Guest Post from our illustrious leader and Farmhouse Inn owner, Catherine Bartolomei
We were so pleased to be invited to host a dinner at the oh-so-famous James Beard House in New York City on April 16th. Steve, our chef, decided it would be perfect to bring Sonoma County spring to New York. So we did- and it happened to be the most beautiful spring-like week we'd ever experienced in the city. Going to James Beard, it turns out, is a lot of work. At least for our team it was, for Joe and I it was basically just great fun...
Joe, Chef Steve, Catherine, Pattie, Neils
Once the menu was decided, the team was assembled. We brought Chef Steve, Sous Chef, Neils Corsten, Pastry Chef, Pattie Taan and our Wine Director, Geoff Kruth MS. The logistics for preparing a meal at the James Beard House are somewhat daunting- so favors were called in, new friends were made, hotels and flights booked, and a transportation expert was hired... The produce and meat flew in with the chefs. Joe and I took another flight entirely... And we all converged, two days before the dinner. They worked. We played (Joe and I both brought our spouses and our eight year olds- my daughter, his son), and then all met up at Le Bernadin for dinner the night before James Beard.
The evening at James Beard was truly spectacular. We were joined by old friends in the city and loads of new friends. The event was a sell-out- which makes for a lovely, cozy time. Geoff brought some spectacular wines from some of our very best friends, and included our own Lost & Found Pinot Noir in the mix. The food really was superb. From the four different amuse offerings that included charred octopus and spring pea soup, to the stunning duo of beef and pork belly with sea scallop. Pattie outdid herself with a clementine veil over an olive oil cake with meyer lemon mousse. Geoff's pairings were spot on and we can't thank our Sonoma wine country friends enough for their participation. From single-vineyard Vermentino from Ryme to Iron Horse's Wedding Cuvee sparkling wine, the whole evening was a smash.
The menu included this enticing blurb to tempt those New Yorkers to make a trip to Farmhouse and the wine country.
"Located in the stunning Russian River Valley region of Sonoma County’s famed wine country, Farmhouse Inn& Restaurant is a rural sanctuary that represents the finest level of lodging, dining and spa, where eighteen sublime guest rooms and suites, a farm-fresh Michelin one star restaurant, and seasonal body treatments come together in one unforgettable experience. Surrounded by world-class vineyards, the six-acre property is anchored by an elegant, restored 1873 weatherboard farmhouse that houses the famed Farmhouse Restaurant, presided over by Executive Chef Steve Litke and Sonoma’s only Master Sommelier, Geoff Kruth. Dotted throughout are the beautifully appointed cottage and barn accommodations that each boast fireplaces, large tubs, steam showers or saunas, luxurious bedding and modern amenities. Farmhouse also features a tranquil landscaped pool, full service spa, kitchen and cutting gardens and ample outdoor lounge areas for sophisticated relaxation. Arriving at Farmhouse, guests are immediately transported into a gracious country lifestyle and can expect warm, seasoned hospitality and memorable personal encounters. Owned by siblings Joe and Catherine Bartolomei whose family has farmed in the area for five generations, Farmhouse has evolved from a lifetime of shared family traditions that center round the rhythms of nature."
Farmhouse kids take New York
Following the dinner guests were given some time to ask our chefs about the meal, items we featured and the wines. Chef's explanation of the 2 day soak he does for the pork belly stunned some diners and Pattie's technique for creating the clementine veil was a big topic. All guests were invited to visit at Farmhouse to experience wine country in wine country, but we couldn't have been more delighted to have been to have brought spring to NYC on the most beautiful week of the year.
Says Steve, "It was exciting enough just to be in NYC but to do a meal at the Beard House is at the top of every chef's bucket list, as it was mine. What amazing energy the city has." New York, it was a pleasure and we can't wait to come back again.