Alinea- Tasting or Tour?
Hi there...we have reservations for Valentine's Day weekend for Alinea, and I am counting down the days! I have been reading some articles, blogs, etc to get even more excited than I am right now-- and I have a question for those of you who have dined there:
From what I have read, it seems that the suggestion is for first-timers to do the 12 course tasting...but we have made reservations for the full tour (24 courses). Is this too overwhelming? We travel A LOT so chances are we might not circle back to Alinea for a while ...so I want to make the most of the experience. Any suggestions?
If you don't think you'll be able to get get back for a while, then I think the Tour is a good way to go. You may want to consider splitting the wine pairing with your dining companion (unless you're a big drinker or you're really into wine). That much food and wine might otherwise put a damper on other Valentine's Day "festivities" ;)
Been there twice. I would recommend the tasting. The tour is fantastic but long and sensory over-load. If you do the tasting you don't have to worry about splitting the wine pairings. You'll get a great sense of he place with the tasting. That said, I would never fault someone for the tour as it is fantastic but a long, long dinner.
We did the tasting and couldn't have eaten another bite - didn't eat much the next day either - so I'd suggest you eat very very little on the day and enjoy the ride!
I'd advise you to treat this as the once-in-a-lifetime experience that it might be, and shoot the works. My SO and I (both first-timers) did the Tour with wine pairings in October; it was about a 4.5 hour event, and every minute was a delight. We did slow down a bit toward the end, because there were a couple of dishes that were a little too rich to finish, but I wouldn't have done it differently.
It's a life-changing dinner, seriously.
If you can afford it, I highly recommend the Tour. I've eaten at Alinea 3 times, and these are definitely among the most memorable (and, yes, in a certain sense emotional) experiences of my life. Every time I go, I'm sad that there are "only" 25 or so courses. An Alinea meal is something I don't want to end.
That said, the difference between the Tasting and the Tour mostly consists of small (one-bite) courses. However, these are often some of the most incredible courses, so it seems worth it to me to drop the extra coin.