This little country inn that Joe and I have created never ceases to amaze me. Somehow we have pulled together a team of people that Oprah would envy. Like I know anything about what Oprah would envy, but you probably get where I’m going. They’re amazing. So yesterday was the press lunch. And, wow.
Ellen, she’s a new friend who helps with marketing, flew in from LA (the flight on Horizon Air is just $138 round trip and the airport is only 10 minutes from us!), just for the lunch. Myra and Gina, who did all of the interiors in the Barn and re did the cottages and restaurant, showed up at the crack of dawn (that’s farm-talk for early) to do all of the flowers property-wide “Myra style”. The team from Glodow Nead Public Relations all came up. Even my husband, Rod Smith, wanted to come (which was rather unusual- not that he’s one to miss a party- but lunch doesn’t usually qualify…) It really was fun. We had ten press people and actually about ten of us, and some incredibly beautiful weather.
So, in talking with Steve, about the lunch, I said, “you know, just something simple. Everyone has to get back to work, so let’s keep it to an hour or so at the table”. Yeah, forget that. We all gathered for bubbly and hors d’oeuvres up at the big farm table in the barn (it’s cool- it’s this huge old table on the second floor landing that has great views of the valley). Remember, I told him, “just keep it simple”? I was thinking one or two little nibbles, some tours of the rooms and then we head down for a nice little lunch. Really, no one ever listens to me. Which sometimes works to my advantage… Briny oysters from our friends, Hog Island Oysters, in Tomales Bay, Sonoma Coast Dungeness crab legs, shelled, skewered and suspended above a tiny cup of fresh, chilled pea soup, one bite fresh tuna tartare timbales on our beautiful sauce spoons, some little fried cod fish balls on a fava puree all set in Chinese soup spoons all laid out on really beautiful, antique platters that Myra loaned us.
Everyone seemed to really like the barn- well, what were they going to say? But it really is beautiful, so they’re probably sincere… Then down to our simple, little lunch. Which ended up being so totally not simple or little that it had us all laughing as each course after course came out. Here’s the menu- but trust me, it doesn’t actually do the meal justice.
Welcome to Farmhouse
May 27th, 2009
Grilled Delta Asparagus
Maine lobster, preserved lemon aioli, spring vegetable salsa
Buttered Early Summer Corn Soup
lemon grass, chili, popcorn dust
Pasta di Carcoffi a la Porcini
housemade pasta, baby artichokes, parmesan cheese, braised Bartolomei Farm chard, sauce fonduta, mâche
La Bonne Terre Farms Organic Seasonal Greens
spring radish, ricotta salata, asparagus-chardonnay vinaigrette
Artisinal Cheese Course
Assorted Petit Fours and Sorbet Tasting
Sorry for the funky formatting- but I haven’t done my “blog tutorial” yet and have a lot to learn. Every bite was divine. Geoff, our Wine Director and Sonoma County’s only Master Sommelier, was not thrilled to find out that the two most significant courses included asparagus and artichokes- two notoriously difficult foods to pair with wines. But, thanks to the new direction that many West Sonoma County winemakers are now embracing, the bright flavors, crisp acidity and slightly bitter finish in both the Wind Gap Pinot Gris and the Ant Hill Pinot Noir paired beautifully with the food. (If you haven’t heard of these wineries, seek them out!) The petit fours and sorbet tasting at the end, blew all of our minds. Patti is our new pastry chef, and she just really showed us what she could do. Sort of bite sized tarts, creams and bars in about six different flavors, shapes and textures, alongside these mini “ice cream cones”. She took tuilles, rolled them into cones, dropped macerated fruit into the bottom and a scoop of matching fruit sorbet (wild strawberry, tart grapefruit and banana were the three flavors) and then planted them in an expresso cup filled with coarsely ground sugar that sort of adhered to the base of the cone. Each bite was unique, delicious and unexpected. The platters that came out were immense. A few little bites went uneaten by our very satiated group. But, the chefs tell me they never made it back to them in the kitchen….
All in all a wonderful day. Anyone who wants more information about the selections or any recipes, just let me know. I can probably get them.