Menu: The Herbfarm
Every year at the motss.con there's
a foodie dinner the Thursday night before events begin. At the Seattle motss.con.xxiv in 2011,
dinner was at The Herbfarm.
We intentionally got there early (we were shooting for 6 but still
made it there by 5:45) so we could take the garden tour. It started
with a cup of hot tea (orange blossom, honey, and rosemary), and
we got to sample several of the herbs and learn about the history
and philosophy of the property as we went through the gardens with
one of the owners. Back to the restaurant proper for the 7pm
seating; the 14 of us had the private room. Between the first and
second courses, we went to the library (my half) or the main dining
room to hear the other owner talk a bit about the philosophy of
the restaurant and introduce the chef and staff. The chef and
sommelier discussed the 9-course menu and its wine pairings before
we went back to our seats to dig in.
meal itself was wonderful:
- Of Sea & Soil — Marble Onions with
Paddlefish Caviar, Onion Granola, and Chervil. Oil-Cured
Smelt, Smoked Shad Roe Emulsion, Salicornia, and Goose
Tongue Greens. Cured Asaparagus with Oregon Summer
Truffle, Homemamde Mustard & 3-Hour Hen Yolk.
Cellars Sparkling Gewürztraminer, Demi-Sec, Yakima
This appetizer trio was very nice. The
onions were smooth in flavor, the smelt reminded me
strongly of the smoked sablefish I had as a kid, the the
3-hour yolk was a delightful custard texture with just
the right hint of mustard to complement the lightly-cured
- Spring Salmon Pas de Deux — Smoked King
Cannoli & Poached Columbia River King, Breakfast Radish,
Pickled Shallots, Wasabi Soubise, and Mustard Greens.
Poet's Leap Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington.
cannoli was actually a pastry dough more than a pasta, and
the mousse was tasty and smooth as you'd expect. The poached
salmon was done so slowly and carefully that it still had
its flavor, and the radishes were a nice peppery bite to go
with it. The wasabi was real, not the food-colored horseradish
one finds so often here.
- In the Pink: Pigs & Peas — Spring Pea
Agnolotti and Mangalitsa Pig Coppa, With Manilla Clams,
Carrots, and Lovage Oil.
2010 Syncline Rosé,
Columbia Valley, Washington.
The English pea puree in
the agnolotti was silky smooth, the whole peas in sliced pods
were crisp, the clams succulent, and the tiny carrots crunchy.
A wonderful mix of flavors and textures.
- 'Shrooms, Spuds, Sorrel — Crushed Baby
Red Potatoes with Warm Sorrel Sauce, Roasted Spring Boletes,
Braised Cascade Morels, and Arugula.
Pinot Noir, Abbey Ridge, Dundee Hills, Oregon.
morels were delightful, the boletes (also known as porcini)
were tolerable though not my preference, the potatoes crispy,
and the sorrel sauce bright and smooth.
- Trifecta of Spring Lamb — Grilled Glazed
Ellensburg Lamb Loin with Spicy Herb Salad — Lamb Jus,
Crispy Lamb Belly, Romanesco Cauliflower Ragout, Olympic
Peninsula Saffron Chickpeas & Poached Tenderloin.
Désignée Cabernet Franc, Conner-Lee Vinyard,
The lamb was good but not superb; the
texture was excellent but the flavor was much milder than I
expected and not very lamby. The chickpeas were very good
- Sheepy Cheese — Black Sheep Creamery Saint
Helen's Cheese, Spring Thyme, Puffed Grain, Farm Greens,
Sweet Oregon-Vermouth Vinaigrette and First Salmon
The cheese was
semi-hard and very tasty. The puffed grain was flash-fried
farro. The chef and his dog forraged for the salmon berries
- Rhubarb Textural Tower — Warm Rhubarb
Consommé with Angelica Leaf Infusion, Glazed Rhubarb,
Rhubarb Sorbet, and Rhubarb Tuille.
The sorbet melted
almost immediately when the consommé was poured on,
which was disappointing. The intent of contrasting temperatures
was obvious but the implementation didn't quite work. The
flavors were all good, and the tuille added an interesting
crunch to the smooth sorbet-and-consommé.
- First Cherries & Lemon Thyme — Wenatchee
Bing Cherry-Oregon Olive Oil Cake, Lemon Thyme-Crème
Fraîsch Ice Cream, Whipped Spring Honey, and Candied
The olive oil cake wasn't anything special;
it was good for what it was, but it's not a favorite of mine.
The lemon thyme ice cream was very nice, and the whipped
honey looked just like whipped cream and was light and airy
- Coffees, Teas, & Local Beverages; Sweet Treats
— Malted Raspberry Milk Chocolate Truffle. Sweet Cicely
White Chocolate. Bay Caramel. Lavender Brittle.
Perennial Vintners Raspberry Port, "Frambelle," Pguet Sound,
The port was a bit mediciney to my palate (especially
after the Yquem). The lavender brittle didn't taste very
lavendery to me (though it's not a flavor one wants strong).
The chocolate truffle and the Sweet Cicely-filled white
chocolate were my favorites here. I had a cup of the Sniffles
tea which was nice enough.
In addition, they had two house-made breads (rustic seed bread
and wild-yeasted savory epi) from their wood oven, with house-churned
Jersey cow butter. At least one of us wasn't drinking alcohol,
and they had a variety of juices and infusions; several of us had
dietary restrictions (e.g., no lactose, no dill, no seafood) and
they had reasonable substitutions in their courses. They also sent
everyone home with a thank-you card with a sage shortbread. We
finally left the restaurant around 11:30pm.
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