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inventolux

Moto Restaurant - Chicago

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We have made a unique discovery this week...............levitating food. It REALLY levitates!!!!!! I feel like a kid in a candy store right now.

And no, Moto will NOT close. We have chose to be diffrent and find our own vision, that is risky in a risky business, but business is great and we are moving forward at a more rapid pace than yesterday. I realize I have placed myself in the publics opinion, so far the opinion has been very positive. I was a bit sad to discover that there were egulleters that werent supportive of our vision. I have nothing but admiration for anyone that attemts to open a restaurant in this country and understands the risks involved. I knew this forum as a beacon of idea sharing and thats how I will strive to maintain it. Oh well, everyone has an opinion, most food savvy people know ours and I can certainly learn to respect theirs.

News from ground zero:

Oh yeah, we are also collaborating with some curators for the Smithsonian museum. They are interested in putting our utensils in one of their exhibits. We will be submitting 26 prototypes of utensils the world has never seen. (all of which have been under us patent for quite some time) Im thrilled we have the opportunity to share our vision to people that may not have the opportunity to experience moto.


Edited by inventolux (log)

Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu

Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant

www.motorestaurant.com

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We have made a unique discovery this week...............levitating food. It REALLY levitates!!!!!! I feel like a kid in a candy store right now.

And no, Moto will NOT close. We have chose to be diffrent and find our own vision, that is risky in a risky business, but business is great and we are moving forward at a more rapid pace than yesterday. I realize I have placed myself in the publics opinion, so far the opinion has been very positive. I was a bit sad to discover that there were egulleters that werent supportive of our vision. I have nothing but admiration for anyone that attemts to open a restaurant in this country and understands the risks involved. I knew this forum as a beacon of idea sharing and thats how I will strive to maintain it. Oh well, everyone has an opinion, most food savvy people know ours and I can certainly learn to respect theirs.

News from ground zero:

Oh yeah, we are also collaborating with some curators for the Smithsonian museum. They are interested in putting our utensils in one of their exhibits. We will be submitting 26 prototypes of utensils the world has never seen. (all of which have been under us patent for quite some time) Im thrilled we have the opportunity to share our vision to people that may not have the opportunity to experience moto.

Congratulations on the Smithsonian and the levitation! Any more details on the latter?

Next time I am in Chicago there are two restaurants in particular I want to visit - Alinea and Moto. Keep it up and continued good luck.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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We have made a unique discovery this week...............levitating food. It REALLY levitates!!!!!! I feel like a kid in a candy store right now.

first of all thank you sharing parts of your vision with us. for me it´s as interesting to read your topic as the alinea project.

but......levitating food? gimme some more! photos? descriptions!

good luck and thanx again

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I hope to God that Moto does not close as it is one out of only a handful of restaurants in Chicago that are pushing the envelope on a consistent level. And not only are they pushing the envelope, but they are doing so with conviction, not for novelty.

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i agree. i haven't eaten at moto in a few months now, but as i have heard much about the new concepts appearing here i will have to make room for it in the ol budget again :biggrin: my hat's off to homaru and company

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The Check, Please! segment said a lot about Moto, IMO. I was genuinely surprised by the solid consensus between the 3 reviewers. I expected a lot more cynicism from the 2 reviewers who didn't choose it. FWIW, the food shown in the segment looked delicious.

BTW, welcome to eGullet, Mike :smile:

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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thanks ronnie, i feel right at home here already :cool: i didn't see that episode of check please! but i did see the food network special talking about moto and trio (also featured, i have no idea why, was tizi melloul, where i used to work) anyhow, i've heard a lot of criticism about this sort of cuisine since i first ate there and really became aware of this new world of cooking. My first meal there was wonderful, and i left quite full, quite satisfied, and more than a little drunk (the wine tasting menu is brilliant, but lengthy :laugh: anyhow, if y'all haven't been, do go; and if you can, try to arrange a stage position for a day or two; extremely educational and a real treat.

