Date Night at the Herbfarm!

The year 2012 has proven to be awesome in so many ways…  first year married; trip to South Korea, North Korea, Japan, and the Caribbean; anniversary dinner at Canlis; and now birthday dinner at Herbfarm!

You might remember from my obsessive Herbfarm post in July, that I have wanted to go to the Herbfarm since I was in High School, but my wonderful turd of a husband thinks that sitting down for a 9-course, 5-hour meal is torture. Luckily that post enticed my best foodie friend, Lia to get the Herbfarm urge and she bought us tickets for my birthday!  My friends rule the universe!  With this move, Lia was upgraded from bestie to wifey.  Maybe you’re sick of hearing about how amazing my friends are, but I can’t help bragging when they are seriously amazing.  I couldn’t ask for better friends.

Besties!

Best Foodie Friend (BFF)!

Our journey to the Herbfarm started with being in the same parking lot trying to find each other.  Thank you Apple and your stalker Find my Friend app that has proven to be more useful than I ever imagined.

IMG_2626

Sitting in the same parking lot

After we got that mess sorted out, Lia drove us there in her new ride and we arrived at the Herbfarm ready to be wined and dined ALL NIGHT LONG.  Even the outside of the restaurant is adorably adorable.

IMG_2629

Hair protecting rain-run photoshot

Once we got inside, we were greeted with a warm cup of rosemary apple cider and invited to tour the Herbfarm at our leisure until the garden tour began.

IMG_2631

Determined to replicate this rosemary cider

Photo Dec 14, 9 08 02 PM

Artwork from the original Herbfarm and a statue of their piggie

The interior of the Herbfarm was CRAZY! If you removed the newer safety features and took out the track lighting, it seriously looked like something out of, um… old times.

IMG_3979

Private dining area

Peeking into the kitchen

Peeking into the kitchen

IMG_3987

Reading chair in cookbook library

View from the library into the dining room

View from the library into the dining room

Snuggly friends all over the Herbfarm!

Snuggly friends all over the Herbfarm!

Even their bathrooms were decorated to match the theme of the Herbfarm. Although, the perfumey-old-lady smell in the bathroom drove me nuts.

IMG_2636

Antique bathroom style

IMG_2635

Obsessed with the faucet

One of the best things was the Herbfarm wine library.  It was CRAZY! I would lose track of the bottles if I had that many in my house.

Wine catalog

Wine catalog

Photo Dec 11, 12 38 37 AM

Herbfarm wine library

Let me also insert a disclaimer here that all photos here were either taken with an iPhone (then poorly web-edited) or a super-shaking-handed Lia.

Photo Dec 11, 12 45 14 AM

Lia’s shaky-shake vs. my steel grip

After we enjoyed a few cups of warm rosemary apple cider, all guests were asked to gather by the fireplace for a history of the Herfarm and to learn about the gardens.  We probably would have gotten a tour if it had been warm or at least dry, but instead Lia and I got a kick out of watching people smell sage for the first time.  Stuff like that definitely seems like a sign of generational differences.

Carrie Van Dyck

Carrie Van Dyck, co-founder of the Herbfarm restaurant

Herb testing!

Herb smelling, tasting, and admiring!

Finally, we were granted access to our “Uber Tuber” culinary adventure.  Thank god too, cause we were freaking STARVING… like chew my arm off starving!

Entrance to the grand feast!

Entrance to the grand feast!

Lia was very excited

Lia was very excited about eating

Booklet with menu description and other fun things!

Booklet with menu description and other fun things!

As we took our seats at the “Pepe” table that was overflowing with wine glasses, the excitement continued to build! And my stomach continued to growl…

Seated at the "Pepe" table

Pepe, table for two

Photo Dec 14, 9 18 17 PM

Bubbling over with excitement!

Once the majority of people found their seats, they began with a “Triptych of Tubers” that started with drinks. Obviously, very important to get a meal started!

Treveri sparkling gewurztraminer with spudacious elixir choice (roasted potato skin or baked potato with chive)

Treveri sparkling gewurztraminer with spudacious elixir choice (roasted potato skin or baked potato with chive)

First our spudacious elixir was poured into our glass, then they followed with the bubbly. It was very exciting, although I felt like I smelled the elixir more than I was able to taste it. But then again, what does a potato elixir taste like? Hmmmm?!  Yeah, you don’t know either!

