been a vanilla bean).
    iplayed with platings similar to mm when i was first starting (didn't do nearly as good a job). over the years, i've realized that there is absolutely no shame in being a good home cook and presenting food on platters, so long as it looks delicious. in fact, it establishes a much different atmosphere that is much more relaxed and, to me, celebratory. even matt's platings, which look both gorgeous and natural, are way more formal than anything I'd do.
     


  5. SField

    SField Senior member

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    Ya, same at Tru with the chocolate explosion... they give you the instruction because otherwise you'll end up wearing it.

    I'm glad it's not on the menu all the time at Alinea anymore... it got a little offensive after a while.
     


  6. mgm9128

    mgm9128 Senior member

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    I will work on this.

    Lukewarm; but that is how I like to eat my food, anyway. It took me probably a total of 2 minutes to plate that duck, and I had the breast resting under foil for 10-15 minutes, and the legs I served right out of the roasting pan, after putting them back in the oven to finish, coated with the port wine glaze. All was pleasantly warm when we sat down.

    I've noticed all the food that I've eaten at places like Daniel and Le Bernardin is always at a perfect lukewarm to slightly-warm temperature; nothing is hot.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011


  7. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    Achatz says in his book that most of the instructions are simply meant to spare the diner dry cleaning costs. Also, some things he says hvae to be tasted in a certain way to get the full effect.
     


  8. SField

    SField Senior member

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    Well the thing about Alinea is that he had most of his dinner ware custom made, making the "plating" pretty obvious. If something's skewered on a long stick that's aimed at your mouth, there isn't a massive amount of explaining that needs to be done. The most explaining I can think of is the bubble gum tube and the truffle explosion or maybe hot potato/cold potato... and it basically amounts to "put it in your mouth now."
     


  9. foodguy

    foodguy Senior member

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    i don't mind too much of that. my experience with those dishes has been more along the lines of those hot-cold soups, where the waiter instructs you to "drink it NOW in ONE swallow". though they do have dragon candy at jose andres' place that's just for fun. you put it in your mouth and smoke comes out of your nose. and those spheroid olives ... but they're not much more complicated than soup dumplings.
     


  10. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt The Liberator Dubiously Honored

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    Fuck me I hated those plates with all the swirls and swells. I felt like I was chasing my food around a cartoon racetrack.
     


  11. SField

    SField Senior member

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    It tastes so good that I don't have time to notice.

    Right now I'd sell my own grandmother for that blue crab parfait....
     


  12. woolf1991

    woolf1991 Member

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    Im baaaaaaack...and once again...all of the food MGM makes is AWESOME. im not just here to defend him. I think you should just know, since it helps to have a second opinion on things like this.

    btw...he always has seconds and thirds on deck since we're american and these serving sizes just dont cut it....lol

    what happened to rambo? I guess they really did draw first blood....
     


  13. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt The Liberator Dubiously Honored

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    I think the main thing is to make sure that what you do, how it looks, and the timing of it fits the situation. When it is just the two of us and we have nothing to do but eat and talk, I spend a good amount of time making things look nice because it is fun, sort of like any other manual hobby where there is an interest in completing a task to the highest finish possible for you. On the other hand, I had an august member of this forum, and his much better half, over last week for lunch, and I was much more interested in hanging out and talking, so while I was as careful (I hope) making things tasty, everything was shared, and that part was much more relaxed. Not to toot my own horn, or call my way best, but like other things in life, it is fun to do things multiple ways and to try to do the best for each situation, both for you and the people around you.

    BTW, thanks.

    Oh, also BTW, how fucking huge are your plates, mm?
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011


  14. mordecai

    mordecai Immoderator

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    You're right, your very first post was not defending him




    You and Bris made up?
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011


  15. kwilkinson

    kwilkinson Having a Ball

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    :laugh:
     


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