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Well, I really, REALLY can't afford it, but after something of a rough year, I'm going to give myself an early christmas present and take myself and the missus to Moto on Wednesday for the GTM (or the 10-course menu - any suggestions as to which one would be best would be welcome...I assume the GTM) with wine pairings. I will certainly report back, although I said the same about Avenues a few weeks back and I still haven't...I haven't been near a computer much lately. Not thats there's anything wrong with that...

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GTM! GTM! GTM!

Sorry, hardly constructive but the sun is shining for what feels like the first time in about 2 months and I'm feeling playful.

The GTM with full wine tasting is expensive. I have a feeling it might have been the most expensive meal I had ever eaten earlier this year. It was more expensive than Trio, but we did kick off with some good champagne so that might have pushed us over the edge. It is well worth having the paired wines, they really do add another level to the meal. The first time I had the GTM here I just drank champagne, which was great but my second GTM with wine was amazing.

That said, there's no point bankrupting yourself for one meal so GTM without wine would win over 10 course with wine for me. But that's because I'm more about the food than the wine.

I'm not sure if the levitating food is on the menu yet but if it is can you post about it? I was chatting with Wylie Dufresne of WD-50 about it and he was just desparate to know what the deal was.


Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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That said, there's no point bankrupting yourself for one meal...

It isn't? :huh:

Luckily, I come from a long line of people who have no idea how to manage money in a senisble manner, and I have some cash saved up for times like this....so the GTM with wine pairings it is! I am, as they say, totally excited.

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That said, there's no point bankrupting yourself for one meal...

It isn't? :huh:

Nope. The only thing worth bankrupting yourself for are shoes.


Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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That said, there's no point bankrupting yourself for one meal...

It isn't? :huh:

Nope. The only thing worth bankrupting yourself for are shoes.

Is that you, Sarah Jessica? :laugh:


There are two sides to every story and one side to a Möbius band.

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

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4 ways to levitate food:

Type a: Negative ion propulsion, most objects, including food have a positive ion charge, if you give it a negative ion charge, they repel. Solids, liquids and gases.

Type b: foams created with a mixture of helium and nitrous oxide

Type c: using a calculated amount of cfm's to push objects upward

type d: using the meissner effect with superconductors and liquid nitrogen (also a futuristic type of "perpetual motion"

All of these forms are still being tweeked for final dishes and I suspect will be complete and on the menu by mid january.

GTM! GTM! GTM!

Sorry, hardly constructive but the sun is shining for what feels like the first time in about 2 months and I'm feeling playful.

The GTM with full wine tasting is expensive. I have a feeling it might have been the most expensive meal I had ever eaten earlier this year. It was more expensive than Trio, but we did kick off with some good champagne so that might have pushed us over the edge. It is well worth having the paired wines, they really do add another level to the meal. The first time I had the GTM here I just drank champagne, which was great but my second GTM with wine was amazing.

That said, there's no point bankrupting yourself for one meal so GTM without wine would win over 10 course with wine for me. But that's because I'm more about the food than the wine.

I'm not sure if the levitating food is on the menu yet but if it is can you post about it? I was chatting with Wylie Dufresne of WD-50 about it and he was just desparate to know what the deal was.


Edited by inventolux (log)

Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu

Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant

www.motorestaurant.com

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4 ways to levitate food:

Type a: Negative ion propulsion, most objects, including food have a positive ion charge, if you give it a negative ion charge, they repel. Solids, liquids and gases.

Type b: foams created with a mixture of helium and nitrous oxide

Type c: using a calculated amount of cfm's to push objects upward

type d: using the meissner effect with superconductors and liquid nitrogen (also a futuristic type of "perpetual motion"

All of these forms are still being tweeked for final dishes and I suspect will be complete and on the menu by mid january.

