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Greetings, I ate at Charlie Trotter in 1990 and over 11 years later I still dream of it. It was one of the most perfect nights of dining I have ever enjoyed - I had monkfish interlaced with green bean strips and cossetted in some incredible sauce that completely defies description. Suffice it to say that we ate our meal in near silence, in a reverie of wonder at the flavors, tastes and presentation. Our server was highly trained and was able to describe in painstaking detail what thought went into each dish presented to us. She knew the nuance of every herb and every cooking method and was able to tell us why a specific technique had been chosen over another. My friend is an accomplished cook and says her cooking instinct was tweaked by what she learned that night. We still talk about that meal, the most expensive to date I've ever had but I would pay double today without hesitation to enjoy another evening there.

What people are willing to pay for a dining experience is clearly a personal decision but I long ago learned that an evening like the one at Charlie Trotter has repaid me many times over in the memory it created and in the senses it heightened. My friend and I were grateful to discover that we shared this viewpoint and she and I were dining partners for years when we both lived a reasonable drive from Chicago and could lavishly enjoy these kinds of eating experiences. Who cares if the waiter is snobby (and they WEREN'T at Charlie Trotter) - the exquisite preparation and combination of tastes igniting in my mouth is all I can recall. For me, I would budget for (and spend) whatever it took to get me to the restaurants with the most reliable acclaim and my experience at Charlie Trotter (only very newly established when we went) has outlasted nearly any other expenditure for any "stuff" I've bought in the interim. I am thrilled for the chance to discuss food at the foodie level!

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