The Herbfarm

We went to the Herbfarm on November 12, 2005, for the Golden Groves Unleaving menu.
Here is what we had, with pictures:

November Nibbles
Strudel of Poached Prunes and Duck Confit
Salsify Flan with Paddlefish Caviar
Wild Mushroom, Estrella Cheese and Sorrel Benedict
I really enjoyed the strudel and the sorrel bendict. The salsify flan and caviar was an unusual taste, the sort I wanted to keep eating to truly understand it. The strudel was basically a delicious pastry, sweet, with a hint of onions. The sorrel benedict had lovely mushrooms and a biscuity crust, and I think it was made with a quail egg.

Sea Urchin Froth
With Dungeness Crab, Poached Oyster and Spot Prawns
The sauce was made of sea urchin here. It was extremely oceany. The crab was very good, the best dungeness I’ve had. The oyster was, well, slimy and fishy with the sea urchin sauce. The best part was the prawns, which combined with the wine and the sauce to produce this fabulous back of the mouth sweetness.

Basilwood-Smoked Black Cod
With Savoy Cabbage, Bacon and Beets
This fish was smoked over the dried end-of-season basil stalks. It was again an interesting rather than delicious taste. I observed that the smoked taste reminded me some of Kevin’s cigarettes. The cabbage was fantastic. The beet sauce had a sort of egg-yolk texture, and was yummy. The tiny squares of bacon were a nice complement to the fish and beet sauce. The beets themselves tasted like beets.

Seared Duck Foie Gras with Chestnut Blintz and Roasted Quince
This was my least favorite course. The foie gras was quite smooth and creamy but just not my thing; it basically tasted like silky, textured fat. The chestnut blintz left me cold, and the roasted quince was another texture I didn’t like that much. I actually gave Kevin my foie gras because he really enjoyed it and I felt like somebody should.

Amagaki Persimmon
with Douglas Fir Ice
Ah, now the meal began to take a turn towards the truly wonderful. The Douglas Fir ice tasted like… Christmas. And the persimmon was wonderful. They referred to this dish as an ‘Intermezzo’.

Thyme-Grilled Squab
with Delicata Squash, Chard, and Chanterelle Gratin.
Wild Huckleberry Sauce.
I always thought squab was a kind of chicken, but it seems more like duck now. This was so yummy. Gorgeous dark, rare meat, in a berry sauce that was both sweet and incredibly tangy. The squash was acceptable (I don’t normally like winter squash) and the chanterelle gratin was just…. great.

Sally Jackson Guernsey Cow Cheese
with Tart Cherry Turnover and Cress
This was wonderful. Apparently this cheese comes from their cheesemaker, who has many goats but only one Guerney cow. The cheese and the cherry turnover and the pastry and the cress was wonderful texture and sharpness and tartness and bitter. Also, I was getting pretty tipsy by this time.

Anthology of Autumn Desserts
Butterscotch Creme Brulee * Pumpkin-Bay Sundae
Scharffen Berger Chocolate Souffle
with Rose Custard Sauce
This was a little bit of heaven. I don’t normally like creme brulee because I find the creme under the caramel part boring. Making it butterscotch? Genius. The pumpkin-bay sundae had this wonderful pumpkin taste from the seeds, with some spiciness from the bay. The chocolate souffle with the custard sauce (which we poured over) was… like some sort of expensive gourmet breakfast cereal. Very yummy.

Brewed Coffees, Teas and Infusions
We got a little menu for this part. I got Smart Tea, which was a peppermint blend. It actually showed up at the end of the meal. Everybody got a two-cup French press. Other options included three varieties of coffee, plus half-caffienated and decaffienated. There was also chamomile tea, Chinese green tea, Indian black tea, Chinese black tea, Dragon Phoenix Pearl Jasmine and lots of other herbal teas.

A Selection of Small Treats
Orange-Thyme Madeleine
Chocolate-Hazelnut Macaroon
Raspberry Gel
Lemon-Geranium White Chocolate Truffle
Lavender Dark Chocolate Truffle
This was, well. Really good. Obviously.

There was also fresh potato rolls and multi-grain (dark) bread served throughout the meal, with a chervil-calendula butter. This was so amazingly good.

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