THE HERBFARM, Woodinville, Washington

Speaking of fully loaded, last night we ate a nine course dinner at the five star Herbfarm.  Each menu is designed around seasonal products of the Northwest and our dinner was “A Menu for a Copper King.”  The entrie menu featured salmon and, of course, herbs.  After a tour of the herb garden with small tastes of different plants, we sat down to this sumptuous dinner at 7 and arose around midnight.  Each course was explained and paired with wine.  It was quite an experience!  Our menu –

1. Paddlefish caviar on crispy salmon skin, stellar bay oyster with sorrel sauce and copper river salmon dog.  This was served with a 1997 Argyle brut.  I think the real star of this dish was the caviar which was served on creme fraiche and was not too salty. It went well with the crispy skin.  The salmon dog on a brioche bun was also really good.  And although I’m not an oyster fan, I enjoyed that as well.

2. Lemon thyme consomme with dungeness crab, halibut cheeks, and razor clams served with a 2005 King Estate Pinot Gris.  This was also pretty good.  I would have liked the consomme to have been a little hotter but all the ingredients worked well together.

3.  Nettle, goat cheese, and green garlic ravioli served with a 2004 L’Ecole No. 41 Semillon, Columbia Valley. The ravioli were served with wild fiddleheads and a lovage sauce.  This was really good.  The goat cheese wasn’t too strong and I’d never had fiddleheads before.  They were quite delicious.

4.  Copper River sockeye salmon salad with pea sprouts, wild greens, radishes and herbs served with a 2005 Soter Vineyards North Valley Rose.  This was fabulous.  The salmon had been cooked slowly at 185 degrees and was meltingly perfect but I really thought the greens stole the show.  In combination with the salmon, the little piquant tastes of watercress, arugula, mint and other herbs was just perfect.

5. May Wine Ice.  A strange herbal Moselle sorbet which worked as a palette cleanser.

6.  Copper River King Salmon with morel mushrooms, asparagus, lentil croquette and pinot noir-fennel sauce served with a 2004 Beaux Freres Belles Soeurs Pinto Noir.  My absolute favorite thing of the evening?  The lentil croquette.  Yes, the lowly lentil was raised to a new level in a savory croquette full of herbs and with a hint of sweetness.  I couldn’t eat all the salmon because I was really full at this point but if they’d given me another croquette, I would have found room.  The asparagus was too crunchy for my taste and I would have liked a little bit more of the sauce.  Oh, and morels?  Yum.

7.  Sally Jackson Guernsey cow cheese with a dried fruit turnover and cress salad.  Surprisingly strong cheese  that combined well with the cress and the sweetness of the fruit.

8.  Sweet cicely creme brulee and fritter, rhubarb cobbler with angelica ice cream and lemon verbena sherbet cone.  Not one, not two but three desserts.  Can’t keep eating.  Must lay down.  Took small tastes of each.  All good.

9.  Brewed coffees, teas and infusions with a selection of small treats and a vintage 1916 Barbeito Malvasia Madeira.  We each had our own French press for teas and coffees.  Could not eat small treats.  I am now at bursting point.  Headline reads, “California Woman Explodes at Herbfarm.”

Oh, and there were also these incredibly tasty onion-potato rolls that they kept coming around and serving you with a chive butter.

Wow, what a meal. 

Table consensus – A+



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