Restaurant Review: Alinea (Warning – iPhone pics!)

I had no idea what was coming.  All I knew was… I was late.  Standing in my undies, hair half-dried and make-up questionable, the door rang simultaneously with the phone.  I fumbled with the call box of our new apartment to let my separation-anxiety ridden dog’s “baby-sitter” up, as I answered my brother’s call with a falsely cool, “we’ll be right down!”  I’m amazed nothing was broken as I tore through the house and down the stairs.  I was almost surprised to see my husband sitting next to me in my brother’s new conversion van; he made it, too!  And yes, I said conversion van, circa 2004, very “my brother.”  He makes a nice living for himself, nice enough to treat us all to an amazing evening out at possibly the nicest restaurant in the States, yet he couldn’t give a flip about money, and instead, gets really jazzed about his hand-me-down van, one that allows him to put a mattress in the back for long road trips.  Not to mention, he just got the van that day, so we were driving to Alinea sans license plate.  Maybe the first ever illegal conversion van to pull up to that valet stand, a badge of honor we wore with pride.

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Did you bring the camera?

The answer to the question was sadly, no. We forgot the camera.

Feeling the unwelcomed pit of the forgotten in our stomachs, the lush English country-side whipped by the train windows undocumented. We sighed our heads back into the fabric-lined seats and absorbed the news that our journey to experience Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s fantastic River Cottage Headquarters would be documented with an iPhone. Survival-style.
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Dancing with Seattle.

I’ve gotta narrow my Seattle trip down for you. Just the highlights. In honor of all the kids who have to head back to school this week, awash in structure and syllabuses, I am going to tell you about my Seattle trip with no timeline at all… for the kids.

As a matter of fact, why don’t we just skip right to the good stuff. Chew the lollipop.

I got to go to Delancey. For those of you who may not be obsessively interested in a girl named Molly Wizenberg, there’s a food blog called Orangette that you must not have visited yet. And a book called “A Homemade Life,” that is begging you to read it. And once you do, you will be hoping a plane to Seattle, sitting at the counter of an adorable and sophisticated restaurant that doesn’t even have signage yet, eating one of the most delicious pizzas you have ever eaten and eavesdropping as Molly’s husband, Brandon, bakes your pie in a beautiful brick oven – right before your eyes. He’s nice, too. You could probably even talk to him, but if you are anything like me, you will just mumble something about how good the pizza is while you sit in giddy silence and chew. Here’s me geeked out. My hair is pulled back in a pony-tail. Unfortunately, it needed that preface. Brandon must have ducked, and Molly W. is tucked away behind the brick oven cranking out delicate and satisfying salads made with locally sourced greens. I am sporting a post-salad grin.

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