How to spend your trading gains: New Year’s Eve dinner at Alinea

I spent some of my hard-won trading gains at one of the top restaurants in the world for a New Year’s Eve dinner with my wonderful wife. The restaurant is Alinea, and it is one of the hotspots for molecular gastronomy. While the dinner was ridiculously expensive, it was also ridiculously good and it is an experience worth having. Below are pictures of some of the 10 courses we had. My wife’s favorite course was the black truffle explosion raviolo. Mine was the poached pear with white wine and allspice and black pepper foam.

I should point out that I am not the first penny stock trader to visit Alinea and blog about it. Tim Sykes did that last summer. I have to say my experience was better than his. The waitstaff was unobtrusive but ever present. They did not idly chitchat with us, but when we had questions about the food or wine they seemed happy to engage with us. The service was better than any other US restaurant I have been to (although I haven’t been to any top restaurants in Vegas, San Francisco, or New York) and the equal of the two Michelin-starred restaurants I have been to in France.

When asked whether I wanted tea or coffee at the end of the meal I asked if they had Pu-erh tea (an aged tea from China). The waiter not only answered in the affirmative but listed their two choices: a 1949 Pu-erh for $97 and a 1997, for $12. I took the cheaper option. Not even I can justify $100 on a cup of tea!

1st Course: brioche foam with cream and caviar … a nice twist on the classic that emphasized the texture of the caviar.
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2nd course: Berkshire pork belly Thai style, inside iceberg lettuce. The drink at the top left was a distillation of lemongrass, fish sauce, and chile.
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3rd course, maybe? Otoro and a bunch of other stuff.
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5th course: A tribute to Auguste Escoffier: sea trout, chanterelle mushrooms, and in little boats made from short-bread cookies, a quail egg with black truffle (in the center boat) and fish roe (in the side boats). And yes, that means they were roe boats.
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7th Course: Wagyu beef with beets and fennel. My wife did not like this at all so I got two servings!
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One of the desserts: chocolate mouse, liquid nitrogen frozen chocolate mouse, mentholated chocolate crumbs and some other things.
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Disclosure: Nothing to disclose other than that I loved Alinea!

10 thoughts on “How to spend your trading gains: New Year’s Eve dinner at Alinea”

  1. Sounds like you enjoyed it. I’ve never been to a fancy restaurant like that before, but I’d like to some day. I’d even pass on a $12 cup of tea! Was it filling? I’ve always thought those types of restaurants gave you multiple courses, but small portions.

    1. Some were very small (just a big bite), but they add up. My wife just satisfied because she didn’t eat much of one of the larger courses, but I was quite full by the end. We are glad we had 10 courses and not the normal 24-course ‘touring’ menu.

  2. I think they’ve done things for vegetarians before, and all the rest would probably not be a problem except maybe for refined sugars. The cool thing about this caliber of restaurant is that they can do just about anything. The lady sitting next to us didn’t like champagne so she received some sort of sparkling elderberry cocktail instead.

    That being said, when you have that many restrictions, it gets a bit hard. I would argue that it is worth giving up your dietary restrictions for one night for this kind of meal (as long as you have them for health and not moral/ethical reasons).

  3. It looks great Michael, I hope you and your wife enjoyed it.
    This is my first comment from our apartment in Houston, partially moved in. I am working on the internet and cable connection. I’ve got dual monitors now but can’t figure out how to get them to work, I’m kinda ignorant when it comes to these types of things. Anybody that knows me would know that I’m ignorant on a lot of other things as well but this is the focus of attention for now. 🙂

  4. Good to know you had a nice time Michael…My girlfriend and I want to try Alinea…We live a few blocks around the corner from there.

    Interesting story to know about the owner/chef having cancer of his tonge and has difficulty tasting.

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