Archive for the ‘Mystery Review’ Category

Mystery Review – How to Eat in Your Favorite Chef’s Dining Room

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Location: Once named Petapawag

The Foodie: Strongly Recommends

Yes, I have a dirty habit of secretively clinging to some of my more exclusive dining experiences while simultaneously bragging about them here on the blog. But hey, we all have our foibles.

Plus, there’s always Google if you are inspired enough to track down the source of a mystery review. Or, you can unabashedly support my ego by pleading for the answer via the bird or the lower-case f.

Like the last mystery review, this one was inspired by a restaurant that combined exclusivity, farm-to-table cooking, and culinary intimacy.

We hopped in a car and drove on three or four highways. We passed by the relatively unmarked locale in the dark a few times before reaching our final destination.

The time: 6:45. We were told to arrive promptly. Dinner is served only on Friday and Saturday nights.

The menu: Shown below. They had me at “duck cracklings”

The scene: There are many reasons why this town founded by the great John Tinker was worth visiting for a three-hour dining experience at said mystery establishment. Here are a few:

  • Seasonally-inspired, farm-to-table cooking in an environment where the chef personally introduces each course and answers questions about their approach
  • Six courses of exquisitely-executed food for $60. A steal for the quality you receive here.
  • A rare BYOB establishment. We sported a 2005 Premier Cru Bourgogne from Domaine Michel Gay et Fils for the occasion.
  • Small capacity, communal-dining format housed in a refurbished carriage house on the grounds of a farmstead.
  • The place is run by a family powered by a passion for sharing good foodstuffs.

The food: Painstakingly prepared, creatively concocted – unique dishes with a nod to tradition. Duck smoked to succulent perfection. Apples reduced over the course of several hours to caramel. Parsnip and pear married into a rich and creamy soup. Careful thought applied to create a quintessential late Fall meal. Others we spoke with throughout the evening had been here five, six, seven times and said the cooking never falls short of spectacular. Observe:

Parsnip & Pear Soup

 

Poached Pear & Mache Salad

 

Fenugreek-Smoked Duck

 

Pumpkin Panna Cotta, Apple Caramel, Haute Fig Newton

The people: Unlike other eateries, our mystery locale will seat you at a large table with other hungry food lovers. Yes, there will be an expectation of that thing called “socializing” in which you will meet other human beings and communicate verbally. You can also bring a larger crowd and occupy one of two tables that seat six to eight individuals to solely exchange words with your own circle.

We loved the communal slant on everything though. Got a chance to meet the owners, our chef for the evening (a seasoned vet with several restaurants under his belt), a group of musicians, and a fellow blogger who writes an approachable, personal, and funny healthy living blog that can be found at sweatygirl.net. Our table mates laughed at our jokes, shared in our food joys, and overlooked our curious weird-nesses. For that we love them. The shared dining experience confirmed my believe that good cuisine is only enhanced by good chummeryTM

Excellent food, BYOB, reasonable price, intimate setting, awesome chef, farm-to-table, creative technique, social interaction – you understand my desire to keep this one under relative lock and key, right?

A Mystery Review from Beyond

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

The Foodie: Strongly Recommends

Latitude: 44.131190

Longitude: -68.874277

Typically I gush forth every savory detail of my dining experiences to my loyal coterie of devoted readers.

This is the exception.

I’m going all nautical on your asses and only supplying the coordinates of my dining locale…if you are interested enough you will get in Sherlock mode and solve this mystery yourself.

Like a Dan Brown novel – this is going to be a page-turner filled with twists, turns, and biblical secrets.

It started with a long car drive. Then a scenic ferry boat ride. Then a confused walk through small streets…then we arrived at a little-known paradise.

To continue on with my food riddle, I’ll simply show and describe the foods available to us at this mystery locale. Please note that the bulk of what is described below came to us from within a five mile radius from a farm owned by the mystery dining spot.

  • Light Puff Pastries at Teatime – Our first indulgences were assorted light phyllo pastries filled with chicken, goat cheese, and caramelized onions. Washed down with warm tea this rivaled a quaint cottage in the English countryside.
  • Fresh Local Oysters – Beautiful, refreshing, salty, and smooth bivalves harvested a mile away and served up for a buck a piece. Delightful.

 

  • Salad of Fancy Greens, Chevre, and Sunflower Seeds with Citrus Champagne Vinaigrette –  Light, delicate, and a perfect starter to the miracle that lay ahead.

  • Salad of Summer Squash, Toasted Pine Nuts, Parmesan Reggiano, and Lemon Vinaigrette – Another excellent prelude to our main course and clearly made with local ingredients.
  • Lobster Bohémienne

In the middle of eating this dish, I paused, took a kneeling position on the floor near our table, and thanked the Lord for this bounty provided to us. J/K LOL :-) All tween social nomenclature aside, this was simply one of the best lobster dishes I’ve ever had – prepared simply steamed atop a heavenly sauce of cognac cream, parsley, and lemon. Mini soft baguette and corn on the cob completed the plate. As the last breath leaves my body, I will think of this dish.

Final Meal

  • Desserts of Caramel Apple Crisp with Cinnamon Whipped Cream and Maple Walnut Ice Cream Both home-made. Both felt like being tucked into bed as a 4 year old.
  • Breakfast of Homemade Granola, side of Lamb Sausage.

We awoke in the morning (no we did not sleep in the restaurant, there were beds nearby) and enjoyed a light breakfast of excellent house-made cereal and two small links of lamb sausage produced by the farm.

Before we knew it, our mystery eats were exhausted and we were on the ferry back home. As we journeyed back from this magical place, we recalled fond memories of hand-scrawled items listed on a chalkboard of fresh goods du jour, a homey yet stylish dining and drinking area, an intimate setting, and a food experience that will forever be etched into my mind.

There are few places like this anywhere – and for that, I wish to keep it a relative secret (while bragging publicly about what I ate).

Interested yet? Well break out that compass (or app equivalent) Columbus and you too can share in this wonderment.

Hit me on the ‘Chirp or the ‘Book if you think you’ve cracked the delicio code.