Herbfarm Annual Member’s Dinner
With all the work required for other exciting events going on, I have fallen behind with my normal blogging. I decided I needed to go back and finish some posts that I started. Our Herbfarm Member’s Dinner this past June is one of these posts.
Our wine club friends, Bob and Rita, are Herbfarm members and invited Sheri and me to join them for this annual event. We were honored to be invited and looked forward to another visit to our local 5-Diamond restaurant. Since our last visit, Executive Chef, Keith Luce, had taken the helm of the kitchen and I was curious about the menu. On a side note, we were pleased to discover that former Qube and The French Laundry chef, Lisa Nakamura, was now the Sous Chef at the Herbfarm.
June’s Silver Spoon
Every week or two, the Herbfarm offers a new thematic menu using seasonal ingredients. The theme for this dinner was June’s Silver Spoon where each course had something served in a spoon, sometimes even a silver or at least a stainless one. In addition, since our last visit, they installed a wood pizza oven behind the restaurant and they served a selection of pizzas and flatbreads as appetizers. Of course, no dinner at the Herbfarm would be complete without wine pairings and sommeliers Lisa Rongren and Michael Kaminski put together a unique selection of wines for dinner.
On the Incoming Tide
Dinner started off with a selection of seafood shown here. Clockwise starting with the cup, Lemon Thyme-Scented Puget Sound Prawn Consummé, Puget Sound Prawn Tartare with Montana Paddlefish Caviar (in the spoon), St. Jude Albacore with Pickled Herbfarm Fillet Beans and Fennel Pollen Chip and finally Potato Fondant, “Onion Dip,” and Smoked Stellhead Caviar. Paired with this course was a 2000 Capitello Oregon Brut made from a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It was served with our choice of Summer Herbs. The wonderfully refreshing mouthfeel of the sparkling wine helped cleanse the palate between each of these rich wonderful bites.
Bacon & Eggs, Seattle Style
The next course had bacon. Just the mention of bacon made me forget to take a picture of this dish. Doh! Everything’s better with bacon but especially prepared Herbfarm-style. This was a bit of house-smoked Bacon with an Herbfarm Egg, NW Salsa Verde, Sea Asparagus and a small spoon of Pickled Radish Kimchi on Spring Onion Cream. Of course, the Kimchi wasn’t like any that I normally eat—not very spicy at all. Paired with this course was a 2007 Pacific Rim Riesling, Wallula Vineyard. It was crisp and citrusy with a hint of peach and just enough sweetness to cool any heat from the Kimchi.
The Northwest is a great place for mushrooms and this course took advantage of this area’s abundance. King Bolete Agnolotti with a Wood-Roasted King Bolete, Caraway Thyme and Mushroom Glace in the spoon. This savory dish was paired with a 2006 àMaurice Cellars Walla Walla Chardonnay. With just a bit of French oak, this wine had a nice balance of acidity to its pear and apple flavors with almost no butter showing. A nice compliment to the mushrooms that wasn’t overpowering.
Every time I hear squab on the menu, I remember very little meat on a small carcass. Somehow, this course found enough meat to actually give several slices. Along with it, came a big spoonful of a Salad of Lentils, Boudin Noir and Hazelnuts with a Blackberry-Coco Nib Vinaigrette. Paired with this was a wine made by Mike Etzel, a 1995 Beaux Frères Pinot Noir Estate, Willamette Valley made famous by his “Beaux Frères,” and business partner, Robert Parker. Wonderful aromas of fall leaves and griottes with dark fruit flavors and good acidity enhanced the flavors of the squab.
My favorite course of the evening was the lamb. Herb-Roasted Loin and Lamb Confit Pavé with a Housemade Worchestershire Glaze, Fava Bean Brandade (in the spoon) and Roasted Beets and Baby Carrots. My only complaint is that there should have been more of this. Paired with the lamb was a 2006 Waters Syrah, Forgotten Hills Vineyard. With a decidedly French style, earthy aromas and firm tannins, it blended superbly with the savory flavors of the lamb.
To cleanse the palate, we had the Herbfarm Blue Cow Tomme with Poppy Seed Brioche Toasts and Herbfarm Honey.
For dessert was a selection sweets from left to right in the photo: Hazelnut-Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich, Strawberry-Lavender Gel with Balsamic Cream and Angelica-Scented Rhubarb Mille-Feuille. Along with our sweets was a selection of brewed coffee, teas and infusions.
A Selection of Small Treats
From left to right in the photo: Dark Chocolate Lemon Balm Elixer, Bitter Almond Milk Chocolate Foils, Douglas Fir Macaroons, Rose Marshmallows, and Plum Pâte a Fruits. The final pairing of the evening was a 2007 Andrew Rich Late Harvest Gewürztraminer, Columbia Valley. Its delicate sweetness, floral aromas and honey flavors were a great finish.
Here’s a final photo of all the great wines that we had that evening posed in front of the kitchen at the Herbfarm. It was a wonderful evening of fine food and wine from proprietors, Ron Zimmerman and Carrie Van Dyck. I thanks our hosts, Bob and Rita for including us in their plans. Sheri and I truly appreciated it.