Some longtime friends are moving and soon. Over the years we've been hanging out together, we've enjoyed each other's company, but we've also shared some mighty fine meals together - in our homes, out in restaurants, on their boat puttering around the San Juans. It seemed only right to celebrate our friendship and their upcoming relocation with a really special outing. And The Herbfarm was definitely that.
This is a place that's legendary in these parts . . . where you don't order off a menu - the one seating each night has a themed menu, and the night we went, it was "The Herbal Atelier," described as: "For two weeks only we explore interesting flavors from our extensive collection of herbs and rare plants. Paired with summer vegetables, seafood, fowl, and meat, the kitchen showcases little-known herbal marvels. Each course is created to magnify and spotlight the flavor of a single herb, often in a new context." I had to look up 'atelier,' and basically it means "workshop." Yes, this was a meal, but I learned way more than I usually do at dinner.
Our experience began with a tour through an actual herb garden across from the restaurant itself. Not only did we see oodles of herbs growing, we nibbled on them too!
Here's a bird's-eye view of the small dining room, each place impeccably set.
The mood lighting didn't do much for my food photos, but imagine (clockwise from upper left) rockfish with corn soup; geoduck, sea cucumber, and chanterelles; cabbage and pear; sausage tart with peaches; beef steak tomatoes, with steak and filet beans; beet and foie gras; melon sorbet with a tiny macaron; huckleberry-graham cake, each enhanced with the likes of lemon grass, thyme, juniper berries, vanilla leaf, anise hyssop, goldenrod and geranium blossoms, and the list went on and on.
Talk about walking away from the table fully sated. We did. It was all extravagant enough that we won't be able to repeat it any time soon, but it was certainly a treat befitting a celebration.