January 29, 2016
The Herb Farm: A Mycologist’s Dream"
Talk about a fabulous nine course themed meal! After driving from Seattle into Woodinville we were greeted by a warm cup of Shiitaki mushroom consume in the entry way and several warm smiling faces. From the very beginning you could feel their passion for these incredibly beautiful products and the earth from which they were foraged. This meal is unlike any other experience because of the diversity, quality and quantity of locally foraged mushrooms.
Another warm greeting awaiting us…our hand written name card and a sweet personalized birthday message oh and a glass of local sparkling wine – Treveri Cellars Sparkling Gewürztraminer, Yakima Valley.
The Fairy Ring:
Shiitake Mushroom Gastrique, Fried Chicken Mushroom Tempura, Crispy Lopez Island Smelt, Caracas Carrot, Baby Fennel, Guernica Pepper. This course was described as the flavor of the farm – we were served the peppers from the farm for dinner before they get put away for the winter next week. Oh, and they also talked about their 100 mile dinner, where the entire menu is from within 100 miles of the farm. This menu has inspired a fabulous local pantry, including locally sourced fats and homemade salt.
The Pine Mushroom:
Matsutake & Spot Prawn Chawanmushi, Matsutake Ragu, Parsley & Chive. Paired with the 2003 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand (Executive decision: upgrading to the Coravin Pairings – Coravin is a special device that extracts wine from a bottle through a needle in the cork!) The most popular local mushrooms are the spring morels and chanterelles, but the matsutake is gaining fame. It has a different lighter and brighter aroma than most of the stronger mushrooms, a pinier quality that makes it perfect for a delicate first course.
Kingdom of Plants:
Wood-Roasted Bolete, Charred Pear, Charred Red Onion, Birch Sauce, Green Coriander Flower. Paired with Jermann Pinot Grigio 2006, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, Italy. The Bolete Mushroom, referred to as the penny bottom in England and the porcini in Italy, is a great meat replacement because of the darkness and richness of flavor. Oh and the birch syrup, similar to that of maple syrup is just incredible – the owner was telling us it takes 120 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup- talk about a labor of love!
High Country Covey:
Marjoram and Quail-Thigh Tortellini, Cauliflower and Yuzu Purée, Roasted Cauliflower Mushrooms. Paired with Morgante “Don Antonio” Nero d’Avola 1999, Sicily, Italy.
Baa! Baa! :
Grilled Loin of Anderson Ranch Lamb, Stew of Braised Shank, Leek, and Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Parsnip Purée with Jim Robinson’s Olympic Peninsula Saffron, Toasted Pumpkin Seed Sauce. Paired with Larry Stone’s Sirita Cabernet Franc 1999, Napa Valley, California. Talk about seasonal – this lamb is harvested in the autumn when the grass dies and is cooked in short 3 minute bursts on the grill for over an hour to create an incredibly deep rich flavor
Cider-Glazed Saffron-Milk-Cap Mushroom Strudel, Guernsey Cow Labneh. The milk cap mushroom is terribly unique and not just in flavor…but these are the mushrooms you would expect to take at a Grateful Dead concert – no joke, they are a funky neon orange color in the woods and the moment you touch them, they bruise and turn blue and green. This peppery flavor adds to the savory and sweet combination that makes this straight-from-the-oven strudel amazing!
Prince of Quince:
Quince & Brown Butter Soup with Quince-Bay Leaf Sorbet. Quince is a rock hard fruit and stringent right off the vine, but with a little bit of cooking it softens the aroma and is still able to maintain its acidity.
Trumpet & Tree:
Black Trumpet Mushroom Panna Cotta, Wild Huckleberry Sorbet, Toasted Almonds from Tonasket. Paired with 2013 Koenig Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Ice Wine, Snake River Valley, Idaho. The black trumpet mushroom has an interesting cocoa flavor when used as a dessert. The almonds in this dish were from trees planted ten years ago at a local farm and this happened to be their very first harvest! How cool!
Less details from the last few courses due to the wine pairings But the Cabernet Sauvignon ice wine was just beautiful. The natural freeze on the grapes creates the purest expression of this particular grape-simply beautiful!
More goodies served with coffee or tea and the lovely staff gave us mushroom chocolate bars for later!
A perfect way to kick off the birthday month I definitely look forward to trying another seasonal tasting menu at The Herb Farm!