14th Course: Pineapple
This was novel: an envelope plastic-like envelope that tasted of pineapple enclosed a mix of Thai basil, shards of freeze-dried pineapple, two small slices of Chinese sausage, and a tangy tamarind gel and syrup.
One pulls the envelope off the wire, a la the bacon from the earlier-Alinea menus. Note: be gentle when pulling, as a corner of my envelope was launched into a nearby diner's dish.
Taste: You're supposed to put the whole think in your mouth at once... but this was slightly uncomfortable - like a huge leathery tongue depresser that paralyzes your tongue until the envelope dissolves... Not only are most of the elements Asian, but the taste was definitely Asian. On a pedestrian level, it tasted of "Hawaiin pizza" without the pizza - pineapple and ham. But, that's really an oversimplification. The sweetness of the pineapple and sausage and the bright tangy tamarind and spicy-herby basil planted both of this course's feet in South East Asia. It was very good and interesting - but rather unpleasant to eat - especially in the initial stage when the rather stale-tasting leathery envelope is dissolving in your mouth. After you get past that stage, the contents were pretty good.