Alinea for new foodie?
As a beginner into upscale dining would I be able to appreciate Alinea? I know this would typically be a question one must answer for themselves, however, I wanted to get the opinion of others who may have been in my position. That is someone who does not typically eat high end, multi course dinners, but went to Alinea. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
You don't need a degree to appreciate food. As to whether you'll understand all the ingredients/processes, that's another story. It's like watching "Rocky and Bullwinkle" you certainly enjoy it in your youth, but when you get older and appreciate the references you enjoy it on a new level.
As a new "foodie" I wouldn't make the mistake of necessarily equating being a foodie with appreciating high-end, multi-course dinners. You can be a "foodie" ie: have an interest in food, without being interested in high-end stuff. You can be a Chowhounder, too (see the Chowhound manifesto). Actually, after refreshing my memory, a Chowhounder is decidedly NOT a foodie.
Because you've expressed interest in Alinea, you should just go.
Alinea is an extraordinary experience. If you love food, you'll love the delights and surprises that Greg Achatz and his crew are (literally) cooking up for you. I have no idea how he does some of the things he does. It's certainly not the only way to enjoy chow in Chicago, but it is a unique way to do it.
My only caution with Alinea would be "Starting at the top" as it were - while it is hard to compare what Achatz is doing to anything/anyone else, I can honestly say that after my dinner at Alinea everything else is going to seem tame......without overstating, I'd rather drop $225 on the menu at Alinea than have four other $55 meals elsewhere.
Quite frankly, I'd "build up to" Alinea because while everything afterwards might be good, even great.....you find yourself thinking "man - that was awesome....but black truffle explosion......::sigh::" :-)
If you have that kind of money and don't need it, why not? But before you go, I would read his cookbook and read some background information on it/him (wiki lists some links) to see what he is trying to do. I think that will improve the experience a lot. I think walking in without understanding his philosophy is a mistake. Also, maybe read some stuff about adria as well, since in may ways he inspired achatz.
New foodies often have a lot of food dislikes (or mental hurdles) that get in the way of enjoying everything on a large tasting menu. If there are certain foods you don't like yet (offal, maybe some seafood) you might want to work your way up to an expensive menu.
On the other hand, if you like everything, go for it.