Alinea – Chicago

Alinea in Chicago, in January. With the wind howling off lake Michigan it’s a very cold place, especially so this year. A polar vortex brought freezing temperatures far below normal. Who in their right mind would plan an excursion there in the dead of winter? Well I did, and the great salesman that I am, persuaded three friends to go with me. The lure was an opportunity to dine at Alinea. With amazing, imaginative food and theatre in equal measure, it’s a highly sought ticket.

Le Bernardin – NYC

Le Bernardin sits atop the restaurant world in the United States, recently named the best by La Liste. Accolades are nothing new for partner’s Maguy Le Coze and Eric Ripert, holding both a three star Michelin and a four star New York Times rating. In addition there are innumerable James beard and World’s best awards.

Atomix – NYC

Atomix, pronounced counter intuitively as Aa-toe-mix was the unexpected gastronomic thrill of our recent visit to NYC. I knew that Atomix held a recently acquired Michelin star and a 4 star NY Times rating, but they opened barely a year ago without a great deal of fanfare. That anonymity is quickly coming to an end. I told my son, the other restaurants on our agenda will be hard pressed to surpass the dinner we were having at Atomix.

Pujol – Mexico City

Chef Enrique Olvero of Pujol is labeled as the founder of molecular mexican gastronomy, or the godfather of nuevo mexican cuisine because of the impressive list of chefs that have worked with him and then achieved success in their own right. Regardless how you choose to describe him, one thing is certain. The ambiance, food and service is deserving of the 13th best restaurant in the world.