Can't believe that I'll missing the floating food by such a narrow margin...I'm sure it'll still be a pretty good experience though :wink:


Edited by VeryApe77 (log)

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I had a really, really good meal at Moto last night - one of the best I've ever had in a restaurant. We ended up going ahead and having the GTM with wine pairings, and am very glad that we did. I'm slightly baffled by some of the reviews I have read that have levelled charges of pretension at this place - we had a very un-pompus evening, with a lot of laughter. The food and wine service was pretty much perfect, as was the food, which was very creative, but also very delicious (quite a balancing act). My SO's appetite gave up the ghost around the 15th or 16th course (which is hardly the restaurant's fault - hopefully no one in the kitchen took offense at the last couple of courses coming back only half-eaten), but aside from that, this was a great, great evening. It also had hands-down the most memorable opening of any meal I've ever had - I would go into more detail, but fear someone reading this might be planning to have the GTM there soon (in which case, describing what happened would be something like giving away the ending of 'The Sixth Sense' - the surprise was part of the fun).

I'd love to go into more detail about the various dishes we had - but I need to go back to work :angry: I'll try to write more soon though...

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Come on! The suspense is killing me! I'm eating vicariously through you at the moment Very Ape!!!


Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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had dinner at moto on tuesday the 14th, I have never had that much fun at a restaurant in my life, it was my second gtm and can't wait to do it again, omar is a bad ass.............................................

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Having lived in Nashville, I found Chef Sean Brock on eG. Having an interest in his work (theoretically: who knows when/if I will ever get back there), I occasionally check members' posts. That is sometimes a serendipitous way to find treasures online.

That led me to this thread, which I just love. Moto seems like Manresa in a certain sense. Both seem adventurous and devoted to surprise that balances with charm.

I like this thread for so many reasons.

Would love to visit Moto. But when?

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General question about Moto.....

I'll be coming in from KC during first quarter of next year (assuming that's when Nick Cave is going to start his U.S. tour....WOOOHOOO!), and I've been wanting to eat at Moto for a while now.

What is anyone's opinion on the prospect of solo dining at Moto? Any of my travel companions who would spend the money are not what I'd call the adventurous type when it comes to food. Sure, I could talk them into it, but then I'd sit there all night waiting to feel bad about dishes they wouldn't try (and their combinations of dietary restrictions and food phobias are too numerous to even think of asking the kitchen to accomodate them). I have no fears when it comes to being a lone diner, but when I think about the time investment in something like the GTM and the interactive nature of the meal, I just wonder if it would be a good bet. I ate at WD-50 earlier this year (not that it's the same thing, but my closest point of comparison), and while I would have loved the tasting menu if I ate it alone, so much of the experience was bouncing comments and ideas off of those around me.

Anyone have any thoughts? Worst case scenario, I guess I could take my little notebook and profusely scribble notes in the hopes of coming up with a food related paper topic for my American Studies major, lol!

Thanks,

Jerry

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General question about Moto.....

I'll be coming in from KC during first quarter of next year (assuming that's when Nick Cave is going to start his U.S. tour....WOOOHOOO!), and I've been wanting to eat at Moto for a while now. 

What is anyone's opinion on the prospect of solo dining at Moto?  Any of my travel companions who would spend the money are not what I'd call the adventurous type when it comes to food.  Sure, I could talk them into it, but then I'd sit there all night waiting to feel bad about dishes they wouldn't try (and their combinations of dietary restrictions and food phobias are too numerous to even think of asking the kitchen to accomodate them).  I have no fears when it comes to being a lone diner, but when I think about the time investment in something like the GTM and the interactive nature of the meal, I just wonder if it would be a good bet.  I ate at WD-50 earlier this year (not that it's the same thing, but my closest point of comparison), and while I would have loved the tasting menu if I ate it alone, so much of the experience was bouncing comments and ideas off of those around me.

Anyone have any thoughts?  Worst case scenario, I guess I could take my little notebook and profusely scribble notes in the hopes of coming up with a food related paper topic for my American Studies major, lol!

Thanks,

Jerry

I think solo dining is perfectly fine, even at fine dining venues. If nothing else, it shows the chef/waitstaff that you're a serious diner. And it's my experience that the experience becomes more food-focusesd to the diner, as you don't have to worry about anyone else's reactions. I'd say go for it! :smile:

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My first meal at Moto was a GTM by myself. I recall found the servicestaff very keen to interact, in fact they interacted more when I ate alone than when I went back accompanied. That said, your point about having someone to bounce comments off is a good one - I would definitely agree that a pad is a very good idea, I think you'll have a pleasantly cerebral experience and you'll want to make notes!

