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Friday, November 2, 2012

Might I Recommend a Wine Pairing? or Don't Look Now, But There's Snails on Yer Plate

 You just knew the night was going to be special.  I had, after all, been advised to both shave my legs AND brush my teeth.

It is Saturday night, and Sarah and I are in Chicago.

Two days previous, she had informed me that we had reservations at Moto.

“At where now?”

She smiles indulgently at me.  “Oh, silly, silly Pearl,” she says, her blue eyes crinkling with love.  “Only some of the most exciting food coming out of Chicago.”

“I like exciting food,” I say.

“Coming out of Chicago,” she prompts.

I nod.  “Coming out of Chicago,” I say.

We stare at each other.

“So what can I expect at this place?”

Sarah begins to chuckle – a chortle, really.  “You may expect,” she sighs, “gastronomic indulgence.  Molecular cooking.  The world’s smallest spare ribs floated on an edible menu in a bowl of lost innocence.”

“Sounds delish,” I say.

“Hmmm.”  She grins.  “Quite.”

And as always, when one is doing anything with Sarah, one does it with anticipatory glee, with aplomb (see “shaved legs” referenced above) and mirth.

A lot of mirth.

Reservations are at 8:00, and we find ourselves in an area of town known as the Fulton Market, something similar in appearance – but much bigger – to the Warehouse District in Minneapolis. 

We are seven, perhaps eight blocks into this particular neighborhood when I lean over to whisper into Sarah’s ear:  “We shall be separated from our belongings and eventually sold by the strip in high-end food marts under the tag of Free-Range Jerky”.  Sarah snorts appreciatively and the taxi driver peers anxiously into his rearview mirror.

We eventually emerge from the taxi, whole and un-jerked, and find ourselves seated in a room decorated in black, gray, and white.  A large ceramic platter is delivered to the table, one for each of us.  Across this plate are dabs – tastes, really – of the 15-course meal that lies ahead of us.

Fifteen courses.

And I’m gonna do it, I whisper to Sarah, in pantyhose.

What can I tell you about a 15-course meal and the 15 forks and spoons?  Shall I tell you about the course referred to as “Breakfast radish”?  About the quacamole that came in a pestle, the majority of its ingredients in the shape of an avocado?

What about the “Reindeer lichen” course, served on a rock?

How about we just talk about “Farm house”?  Because if there’s anything I look for in a dish, it’s that it comes in a large glass canister half-filled with clean straw and served in an egg shell.

And this one was.

 What does one say about cream of braised rabbit served chilled in an egg shell?  Of miniature roasted carrots or tiny squares of roasted squash?  Of sunflower crisps?

What does one say, other than “mmmmm”? 

One says very little, actually.  One simply grins at her friend from across the table and raises her wine glass.

Cheers, Sarah.


mybabyjohn/Delores said...

You must have fallen down the rabbit hole the day you visited THAT restaurant. Anyone for McDonalds?

Shelly said...

My innate southern hick would have really showed at this place.

But then, I think everyone should get to experience something like this once in a lifetime. And in pantyhose.

Pearl said...

Delores, truly, it was delicious!

Shelly, oh, there was a bit of hick-style giggling involved. :-) But well-prepared food is well-prepared food, and I now find myself able to say things like "did you try the lichen? it's superb". Remember Euell Gibbons? "Most parts ARE edible!"

Pine cone reference from the 70s. :-)

esbboston said...

I can only (is think the right word?) mmmmm-ini-mmmmm-u-mmmmm.

There was an interesting show on PBS on food and flavor this week, but I only saw the last half so far.

This reminded me that I need to water my plants.

Shelly said...

Oh, I remember Euell well. My sister and I got into big trouble once for getting my little brother to eat some leaves and small twigs from a tree because, "Euell says they're good!"

Pearl said...

esb, it was, as I like to say "de-lish". :-) And yes. For cryin' out loud, brother! Water your plants!

Shelly, I love it. :-) You can still get a laugh at my parents' house by saying "most parts are edible".

Simply Suthern said...

Clean Straw? How you do that?

I am sure it was all delish but like some of you others I am sure I would have made a comment of something being baitish.

I must admit I've never been anywhere I needed to shave my legs first. I spose I am missing out.

Pearl said...

Simply, I ate several things I'd never had before and loved them all. :-) I think I just have to face facts: I'll try anything once!

Teresa Evangeline said...

The Hyatt Regency, Mpls, 1990. Between courses a small round ball of sorbet served in a glass calla lily. That's as good as it's gotten for me. This sounds outlandishly perfect for a Pearl of great price! :)

savannah said...

i will be laughing out loud over "most parts are edible" for days, sweet pea!

but, now, to your dining experience, the question has to be: it may have been de-lish, but would you eat there again?


Leenie said...

Adventures on foodery! Now that's something you won't get around here unless you eat out with the Boy Scout troop. (Which I have PLUS no panty hose were required). Love the photos. (grin)

Pearl said...

