Friday, July 16, 2010

Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Several weeks ago, Liam was looking at my bank statement and asked what I was going to do with my 37,000 points from my credit card. I thought he was kidding. I ended up with transfer into my checking account for $375. This gave me the idea to spend this free money on a dinner. A dinner that I could enjoy best in the summer. To celebrate the end of the school year. Perhaps on a farm away from the city. Blue Hill it is.

5pm dinners for 8 courses are fine with me and we arrived early to tour blazing hot pastures and steam ourselves in the gorgeous green house. We met with a counsel of turkeys and then spied on garlic drying and butterflies and bees pollinating. We were stopped in the tisane garden and briefly told its history (much skepticism on part of staff who found us, but he was kind nonetheless), and then tried to figure out what to do with ourselves 4:30-5. Cafe was closed, chilly gift store open (we bought some cards), and then at 5:01 we were one of the first to enter the dining room (one never knows how long it will take to get there from Brooklyn!)

A list of ingredients greeted us, as well as a kind waiter who guided our ignorance about wine and patiently listed the restrictions we may or may not have in order to let the kitchen know for our menu. Suspending narrative in the interest of detail, the courses were as follows:

  • "little bites" - vegetables from the garden speared on pins to grab and eat with a sesame spritzer (cured meat for Liam with flatbread the shape of Africa)
  • fried (tempura?) was beans and zucchini with batter and sesame seeds
  • salad of fresh greens and flowers with apricot kernel yogurt (see above)
  • an onion roasted for 17 hours on all kinds of charcoal (including those made of pig bone and corn cob) with several toppings: creme fraiche (ate it with a spoon!), olive tapenade, currants, and pesto'd vegetables.
  • "this morning's egg" coated in breadcrumbs, fried to a poached degree, and sitting on curried summer beans
  • braised arctic char on top of clam and corn chowder
  • fabulous ravioli filled with corn, pickled peppers and basil. Liam had eggplant with "pig parts" on top
  • Maine lobster with tomato confit and more greens from garden (Liam had Hudson Valley beef)
  • wineberries and elderflower sorbet and ... tapioca pearls...
  • grilled corn ice cream on top of cornbread with roasted peaches and blueberries
  • local strawberries and cherries
  • tisane of orange basil and anise hyssop (see below)
From the dining room to the terrace, we loved the setting and service. Some of the dishware was more for looks than practice (am I not cutting my fish correctly that my fork, knife, and side by side seating next to Liam doesn't allow me to cut without hitting his elbow or side of round dish?), when I would have been fine with less fancy, more functional. Service was lovely and attentive and very kind when we became full and couldn't finish our 5th course.

To celebrate a great first year of the school, a warm full summer with my husband and my not-so-secret dream of one day heading back to France to raise goats and make cheese on a farm - we had a fantastic dinner!

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