Friday, the guy originally complaining about this cursed canapé then wrote to complain some more about how his complaints were mishandled.
I tried to be charming and soothing, but the more I tried, the uglier the conversation grew. So into the filter he went. I considered posting the exchange here, but honestly, it was just depressing, all this angst about an amuse-bouche.
Then the folks at the local news site which broke the story picked up the complaint itch, complaining on Twitter that I had shat on their news gathering skills with my less-than-reverent reference to their reportage. The shock of it—I thought I was giving them a grinning shout-out—must have stunned me senseless, because I defended myself on Twitter, alway a mistake. I felt like a mastodon stuck in a tar pit, attacked by raptors.
So I blocked all involved, vented to a few actual friends in the living world, was soothed by their response, so rare on social media: human kindness. Then I moved on, which is one of my superpowers.
When my boss asked me to gather thoughts on Alinea’s new novel coronavirus-shaped canapé, conscientious newsman that I am, I suggested heading over right away to try the tidbit. To comment intelligently, I had to first sample the purplish sphere of coconut custard with Szechuan peppercorn, dotted with freeze-dried raspberries that caused some on Instagram to grouse that lives lost to COVID-19 are being mocked by a confection.
Shoe-leather reporting. Direct experience. Can’t beat it.
Alas, time is of the essence. So all I could do is acquaint myself with the thorough treatment by Block Club Chicago, which sadly chose to quote one, count ’em, one disgruntled person by name, complaining on Instagram. “This isn’t ok ... this isn’t ‘cute.’ This is shameful,” wrote the irked individual, whose identity we’ve decided to shield, out of an excess of kindness.
No, what’s shameful is Donald Trump insisting America’s schools reopen in the fall, pandemic be damned. As are the same people who are willing to sacrifice Grandma to stay behind him now tossing Junior onto the pyre as well. Our nation marinates in humiliation like Hawaiian chicken.
This is ... well, wry. Artsy. Maybe a little decadent. Much like Alinea itself, though I hasten to note that the custard with the controversial shape was not served at Grant Achatz’s 3-Michelin star Lincoln Park shrine, but at AIR — Alinea in Residence — a West Loop rooftop pop-up. It’s offered after prospective diners have had their temperature checked and are given a mask: if anything, the treat is a commentary on where we are at this awkward moment.
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