Pickled «Purple» Potato Canneloni with Dill-Cured Salmon, Crème Fraîche, Horseradish Root, Smoked Salmon Roe

Pickled «Purple» Potato Cannelloni with Dill-Cured Salmon, Crème Fraîche, Horseradish Root, Smoked Salmon Roe

«La Ratte» Potato Vichyssoise, Kumomoto Oyster, White Sturgeon Caviar

«La Ratte» Potato Vichyssoise, Kumomoto Oyster, White Sturgeon Caviar

 “Risotto” of «Yukon Gold» Potatoes with Local Saffron, Sea Urchin, Potato Frizzles

“Risotto” of «Yukon Gold» Potatoes with Local Saffron, Sea Urchin, Potato Frizzles

This first course was my favorite of the entire night. Each little dish was wonderfully flavored and had a unique incorporation of the potato. While we enjoyed this perfect entry into our evening, we were introduced to the kitchen staff. Unfortunately, we were not able to hear from our dark romantic corner, but we were well occupied with entertainment at our table.

Herbfarm kitchen staff

Herbfarm kitchen staff

A REAL Mrs. Potatohead

A REAL Mrs. Potatohead

I made Lia a new best friend

I made Lia a new best friend

Our next course was “Scallop & Spud” which was yet again paired with more wine!

Seared Alaska Weathervane Scallops, «Carola» Pommes Dauphine, Celery Root Purée, Lemon-Thyme Buttered Savoy Cabbage

Seared Alaska Weathervane Scallops, «Carola» Pommes Dauphine, Celery Root Purée, Lemon-Thyme Buttered Savoy Cabbage

2008 Cowhorn Estate Viognier, Biodynamics, Applegate Valley, Oregon

2008 Cowhorn Estate Viognier, Biodynamics, Applegate Valley, Oregon

Pausing to attempt a "bite" shot

Pausing to attempt a “bite” shot

While I thought that my scallops were quite tasty, Lia gave me the biggest compliment, EVER! She said that the scallops that I made for her before were better! Whaaaatttt? I’m still convinced she was drunk when thinking this, especially since we were served even MORE wine with our next course of “Bunny Wellington” or “Mushroom Wellington” in our case!

2012 Joan of Arc, White Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon

2012 Joan of Arc, White Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon

By the way… This may have been my favorite wine of the evening. It was not sweet or dry like most whites that I am used to, but more full like an actual Pinot Noir. My brain and mouth were thoroughly confused while consuming this wine.

Delicious sauce drizzled over mushroom wellington

Delicious sauce drizzled over mushroom wellington

Wild Chanterelles in Crispy Pastry.  Carrots, Baby Romaine, Green Wild Juniper Berries, Smoked Potato Butter.

Wild Chanterelles in Crispy Pastry. Carrots, Baby Romaine, Green Wild Juniper Berries, Smoked Potato Butter.

My first wellington was pretty tasty!

My first wellington was pretty tasty!

If you are a good logical thinker right now, you might be able to guess that we were served more wine with our next course of “Gnocchi, Nuts ‘n’ Duck” or “Gnocchi, Nuts ‘n’ More Nuts” in our case.

«Russet» Potato Gnocchi, Lacinato Kale, Sage-Roasted «Ozette» Potatoes, Roasted Chestnuts with Sage, Pancetta Lardons, Burnt Honey & Duck Jus.

«Russet» Potato Gnocchi, Lacinato Kale, Sage-Roasted «Ozette» Potatoes, Roasted Chestnuts with Sage, Pancetta Lardons, Burnt Honey & Duck Jus.

Not pictured here was our wine pairing, which was a 2008 Benson Estate Sangiovese from Lake Chelan, Washington. I may have been semi-saucy by then, which was causing forgetfulness and childish excitement when our “Yuzu Interlude” came out!

Sorbet of Herbfarm Greenhouse-Grown Yuzu with Bay-Leaf-Candied Pumpkin Flesh

Sorbet of Herbfarm Greenhouse-Grown Yuzu with Bay-Leaf-Candied Pumpkin Flesh

The Herbfarm did some serious planning with all the wine we were drinking, by providing us with some delicious breads. Bread is the best thing on earth and according to many, the explanation behind my whole wheat muffin top.

Feral Sourdough Baguette

Feral Sourdough Baguette

Potato roll

Potato roll (my favorite bread of the night)

Yes, Lia requested olive oil...

Yes, Lia requested olive oil…

...then dragged her bread into it.  It's her Italian side!

…then dragged her «Blue Potato» Sourdough Loaf into it. It’s her Italian side!

Our next course was the “Long-Aged Shorty” but ours was replaced with a fishy fish!