Teresa, isn't it wonderful? Life is so serious sometimes that when someone offers you a sorbet in a glass calla lily -- or a crispy bit of lichen served on a hot rock! -- you take it. :-)

Savannah, I probably would not. :-) There are many places to go and many tastes to be explored. I will say, however, that the experience really opened my eyes. I'd never had food presented to me in such a way, never had the play of flavors like that before, and I'm a HUGE fan of it. My friend Mary used to shout "TAKE ME TO JAIL!" when overcome with joy. That's how I feel about this!

Pearl said...

Leenie, I was just thinking of you!! Seriously.
I have three pair of pantyhose I like to keep lying around. :-) Makes me feel like something special might happen!
And honestly, I love well-made food, so if the Boy Scouts know what they're doing, I'm there!

Pat said...

Ilove the idea of all those tastes. A sort of pick and mix.

Pearl said...

Pat, exactly. :-)

Suldog said...

We weren't able to work a visit to Moto into our schedule when we vacationed in Chicago. It would have been a kick. Of course, with my appetite we probably would have had to stop on the way back for an Italian Beef or a couple of Chicago Hot Dogs. Little dabs are great fun but not filling.

Bodacious Boomer said...

Personally I think I'll just drag my knuckles along the ground as I head to the taqueria for some enchiladas.

fmcgmccllc said...

Sounds fabulous, the food divine, and freshly shaved legs.

Picture is also fab, nice manicure. I think you clean up real good.

Geo. said...

Why am I thinking of wild hickory nuts? Hadn't thought of Euell Gibbons as a pioneer of avant-garde cuisine but see the connection. Your account is a real treat!

fishducky said...

Your comment about brushing your teeth & shaving your legs reminded me of when we bought a vacation home in a very small town & were invited to a semi-formal party at the local naval base. I asked my neighbor what semi-formal meant there. Her answer--"Deodorant OR perfume!"

A friend, when introducing new foods to her very young daughter, required her to eat TWO bites because the taste or consistency might be a surprise on the first bite. It worked very well.

Eva Gallant said...

wow! Sounds elegant...and expensive!

Buttons said...

Wow I love this new photo story thing you have goin' on.
That food is very interesting indeed being down here on the farm I am thinking I could sell you it a little cheaper but the ambiance would not be a good.
I think it was worth the shaving and pulling on of said panty hose.I have been known to eat in weird places and weird food but I must say you topped me. Cheers.B

Jacquelineand.... said...

It sounds like a grand time to me...maybe even worth shaving my legs above the knees!

Stephen Hayes said...

You sound like an adventurous "foodie." I don't know if my stomach could handle some of those items. Sounds like you had a blast, though.

Sherry Ellis said...

Wow! Now that's what I call an experience!

bill lisleman said...

I took a quick look at it's web page and I think I would leave hungry and with less money. But as a one time experience why not. I've even drank champagne more than once.

jenny_o said...

I am one of those depressing creatures whose veggies shall be plain, whose wee bit of meat shall be boiled, and whose bread shall be processed to within an inch of its yeasty life. Nay, no food adventures here. But I'm glad you had a good time, and contributed to the economy!!


Vapid Vixen said...

Oh wow. What the?? How on earth did you keep a straight face. I seriously want to go there!!! I never even knew such things existed. I'm hearing Aladdin and Jasmine singing their duet of A Whole New World and I want to be a part of it dammit!

The Jules said...

That looks ace. Similar to my own packed lunch really.

"Waiter, may I have another lichen spatula, this one has a mark on it."

Linda O'Connell said...

Those little dabs would have had my tongue tap dancing on my palate and my tummy rum-tum-tumming for real portions. I'm not as adventurous. Glad you had an enjoyable feast.

River said...

It all looks very interesting, but I think I'll stick with a plate of mashed potatoes with sausages and onion gravy. Maybe a carrot or two.

sage said...

Wow, you don't even have to travel far to eat weird stuff.

Sarah Has Moxie said...

ridiculous and wonderful and weird and fussy and once in a lifetime, for sure....sometimes being away and being in some place so completely out of the norm inspires great things...but I bet deepdish pizza is just as satisfying :)

Laoch of Chicago said...

That's an interesting place. The Chef is very much a mad scientist type.

wellfedfred said...

Hi, Pearl, Paris next? Although it's hard to top Chicago. Trying to imagine what's near to the "meat" district, Back of the Yards?

Craver Vii said...

You came to Chicago and ate cream of braised rabbit?! Oh poor Pearl. I'm so sorry.

I expect the wine was good. Since California revolutionized the wine industry, I have sampled some, but rarely anything that goes into double digits. So maybe I'm not a very good judge when it comes to wine.

But I'm confident that you enjoyed the time spent with your friend, regardless of the culinary oddities.