Sunday, September 23, 2007
Dinner on the Porch at Elodie Farms
We arrived at the farm on a balmy evening -- the threatened rains holding off (though we truly need them), the weather pleasant, the sky clear, and the evening light of the fall season giving the farmstead a beautiful rosy glow.
Anne, partner of Dave Artigues in the Elodie Farms enterprise, allowed Charles and I first choice of our table on the porch in celebration of our anniversary. We chose a corner table that overlooked the grazing goats (providers of the delicious cheeses Ann and Dave make and sell and which were incorporated in our dinner).
Before dining, we toured the farm and visited the goats and pigs that seemed ready to pose for us. Old, weathered barns and a most-picturesque farmhouse were begging to be sketched and painted, but, alas, I declined the desire in order to focus on our celebration ...! settling instead for photographs, but vowing to return with our plein air group.
We settled in our seats after walking the farm, eager and ready for the tasty treats we were promised.
"Dinner on the Porch" is a unique venture, especially for the rural community of Bahama, NC. Dave and Anne have invited chefs from the very, very BEST of area restaurants to prepare a multi-course meal in the farmhouse kitchen and serve it to guests of the farm 'al fresco.' (Though I understand the dining moves to the fireplaced farmhouse rooms during the winter.) The atmosphere provided by the farm, the sounds of the night, crickets, frogs, a bat or two keeping mosquitoes at bay, the sounds of the animals as they readied themselves for the night, seemed almost to contrast so WELL with the five-star, culinary masterpieces that were served!
Our chef for THIS evening, Ted Domville of the new soon-to-be-opened restaurant "Six Plates" at Erwin Terrace, Durham, created a most EXQUISITE meal -- in six courses:
Amuse Bouche (fresh hamachi, lotus root, avocado puree, ponzu gelee) -- words fail me to describe the incredible BURSTS of different flavors -- but each, complimented by the glass of wine provided), awakened every tastebud and every feeling of excitement that was promised.
Local Tomato "Tartar" - sketched above, was a combinaton of locally grown red and yellow tomatos, herbed chevre (Ann and Dave's), a taro chip and reduction of Balsamic -- and was incredible!!! The blends of tastes were just PERFECT!
Yin-Yang Scallop - Tom served two of these - the first with szuchuan peppercorn and strawberry tri-pepper - also incredibly good, and both Charles' and my favorite - the scallop with parmesan gai lon risotto and Okinawan purple potato puree. YUM!!!!!!
(I would have LOVED to take more photos of these -- but by then it was dark and the soft lighting didn't do my attempts very well! LOL)
Our next course was the fish. This complex dish caused a bit of delay in the kitchen -- but was worth waiting for - Banana-leaf wrapped NC grouper, green tea soba noodles, soy ginger mushroom broth -- OH MY GOSH!!!!
Elodie Farms whey-fed pork, dragonfruit slaw, pomegranate molasses -- THIS was the epitome of sublime tastes and sent us sailing! OH MY GRACIOUS!!! The dragonfruit slaw, made from the fruit of a, we believe Asian, cactus, was just the perfect complement of the tender, sweet, cut-with-a-fork pork that just was the most SENSATIONAL culinary taste I have ever had!
We ended this supreme evening with a warm chocolate lava cake, molten munster center and green tea whipped cream!! OH MY GRACIOUS!!!!
Tom, Matthew and, forgive me, I can't recall the name woman chef who was part of the team, each in turn explained the dishes, the choice of wine, a bit of the history of the ingredients. The explanations helped us to truly appreciate the complex flavors and the unimaginable search for such rare items as the dragonfruit and the 'slow-food approach' of pairing of these with locally-grown, in-season vegetables and Dave's cheeses.
I simply cannot praise Anne and Dave for their phenomenal venture and the eagerly awaited Six Plates restaurant and Ted Domville, Chef. The farm, the food, the atmosphere, the evening, my dear husband -- all of it -- overwhelmingly superb -- all of it more -- a most humbly appreciated gift. (For more information about Elodie Farms, please see http://www.elodiefarms.com)
(Please see http://www.flickr.com/photos/linfrye for photos of the farm)