On the subject of WD-50 I think you might find that the food is even more "out there" and innovation. Certainly more interactive and with a very different atmosphere. I'll be keen to hear your thoughts on how the two compare. Promise you'll post?


Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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Thanks for the comments! This is very helpful. And I guess when I think about the many solo dining experiences I've had, comments about the staff being more interactive than usual definitely rings true.

I'll absolutely post and compare, now it's all up to that pesky Nick Cave coming over from Europe to do a Chicago show, lol!

Jerry

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OK, I finally have a few minutes to write a more detailed report of my meal at Moto last week. I may get some details wrong (as it was a wonderfully long, boozy meal) but here it is. Sorry, but I don't have a digital camera, so no pictures! I'll also try not to say "I liked it" too often...although I really did!

Amuse - one bite - I believe that this was ricotta with some serano ham and some puffed amaranth. Delicious, and a great way to start the meal.

*Experimental cell phone course* - As I said in my first post, not sure that I should give this one away just yet (as I think we only the second diners to experience it) - one of the best parts of the meal though

First course - Champagne & Oysters. This was grapes and oysters that had somehow been carbonated in a nitrogen canister (I think?) so that they popped on the tongue like Pop Rocks. Lovely, and made even better by the large heaping of caviar on top (apparently locally harvested, although again I could be wrong.

After this course, we were told to turn our dish (although dish is really not the word, it was a z-shaped metallic object - not sure how else to describe it) over. On the other side was a little Ziploc bag containing the somewhat infamous "Moto Maki". I liked it. It tasted like Nori, which I love, so...

Second course - a soup with cotton candy. This was actually two soups - one was a cold melon soup, the other a hot squash soup. They were both served in the same bowl, but (I imagine one was thicker the other) did not combine at all! A neat trick. This was served with beet cotton candy. I love cotton candy and beet so this worked for me. You were advised to try each part of the course by itself at first, and then have fun mixing them all up. Which we did.

Third course - fried salad with bruleed untensils. This was a fried globe containing some yummy fennel, served on top of a more conventional fennel salad. It was eaten with the famous herbaceous utensils, which had springs of thyme in them, with a clove of garlic that had been bruleed right at the end of it (so that when you took a bite, your nose almost hit the garlic). Very nice. I wasn't sure about these utensils, but they actually really worked well, and added a whole new dimension to the course. On a side note, my SO come very close to eating the garlic (she loves garlic) but thought better of it.

Forth Course - winter squash & curry. This was actually 3 little one-bite courses. They were all nice, but the best by far was a piece of squash that had braised (if memory serves) that was served with a curry sauce. This sauce apparently had 30 or so spices in it, and was very complex. The best thing about this, though, was how well it tasted with the wine that was paired for this course (a Domaine Marcel Deuiss "Gruenspiel" from the Alsace, I think). I've never had a wine that really went with curry before but this was awesome.

Fifth Course - Sea Scallop with Keeta Roe. This was one of the best course we had. It was a nice large scallop that had been sautéed, along with some little bay scallops, some little deep fried sea eels (I forget the exact name) and some of the potato chip sauce discussed earlier in this thread (in Scott DFW's review). On top of this sauce was some roe that had apparently just come from Japan and was AMAZING. It had a very, very Smokey flavor. This dish was full of very bold flavors, but also felt very simple, and the little deep fried things were very welcome.

Sixth course - Duck Pull Apart. Scott DFW already described this, so I won't. I liked it a lot...duck is probably my all time #1 meat, so this was always bound to be a hit with me.

Seventh Course - Sunchoke Sorbet with a lemon-thyme jello. A palate cleanser. This was very nice (I believe that yuzu was also involved here), although my SO said that she didn't get enough of a sunchoke flavor. I agreed with her until my last bite, which tasted like a sunchoke slushie! Very refreshing.

