What Does a $200 Meal Look Like?

A few weekends ago I was lucky enough to attend a dinner at the Herbfarm with my similarly food-obsessed friend, Shawna. The Herbfarm is not just any restaurant. It is one of the most lauded dining experiences in Washington state, if not the country.

Each evening is a set nine-course menu that adheres to a seasonal theme. Our night was “A Spring Forager’s Dinner,” featuring, unsurprisingly, a bounty of foraged Northwest ingredients. I honestly do not know how to use written words to adequately emphasize the amazing freshness of each course, or the intense satisfaction at the end of our meal. Actually, I think in this case it is more effective to show rather than tell.

These are all pictures taken in semi-stealth, meaning no flash or rearranging of plates/glasses at our communal table. I didn’t want to be the asshole with the repeatedly┬ádisruptive┬ácamera in this elegant atmosphere, blinding all the sophisticated diners who threw down hundreds of dollars for this meal. But I had to have something to show you!

 

1. From the Edge of the Sea

Kombu-Cured Albacore Tuna on Seaweed Crackers with Oregon Wasabi Root
Pickled Bull Kelp Stalk with Puget Sound Geoduck on Nori Seaweed Sauce
Local Spot Prawn Soup with Smoked Quinault River Steelhead Roe & Chives

 

2. Hen ‘n’ Nettle

Pan-Roasted Eastern Washington Spring Chicken & Its Crispy Confit
With Poached Hanna Hama Oysters, Radish, Stinging Nettle Sauce, and Lovage Oil

 

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Revenge Served Cold: Nettle Pesto

Growing up in England nettles were a large part of my childhood, whether I liked it or not — and I generally didn’t. This wretched plant caused many a tear in my household, its stinging leaves leaving immense pain that lasted for hours, with little sympathy from my parents as I was usually up to no good in the garden or local park, causing said sting.

When I saw nettles at the local farmers’ market here in D.C., I jumped at the chance to fight back, to serve justice to this leafy plant once and for all. There’s very little you can actually do with nettles, the most obvious was soup, but in these late spring months it seemed a tad too warm for that. I settled on pesto, a simple and versatile sauce that I could use in many dishes.

We’ve cooked basil brownies and avocado milkshakes, now it’s time for the nettle pesto.

 

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