Sunday, April 6, 2008

dinner on the farm

last weekend, i had the pleasure of dining at blue hill stone barns, in tarrytown, ny with four friends. i bring this up because i've just spent some time researching what an internship at on the farm of the stone barns center for food & agriculture would consist of. according to their website, it means working with tools and heavy lifting of 50 lbs objects. in my imagination, i pictured myself being placed in the gardening section--picking ripe rasberries and overseeing the growth of summer's favorite heirloom tomatoes. unfortunately, all of those positions apparently require "horticultural experience"--whatever that means. as i sullenly scrolled down the page, bereft of my gardening dreams, i spotted a position offering as a livestock intern and oh-so briefly contemplated the prospect of me, in muddy overalls, being overtaken by a fatty, soon-to-be piece of bacon on a hot, summer day. ii can't imagine being face to face with one of those monsters and having to listen to their horrible squeals (who even came up with oink oink--its not even close.) even now, as i shiver thinking about it, i recall being at a festive pig-slaughtering event in the eastern part of the czech republic, and looking down at a big bloody bucket filled with pebble-sized balls of coagulating pig's blood:


now that you're all sick to your stomachs, i can switch the topic of conversation to the contents of our delicious meal at blue hill. actually, i can't bear to recall each individual dish we consumed, but i'll give you a sampling:
we started off with a complimentary glass of champagne, topped off with a bit of elderflower liqueur, then we had a local riesling, blood orange margaritas, and an italian red wine. we had three amuses i think: an apple-celery juice, an amazing baby-bite sized burger with beets instead of meat, and a slice of house cured coppa. then we had some cauliflower soup with caviar and oysters, a greenhouse greens salad with a poached egg, gnocchi with sweet potatoes and parmesan, ravioli with mustard greens, shiitake mushrooms, and ricotta cheese, and some other things i can't remember. after, we had berkshire pig over fromage blanc spaetzle, grass-fed lamb, and some kind of venison. to top it all off, chef dan barber himself came out to our table, congratulated the birthday girl, and chatted us up about his memories of working at la brea bakery in l.a. and being inspired by the menu at michael's. thanks to that visit, he decided to bring us out a special 3-course surprise desert, that was so good and so weird i can't even bring myself to try to write about it.

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