Apr 11, 2007

Blue Hill

A few months ago, well into my second martini with no dinner, and while listening passionately to Joni Mitchell's Blue album, I suggested that Guy get one of his authors to do a book on the subject.

A $150,000 advance later, Guy took me out to dinner.

I was mighty excited. I'd never been to a restaurant like this before, with the fancy and the fresh and the famous and all. I got a manicure and pedicure in anticipation--not the smartest of ideas since it, um, snowed over the weekend, and every single manicure I've ever gotten has chipped within the first day. And I was starting my new job, so it's not like I could just sit and admire my pretty nails until dinnertime.

However! This is the best manicure I've ever had! Still no chips! Days later! Was a sign of things to come!

We were ushered through the libraryish main dining room to the back garden room--which I much preferred. It's smaller and more peaceful, and we had it to ourselves for the first half hour.

The tasting menu with the wine pairings included dishes that I would not normally have ordered--which was sort of the point. They started us off with shot glasses filled with celery root puree and beet and grapefruit juice, shortly followed by carrots on a fence (seriously. Little fresh off the farm carrots, complete with greens, on a tiny metal fence) and bread smothered with what may have been lard but in any case tasted like salty heaven. Accompanied by glasses of Prosecco. It was all delicate and lovely and slightly silly in its excess. Or maybe I'm just unused to that kind of thing.

The next course was my favorite. The wine arrived first, a Roero Arneis that at first we couldn't quite get a handle on. It was hard to nail down exactly what it tasted like--and my google search has just told me that Arneis means "difficult or stubborn," so now I feel like I might accidentally know what I'm talking about here. But when tried with the dish--very nearly raw White King Salmon, served on top of grapefruit slices with a paprika and shallot vinaigrette--everything tasted much stronger and all those mismatched ingredients suddenly made sense. It was neat.

The second wine was a Cabernet Franc, a blushy wine which was light but quite caramely toward the end there. It was served with a wild striped bass served with mushrooms! which Guy ate! and an almond and shellfish foam. These flavors all made much more sense to me to start with, and the scarily named honshimeji mushrooms were delicious.

The third course wasn't served for a very long time, because the highly professional waitstaff don't interrupt people in the middle of intense conversations.* In any case, it was my least favorite. The wine was a smooth, heavy red and it accompanied the milk fed poulard and ginger noodles. Guy tried to convince me that combining Italian and Chinese made sense, much like those restaurants that serve Chinese and Mexican takeout make sense, because Marco Polo was Italian or possibly Portuguese and he sailed to China and brought back spices. Uh-huh. We were, after all, on our fourth glass of wine at this point.

The blood orange sorbet with milk jam (a "dessert amuse" served in a port glass) was heavenly.

As was the steamed cheesecake, served in jars like this. Possibly my favorite detail of the meal.

When we got up to leave--not sober, but not stumbling either--I noticed something rather unfortunate. All the food I'd eaten had somehow managed to drop not into my stomach, but into my feet which seemed to have swelled and were now much, much too small for my new Geoxs. So, in fact, I did stumble home.

*We got engaged. Tiny, insignificant little detail.

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