IMG_2692

Salmon, Savory Gratin of «Bintje» Potatoes and Parsnip with Rosemary, Pan-Seared Chinese Artichokes, Shallot-Syrah Jam, Oregon Black Truffle Sauce

And let me tell you, the tubers off of Chinese Artichokes might be the next obsession of mine. They were so strange looking, yet so freaking tasty. I need to eat more of them. Immediately.

Oooh, I almost forgot! Our “Long-Aged Shorty” course was served with a 2010 Mark Ryan “Lost Soul” Syrah from Red Willow in Yakima Valley. It was quite delicious and reminded me that I still need to find that incredible Syrah that I had at Bin on the Lake in Kirkland.

Our official, final savory part of the meal was “Leaves of Gras” or “CHEZ” in my book. Surprisingly, there was no wine pairing served with this course!

«Yukon Gold» Potato and Apple Mille-feuille with CHEZ, Spiced Honeycrisp Cider Glaze.

«Yukon Gold» Potato and Apple Mille-feuille with CHEZ, Spiced Honeycrisp Cider Glaze.

I call the duck fois gras replacement of cheese, CHEZ because I honestly do not remember what kind of cheese it was or where it was from. But let me tell you… Those weird green stick things on the plate? They are not listed on the menu, but I need a gallon of them.

We had been at the Herbfarm for about 4.5 hours at this point and it was finally time for dessert, also known as the “Sweet Potato” course. Adorable!

Fried «All-Red» Potato Ice Cream, Malted Milk Chocolate Mousse, Fennel Seed Dust, Buckwheat Crumble, Potato Tuiles, Salish Sea Salt, Caramelized Wild Candy Cap Mushroom Sauce

Fried «All-Red» Potato Ice Cream, Malted Milk Chocolate Mousse, Fennel Seed Dust, Buckwheat Crumble, Potato Tuiles, Salish Sea Salt, Caramelized Wild Candy Cap Mushroom Sauce

2009 Brian Carter Opulento, Yakima Valley, Washington

2009 Brian Carter Opulento, Yakima Valley, Washington

Cheers to wine and Herbfarm!

Cheers to wine and Herbfarm!

Just as we thought our event was coming to an end, we were handed an evening drink menu of “Coffees, Native Beverages, and Teas”. We both went with the darkest coffee brew, obviously.

Mini, individual french press filters!

Drinking causes me to think this is a “cool” shot of the mini coffee filters

Adorable cow creamer and lumpy sugar cubes

Adorable cow creamer and sugar lumps

One lump or two?!

One lump or two?!

Coffee makes me deliriously happy

Coffee makes me deliriously happy

As full as we were, they continued to bring food! Our FINAL plate was an assortment of mini desserts. I was once again in a mini-frenzy. Yeah, I’m one of the few who is NOT sick of mini things and I doubt that I ever will be.

Mini dessert assortment

Mini dessert assortment

My skepticism of macaroons, displayed in public

I am skeptical of, and dislike of macaroons

Caught in the act...  Pretend to enjoy the macaroon!

Caught in the act… Pretend to eat the macaroon!

While Lia consumed her desserts, I only licked or nibbled each one

This is how I eat dessert

After Lia consumed all her mini desserts and I took the liberty of licking each one, we noticed that we were among the last people left in the dining room. Apparently we are so comfortable sitting and eating for 5 hours that we lost track of time! Who does that?

Crickets at the end

Hardcore diners stay till the room is cleared

Even the kitchen was cleaned and empty when we left

Even the kitchen was cleaned and empty when we left

It was finally time to depart and on our way out we ran into a Potatohead family reunion… I think they were celebrating the fact that they escaped the kitchen and our bellies. And then I had my celebrity sighting for the night! Ron Zimmerman, Founding Chef/Proprietor of The Herbfarm Restaurant!!!! Perhaps my college job at Starbucks in Los Angeles tuned my brain out to movie stars and musicians, but I only have eyes for food people.

Potatohead family reunion

Potato family reunion! Looks like Mrs. Potatohead found a potatoman

Celebrity sightings come in the form of restaurant owners for me!

It’s Ron Zimmerman (@Herbguy)! Celebrity sightings come in the form of restaurant owners for me!

Despite the fact that this post took months to publish, my expectations for the Herbfarm were met! It was a superb dining experience that I had waited way too long for, but thank god for friends!! And although I have had my share of awesome dining this year, I feel there may be one more before 2012 comes to a close! Stay tuned, as always for the next adventure… to be posted sooner than 2 months.

Advertisements