After this, we were served an extra course, not listed on the menu. I believe it was called the "potato box" or something like that. It was a little one-bite course and was just that - a little delicate stick box made of one piece of carved French fried potato, served on a stick. Inside was a ball of potato. I truly wish I could have taken a photo of this, as words fail me somewhat. It tasted like a very good French fry, but the best thing about this was truly the way it looked. This must have taken a very long time to make and all for something so quick to eat. The attention to detail was much appreciated.

Eighth Course - Pizza and French Fry. I was a little taken aback to be served another French fry course, after the last one. I didn't mind though - who doesn't like French fries? This was also a very delicate presentation of the French fry. It was actually a chain of little French fries, not unlike a strand of chain mail, or a daisy chain. However, it was all made from a single strand of potato (hence the singular plural), which, once again, must have taken ages to carve (and, once again, I am doing an awful job of describing). Our waiter mentioned that Chef Cantu had learned this method from a French Chef, who apparently thought that it was a cool method, but far too time-consuming to actually have on a menu. I guess Chef Cantu took them as fighting words! This was served on top of some braised red pepper, which was cooked with 30 different spices that one associates with pizza. It did, indeed, taste like pizza! A very fun, comforting course. My SO mentioned that a glass of coke might be a good pairing with this, but we were happy to have some nice red instead!

Ninth Course - Bass Prepared Tableside. This has been described a lot here, so frankly I won't bother except to say that fish was cooked perfectly, and was served with a puree of caramelized cauliflower and some baby corn shoots. I'd never had the latter before and was surprised at how they tasted (kind of an spicy aniseed taste - very nice with the bass)

Tenth Course - bobwhite quail with a Swiss chard squeeze. Once again (at a risk of sounding lazy) Scott DFW described this dish in his review, so I won't. I really liked the quail though - lovely and fatty tasting, not unlike duck (I'd never had quail before).

Eleventh Course - Long Island Capon & Kentucky Fried Ice Cream - this actually looked a bit different then the picture in Scott DFW's review. The Ice Cream is now served in the same manner as dipping dots (in fact, it looked a bit - although not exacty - like this). A very nice dish, and the ice cream really did taste like KFC - not a bad thing in my book. The beet and squash purees also really went well with the capon.

Twelfth Course - Margarita with Chips and Salsa - A great little course. I could be wrong, but I think the table next to us raved about it so much that they were served it twice! Two little spoons, containing one looked like a scoop of green sorbet on one and a scoop of some kind of puree on the other. We were instructed to eat the puree first and then the sorbet. The puree (if that’s what it really was) tasted just like chips and salsa. The sorbet (if, once again, that’s what it really was) tasted just like a Margarita. Within the space of 10 seconds or less, the inside of my mouth suddenly tasted like I was in one of the many great little taquerias near my house, waiting for my main course. This course really made us laugh (although this could have been the wine) and I mean that in a good way.

Thirteenth Course - New York Strip with Cauliflower Mushrooms - If I recall correctly, this was some slices of steak that had been cooked sous-vide, some that had been cooked another way (I really can't remember), some oxtail meat that I think had been braised, the mushrooms and a yellow sauce described as "baked potato with the works" - which, yes indeed, tasted like a baked potato with bacon, cheese and chives. The steak was nice, but the star of the show was the oxtail (which nice and really sweet) and the "potato". I enjoyed this course, but was frankly ready for the desserts at this point. I liked it, don’t get me wrong, I was just getting in the dessert mood I suppose.

Cheese Course (not listed on the menu)- a nice big slap of Maytag Blue Cheese (I think), which had printed on top of it some text (and I think even some little drawings) describing (in some depth) the history of the cheese! A fun, and even educational, course! The table next to us actually was so interested that they leant over and had a look, which we were fine with. This was also served with two little accompaniments, the best of which was some crushed nuts that I think had been frozen somehow (???) as they were very cold tasting. They tasted great with the cheese.

