Well with all of the quarantining that has been going on over the last several months, we have had the opportunity to try some pretty fabulous take out! I’m not usually big on it, since I still end up doing dishes and usually I’m the one that flys, while my other half buys. Personally, I like going to a restaurant and having a change of scenery, being waited on, and not having the house smell like dinner afterward. However, we have been fortunate to have some pretty fabulous restaurants within reach that have embraced the format, and it has truly been a superior experience.
We are blessed to have Alinea, the only restaurant in Chicago to have earned the coveted Michelin 3-Star rating, now offering take out options to enjoy at home. We were gifted the Alinea 15th Anniversary dinner for Mother’s Day by our daughter, which was such a treat, so of course for Father’s Day we went for it again, this time getting Alinea’s riff on a classic Chicago Steakhouse dinner. The beauty of these meals is that they come complete with fabulous directions for flawless preparation and assembly, as well as everything you need, food-wise, down to the the little herb garnishes. Incredibly, thoughtfully put together.
With the directions in hand, and having watched the video on instagram for the meal preparation, we set out on our culinary journey for the night.
The first course was Maine Lobster Bisque, with a timbale of lobster and corn succotash, fresh croutons, and a little parsley garnish. After the soup had come to a simmer on the stove, we added the sherry that was premeasured and included in the kit, this was a no fail soup. I took the tip from Chef Grant Achatz, and pressed the lobster and corn into the little cup, then turning it onto the soup bowl and lightly tapping it to release. All four held their shape! The soup was free poured around the bowl and was simply delicious.
Next, we had a lovely salad of fresh tomatoes and English Cucumber, with a delightful red wine & herb vinaigrette, topped with capers and a fresh basil garnish. It was a perfect foil to the the lobster bisque, cutting through the richness and setting you up for the richness to come!
While we were having our first two courses, the potatoes au gratin have been cooking in the oven getting ready to melt in your mouth, these were divine. Layers of potatoes with gruyere cheese, and topped with gruyere and Vermont cheddar, all in a pool of heavy cream. A perfect steakhouse side, but done in Alinea ⭐️⭐️⭐️ style.
The main course was filet au poivre, and it was beautiful! The meat came precooked to 140 degrees so all we had to do was put a nice caramelization on the top bottom and sides, and baste it with butter and herbs to finish. I wish I had taken a pic of the inside, but alas, I was to into enjoying this fabulous meal at home, but trust me, it was a perfect medium rare. This sat in a rich sauce of peppercorns, that seemed to have a hint of rosemary too, it was lovely.
The final course was a strawberry shortcake with fresh lemon whipped cream, garnished with a sprig of fresh mint. The strawberries were cut into a small dice and were bursting with flavor, the sauce was perfect for the shortcakes to soak up. We really lucked out, since this is one of my husband’s favorite desserts!
So there you have it, not our usual take out of pizza, salads, or salmon, but an evening of fine dining at home. I didn’t even mind washing all the dishes and pots and pans. One of the things that I have really enjoyed about the Alinea take out meal kits, is the interactive approach. I have learned some things about food preparation and I have enjoyed being involved with putting these fine meals on the table. I think the involvement is part of experience, kind of like the interaction that Alinea puts into your experience at the restaurant. If you ever get a chance to go, do it, it’s like no meal you have ever had!
It wouldn’t be a complete meal at our house without some wine! We started with the Pulgny-Montrachet before dinner, Kistler, one of my favorites with the soup and salad, and the beautiful 1999 Chateau Pavie with the filet and potatoes. A banner night celebrating a most worthy Father!
Bon appetit from the TAKE OUT QUEEN👑 !