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Blue Hill at Stone Barns Experience

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When I started planning this East Coast Roadie, I started plotting destinations on a map. What I realized very quickly was that along the route was a very special restaurant, one that I’ve been thinking about for a while now. I put my nose to the grind stone and worked my magic to get a Sunday afternoon reservation which worked perfectly into the road trip plans.

A visit to Blue Hill at Stone Barns (as there’s a Blue Hill in Manhattan as well) is considered by many food lovers as a pilgrimage to Mecca. First of all, it’s not located anywhere close to anything, so you’re making a trek to Potantico Hills, NY just for Stone Barns. Secondly, the experience isn’t just about the meal as your visit should include time before/after to walk around the farm to gain a connection with the land. It may seem frou frou to some, but I like these types of educational adventures that allow me to gain a better understanding of food.

We set off on a sunny Sunday, from Philadelphia to upstate New York, for an afternoon of food education on lands formerly owned by the Rockefeller’s now known as Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

Any visit to the restaurant should be accompanied by a visit through the grounds of Blue Hill, also known as “the Centre for Food and Agriculture”, if not for the educational piece, but definitely to work up your appetite for the meal ahead.

What you learn on your visit is that the food from the restaurant is closely tied to what is being produced on the farm. So the animals that would end up on your plate, were the ones living a wonderful life outside, and the fruits and vegetables we’d see growing in the fields, would be picked at their peak and prepared for us with a gentle hand. I’ve read a lot about Chef Dan Barber, and have seen his TEDtalks on youtube and fully buy into his philosophies behind creating a consciousness about the effects of everyday food choices and food sustainability and  his theories behind the connection of local food sources and the creation of delicious food. After an hour walking around the farm, and recounting many of Barber’s interviews, I was very excited when it was finally time for our lunch reservation.

The inside of the restaurant was gorgeous, fine work for the former stables on the Rockefeller estate. We were seated at a lovely table overlooking the room with a glass of bubbly.

The journal takes you through the bounty of each month and gave a good clue to what we’d be served.

Again, I’ve waited too long to write this post, with no notes as a reminder. I’ve done my best to remember the specifics of the meal.

Amuse of V9 juice (because 8 is just not enough). A “pow” of flavour that accomplished its role in amusing my bouche.
Raw veggies washed in a salt bath. This served as a bit of an awakening of how dull commercial produce can be. Like an amplifier on each vegetable’s flavour.
Mint chocolate onion whoopie pie. Yes I said mint chocolate and onion. Not gross, not good, just interesting.
Goat cheese with dried root vegetable chips.
Parsnips wrapped in pancetta and sesame seeds.
Mini tomato burgers.
Naked tomatoes for “make your own salad”.
Various ingredients for “make your own salad”.
More interactive eating with various grilled veggies, which you drag through the various dressings on the plate. One of my favourite’s of the meal.
Brioche and chard marmalade to eat with the ricotta to follow.
The freshest ricotta finished table side. True testament to the Blue Hill’s philosophy that food can be simply spectacular.
Cured salmon with gem coloured cherry tomatoes.
A perfectly runny farm egg with field mushrooms and bacon.
Berkshire pork tenderloin in some sort of sauce. Although I enjoyed this, after seeing the fat pig outside I was disappointed the pork course consisted of such a lean cut.

Celebratory Chocolate Cake.
Baked plums with ice cream.
Stone fruit with chocolate, seeds and nuts.

Blue Hill at Stone Barns was an amazing experience. It wasn’t the best meal I’ve had all year but I have set the bar very high as I have been very spoiled in this year of eating. As I ate through many courses of skillfully prepared, beautifully presented, simply delicious food I felt the pride of the chefs who were able to do all of this with ingredients outside their door.

Blue Hill at Stone Barns – 630 Bedford Rd, Pocantico Hills, NY

2 Replies to “Blue Hill at Stone Barns Experience”

  1. Yesssssss!! I’ve been waiting for this post! Great pictures. I remember that ricotta was a big highlight. I should dig up my photos and post them too. I think I made my husband take notes on his phone so we could remember all our courses 😉

    So what was your favorite meal of the year?

    P.S. happy anniversary!

    1. Thanks Nicole! You should definitely dig up your photos.

      Up until yesterday, I would have said 41degrees. But I had one of the most special food experiences of my life yesterday in Oaxaca which hopefully you’ll read about soon!

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