Fourteenth and fifteenth Course - Oatmeal Stout and Venezuelan Chocolate/Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Pellets with 125-Year-Old Balsamico - These were listed separately on the menu, but were served together. The stout and chocolate was almost like a little hot smoothie - it tasted much as you might imagine. I love stout and it went really well with the chocolate. Even better were the pumpkin pie pellets, which, once again were like little dipping dots. It had never occurred to me how good pumpkin pie might taste with balsamico (esp. balsamico as rich as this) but this tasted amazing.

Sixteenth Course - Breakfast Cereal and bananas - once again this is the dish that Scott DFW had. At this point, my SO was getting very full, and could only eat half of this. I leapt at the chance to finish hers, which probably tells you all you need to know about this (then again, I never can have just one bowl of cereal).

Seventeenth Course - French Toast with Blueberry syrup - probably my least favorite dish of the night - I liked it (and was probably getting a little full myself) but it didn't really do it for me. The blueberry syrup was served in a little dome in the middle of the plate, which you pierce yourself, and then watch as it leaks all over the French toast. That was pretty cool, I have to admit.

Eighteenth Course - Chocolate Rice Pudding Made Your Way - This has also been described here. Very nice, and a very rich way to end the meal. At this point, my SO was so full that she couldn't manage more then one bite. She later confessed that she thought this was amazing and was so annoyed that she didn't have room for it that she almost shed a few tears. Gawd bless 'er.

OK at this point, I was really full myself. Still, we both somehow found room for the mignardise - a truffled truffle. I really can't remember the details of this except that it involved A)White Truffles, B) Black Truffles and C) Chocolate. How can you go wrong with that? We both loved this, full or not.

So that was my meal. I should also add that that service (both food and wine) was pretty much flawless. Everyone who worked there really seemed to know what they were talking about, and also seemed to have a good sense of humor. We had a really, really good night, and I am definitely going to come back as soon as I can!


Edited by VeryApe77 (log)

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Nice report! I'm looking forward to Alinea's opening so I can plan a trip to Chicago to visit both Alinea and Moto.

Ferran Adria himself offered some positive comments on Moto in his Q&A.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Thanks for the excellent report, VeryApe77.

In case anyone is interested, there is a very detailed article by Jonathan Black about Chicago's avant garde food scene in the January 2005 issue of Chicago Magazine. The article focuses on Chef Cantu, Grant Achatz (Alinea) and Graham Elliot Bowles (Avenues). I don't think the piece is available on-line.

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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      I'm not a stranger to food science but nor am I a chemist. I understand that emulsifiers are at least sometimes prepared by pre-mixing them into a (heated?) liquid or fat and then using the resulting solution in the actual recipe, which may explain why a lot of commercial emulsifier mixtures are packages as tubes of gel or paste. I've also checked several industry-level textbooks about emulsifiers and while they are fantastic for in-depth explanations of the chemistry behind each emulsifier, they do not (as you might imagine) provide guidance on how a lowly baker or cook would actually use a powdered form.
       
      So does anyone know how to prepare and use a dry powdered form of any of the following in a real recipe?
       
      Specifically I am most interested in enhancing baked goods and adding stability to sauces, but would also like to know how to use them for other processes such as sausage-making too.
      E471 Mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids E481 Sodium stearoyl lactylate E482 Calcium stearoyl lactylate E472e DATEM (diacetyl tartaric acid ester of mono- and diglycerides)
        Thanks.
    • By mjbarnard
      I cooked two turkey breasts sous vide. This year had access to the Meater+ thermometer probe which I managed to vacuum seal in the bag without difficulty (it is small). Since it works wirelessly I was able to monitor and it records the internal temperatures at the thickest part of the breast.
      I thought the results were interesting. I cooked at 60C for 8 hours. I have always used https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/a-better-way-to-turkey-cook-that-bird-sous-vide-for-the-best-feast-ever which gives long cooking times at lower temperature. I have found that as according to this page https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2014/11/sous-vide-turkey-breast-crispy-skin-recipe-thanksgiving.html that 55C gives turkey which is just a little too pink for most tastes. Over the last few years have increased the temperature up to 59/60 and I find it perfect - very moist and tender, but pale not pink.
      See attached images. I changed my mind a couple of times and started at 58 then 60 then 59 again, so ignore the slight variations. The thing I found interesting was that the thickest part (of a large breast) reached 55C in around 1 hour 40 mins and target of 59 in 2 hours 30 mins. Now I appreciate that sous vide is a combination of temperature and time or duration, but the data make me think that around 4 hours would be sufficient, as per the seriouseats table. I have previously used the chefsteps 55-58 for their much longer advised times, up to 12 hours and the meat is still quite pink at the end, so I dont believe 55 for 12 hours would effectively be the same.
      From now on I will watching the internal temperatures with interest. This has always been the (relative) unkown for sous vide amateurs. 


