Monday, October 5, 2009

How to blow a few months worth of grocery money and enjoy every minute

As most of you know, my favorite way to enjoy wine is with a good meal. So although this is a wine blog, I must share my latest dining experience with you because most who enjoy good wine appreciate good food as well. And if that's not you then a) you're missing out and b) you'll just have to wait until my next posting!

This past Sunday, my friend and fellow foodie, Sharon, and I went to Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Tarrytown, New NY (http://www.bluehillfarm.com/food/history). Blue Hill is a highly regarded "farm to table" restaurant that is known for its tasting menus. All the food is seasonal and grown or or raised locally. There is also a Blue Hill in New York City that sources its produce and meat from the local area, including Stone Barns.

Blue Hill's menu consists of a list of seasonal ingredients and you choose from a 5 course or 8 course meal. On Wednesdays and Thursdays they offer a 3 course meal and on Sundays it's a 4 course meal. Upon taking your order, a member of the wait staff will ask if you have any food allergies or do not like a certain food. The chef will work around whatever you don't like or cannot eat.
From then on, you just have to put yourself in their hands and enjoy because you will not be disappointed. I was worried that Sharon over-promised and set my expectations too high, but I've never invoked the phrase "Oh my God" so much in my life (I know there are a world of dirty punchlines here, but there's really nothing more to say).
At this point I'm sure you're thinking - o.k., just get to it. But when it comes to food porn, a little foreplay is necessary.

The down and dirty:

Bread: A crusty loaf of rosemary, onion sliced deliciousness topped with fresh butter
-We knew we should have held off, but we each had a few pieces

Amuse Bouche: Mini beet sliders with goat cheese and mesclun greens on a warm sweet bun and a Blue Hill "V8" consisting of a blend of multiple vegetables with a touch of pepper and an herb we couldn't make out
-When we asked our server about the herb and the bread she revealed that the herb was coriander and the bread was a financier bread (a sweet bread often used in desserts)
-I now need to cook with coriander more often
-If they offered a Blue Hill "Bloody Mary V8," I would drink it by the gallon

Appetizer: Frittata wedge made with purple potato and topped with a thin slice of pancetta
-Savory and yummy in an excellent 3 bite portion

1st Course: Salad greens with pistachios, quince berries (I think) and tarragon dressing topped with a soft boiled egg that was coated in almond flour and flash fried
-Normally I don't like eggs with a runny yolk, but this was exceptional
-We guessed that they'd somehow flash fried the egg but when our server explained the process, it was explained so delicately and interestingly that it was like hearing about someone's artistic process
2nd Course: Butternut Squash ravioli
-One of the best things I've ever eaten in my life. I still feel guilty that I could only eat 3 out of the 5 because I was stuffed at this point.

3rd Course: Pork Tenderloin
-Between the food, the wine and the whole experience, I was exhausted, giddy and a bit dazed at this point so I don't remember exactly what this was cooked in and served with. I remember it being terrificly tender and perfectly prepared. I couldn't eat more than 2 bites because I was pretty darn full at this point and dessert was pending.

Dessert: Plum cake with Rosemary ice cream and Quince paste
-Though I love plums, I don't like desserts made out of plums and admittedly I was a bit relieved because I could barely take another bit of anything. The rosemary ice cream was quite nice, especially when mixed with the quince paste. It was a really elegant sweet and savory pairing.

For those of you counting, we received a bit more than just the "4 courses" which is why it's not just a tasting menu but a true experience.
Of course I enjoyed this with a lovely wine. I barely got through page 2 of the wine list when my eyes lit up and I said, "ooooo, they have Schramsberg sparkling rose," which is one of my absolute favorite sparkling wines. Most people are a little suspect of pink sparkling wines, but Sharon was game, which is why I'm friends with her (among many other really good reasons - Sasabune, WWSD, My wannabee Irish obsession).

What most people don't realize about sparkling wine is that a good dry one, like Schramsberg, pairs nicely with a lot of foods. Until we got to the pork, this held up with all the food we ate. Actually, the food was so amazing that even if I were drinking Manishewitz (L'Chaim), this would have been one of my favorite meals of all time.

In case you're wondering -- Blue Hill takes reservations no more than 60 days out and you can make reservations via phone or on Open Table.

Until the next sniff, sip or quaff,

Cheers,

Alli M.

1 comment:

elliej said...

My mputh is watering (for everything but the pork entree).