One of my friends at the 28-course from-the-cookbook-of-El-Bulli/molecular-gastronomy dinner at Next put this excellent summary image together (you can click through and then click again to zoom in to the full-size image).
This is all but one of our courses (it’s missing the liquid-nitrogen-frozen caipirinha):
It was a fascinating dining experience and tour through the history of experimental food– with each dish, they told us what year it had been served in El Bulli (for example, the red mullet gaudi was in one of the earlier years– conceptual in terms of its mosaic-like appearance, but without the “magic powders” of later foams and smokes).
Some of my favorites were the the cuttlefish-coconut “ravioli” (thin sheets of cuttlefish serving the role of the pasta), the “golden egg” (an egg yolk encrusted in a crispy gold-covered sugar shell, somehow without overcooking the yolk, leaving it in a delicious soft-cooked state), spherical olives (olive juice encapsulated in a thin flexible gel-like coating, so that as you put it in our mouth it bursts and releases the juice), cauliflower “couscous” (shredded and formed into the texture of couscous, with an intensely rich lamb sauce and many interesting surrounding tart and savory and sweet garnishes and gelatinous cubes, each of which I know might have been its own several-hour-or-more preparation. I also loved the eel with bone marrow, paired with a Half Acre beer brewed with beets.
I’m fortunate to have had this experience… and at the same time, I only needed to do it once. If I were to spend that amount of money in Chicago again some day, I’d go back to Alinea instead.