    • By chefg
      I have to say designing the Alinea kitchen has been one of the most exciting experiences thus far in the opening of this restaurant. I have been fortunate to have been “raised” in some of the best kitchens in the country. When I arrived at the French Laundry in August 1996 the “new kitchen” had just been completed. Often times you would hear the man talk about the good old days of cooking on a residential range with only one refrigerator and warped out sauté pans with wiggly handles. When I started about 50% of the custom stainless steel was in place. The walls smooth with tile and carpet on the floors. I recall the feeling of anxiety when working for fear that I would dirty up the kitchen, not a common concern for most cooks in commercial kitchens.
      The French Laundry kitchen didn’t stop, it continued to evolve over the four years I was there. I vividly remember the addition of the custom fish/canapé stainless unit. Allowing the poissonier to keep his mise en place in beautiful 1/9 pan rails instead of the ice cube filled fish lugs. Each advancement in technology and ergonomics made the kitchen a more efficient and exacting machine.
      When I returned to the Laundry this past July for the 10th anniversary I was shocked that it had metomorphisized once again. The butcher room was now a sea of custom stainless steel low boys, the pot sink area was expanded, the walk-in moved, and an office added to the corner of the kitchen. The kitchen as I left it in June of 2001 was beautiful and extremely functional, of course it is even more so now. It is the relentless pursuit of detail and concise thought that allows the French Laundry kitchen to be one of the best for cooks to execute their craft…..16 hours a day.
      This was good motivation.
      When it came time to design my kitchen I drew on experiences at Trio, TFL and other kitchens I was familiar with to define the positives and negatives of those designs. We were faced with a 21x 44' rectangle. This space would not allow for my original kitchen design idea of four islands postioned throughout the kitchen, but ultimately gave way for the current design which I think is actually better than the original. But most the important aspect in shaping the final design was the cuisine. Due to the nature of food that we produce a typical layout with common equipment standards and dimensions do not work. Here is where the team drew on our experiences from Trio. By looking at the techniques we utilized we came to several conclusions.
      1. A conventional range was not our main heat source. We do need the flat tops and some open burners for applications such as braising and limited stock work. But our overall use of this piece of equipment is somewhat low. Given that we wanted four open burners and two flat tops with two ovens I began to source out a reliable unit. We settled on the Molteni G230.

      2. Upon analyzing our other heat source needs we decided to place a large focus on induction. By utilizing portable induction burners we are allowed the flexibility to give as much power as needed to a specific station in the kitchen. Obviously induction’s radiant heat is very low, and this allows us to keep the temperature in the kitchen reasonable, yet the power is quite high. 31,000 BTU's of highly controlable heat. But the main reason for choosing this flexible source of heat is the fact that each chef typically employed at least four different cooking applications on a given night. This huge flux in technique and the realization that the menu would change entirely in 8 weeks time meant that we had to design a kitchen that could evolve on a nightly basis. And last, we are very specific with temperatures; induction makes it easier for us to hold a liquid at a predetermined temperature for long periods of time without fluctuation. They operate between 85 and 500 degrees farenheit. We did a great deal of research on the different producers of induction and favored Cooktek. The fact that they are the only U.S manufacturer of commercial induction cooking equipment and located in Chicago made the decision easier. Their innovative approach to induction may prove to be even more exciting as we are already talking about new product development in the future.

