Dinner at the Herbfarm (part 1)
The fire in the Herbfarm's parlor fireplace danced as we escaped the misty rain into its warmth. In one corner Carrie, one of the restaurant's owners, explained the various herbs that would be used in tonight's dinner while guests passed around scratch-and-sniff sprigs including rose geranium, english thyme, and sage — both green and tangerine. We found a spot in the back of the group, next to the dining room doors — closed at the moment, but not hiding a couple hundred small candles, dangling in mini-lanterns from old-fashioned candleholders set on each table. The half-dozen wine glasses at each place reflect the flames until the entire room glows. As Carrie wraps up, people turn towards the closed door and murmur with a bit of anticipation.
A dark-haired man perches on a stool in a corner of the dining room and picks up a guitar, the doors open, we're seated...right next to the guitar player! someoneElse, who is an excellent guitarist as well as the oh-so-wonderful person who invited me to this dinner, quickly suggests that we sit so that I am facing the kitchen while he's facing the guitarist. I can see the entire place from my comfortably uphosltered perch — this is going to be fun! A smiling man offers a selection of herbs from a basket of plants, we're to pick one to infuse our sparkling wine. One of us had rose geranium, and I can't recall the other — which is sad because it was mine. I think it was lemon something, maybe verbena...maybe thyme.
That was 7:00. I turned on my cellphone to check the time when we got into the car. It was 12:35. Between those two dots on my personal timeline: nine courses, six wines 12:35. Five and a half hours, nine courses, six wines, a dozen or so staff on each side of the kitchen counter around which they all gathered to plate and serve each course, two cookbooks (I bought), one classically trained guitarist (who had slipped in at least one Led Zepplin tune by the time dessert and the 90 year old madeira arrived).
As you might guess, this is a story in several installments. Especially since I am being descended on by a horde of twenty-somethings for a multi-day reunion in a couple of days and have lots of prep work to do.
But here's my single photo (sorry, this was a romantic dinner — no cameras allowed) to hold you over until part 2. Our post dinner treats, which we — and quite a few others brought home and ate later.
Clockwise from upper right:
lavender-dark chocolate truffle
lemon-geranium white-chocolate truffle
As an idea of the size, the macaroon was maybe an inch across, yet somehow I managed to make it into several bites.
(to be continued)