      3. a. The complexity of the presentations and a la minute plate-ups of the food require a great deal of surface area devoted to plating. This was one of the most critical factors in determining the basic shape of the kitchen. The size of some of today's popular plates, the amount detail in each composition, coupled with the fact that producing tasting menus vs. ala carte means sometimes large waves of same dish pick ups made it necessary for us to have over 44' of linear plating surface.
      b. Virtually nothing goes vertical above the 36” counter top in the space. All food, plates, equipment, and dry good storage are contained by under counter units. There are a few exceptions such as the infrared salamanders, the three-door refrigerator, and the hood. This allows all the cooks a clear line of communication between each other and the front staff. It allows me an easy sight line to survey the entire kitchen’s progress with a quick glance.
      Given these two points it seemed obvious that we needed to combine the two and create custom pieces that would fulfill both needs. Large spans of plating surfaces with all food and equipment storage below. As you can see we ended up with two 22’ long units. Each function as a pass and under counter storage.
      The building is 21’ wide wall to wall. This allowed us just enough space to create two lines on each exterior wall with their passes forming a 60” corridor for the pick up of plates and finishing of dishes.
      4. We decided to add a station to the kitchen. At Trio we had five including:
      a. pastry
      b. cold garde manger
      c. hot garde manger
      d. fish
      e. meat
      Now that we had more space, and the ability to give each station multiple heat
      sources regardless of their location in the kitchen, we could spread the workload even further. We also realized it doesn’t make much sense to identify each station by classic French Bragade terms. A saucier did not solely cook meat with classic techniques and prepare various traditional stocks and sauces…in fact quite the opposite. This holds true with most of the stations, with the exception of pastry, but even they will have very unconventional techniques, menu placement and involvement in the kitchen systems. We will add a station that will be responsible for a large majority of the one-bite courses both sweet and savory.
      5.Given the size constraints of the building we realized a walk-in would not be possible in the kitchen. If we were to have one it would be in the basement. Having experienced this at Trio we decided to design the kitchen without a walk-in, making up for the space in various lowboy locations and a three-door reach-in. I experienced the walk-in less environment when I worked at Charlie Trotter’s. It is certainly different, but as with most things if done properly it provides a very efficient environment. It works best in situations where fresh products are brought in daily for that days use. And prevents ordering in large quantities. It also provides us with very specific units to house different items. We will utilize the 3-door refrigerator to store the majority of the vegetables and herbs along with some staple mise en place, and items that cannot be made in very small quantities like stocks. Raw meat will have it’s own lowboys as well as fish, dairy, and all frozen products.
      6. At Trio we found ourselves using the salamander a great deal. It is very useful for melting sugar, bringing on transparent qualities in things like fat and cheese, cooking items intensely on only one side, and it is a highly controllable non-direct heat source. Due to the air gap between the foodstuff and the heat elements the cook can control the degree of heat applied to the dish based on the technique he is using. It becomes a very versatile tool in the modern kitchen, so much so that we will install three Sodir infrared salamanders.

      Again, this is to insure that all the cooks have access to all of the techniques in the kitchen. As I said before it is important for our cooks to be able to sauté, simmer, poach, fry, grill, salamander, and freeze at the same time and sometimes for the same dish.
      We have a few unusual pieces of equipment in the kitchen; the most is probably a centrifuge. A few months ago Nick and I were driving home from a design meeting and ended up talking about signature dishes and menu repetition. Of course the black truffle explosion came up and he asked if I would have it on the menu at Alinea. I replied a firm no, but shortly thereafter said I would enjoy updating it. We threw around some tongue and cheek ideas like White Truffle Implosion, and Truffle Explosion 2005….I said it was a goal of mine to make a frozen ball with a liquid center….but then dismissed it as nearly impossible. Within a few minutes he said …”I got it…we need a centrifuge” His explanation was simple, place the desired liquid in a spherical mold and place on the centrifuge…place the whole thing in the freezer. Within days he had one in the test kitchen. I guess this is better suited for the kitchen lab topic that we will be starting in a few weeks…
      We are working on a upload of the kitchen blueprints. When those post I plan on going into more detail about certian aspects of the design. Doing so now would be pointless as the viewer does not have a reference point.
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