It’s been just over a month since my wedding day and just one month since I had a life altering experience on my honeymoon. Our trip, aptly named ‘Tour de Food’, was a culinary enterprise at the best foodie spots Seattle had to offer. This post is about the second contrasting experience that changed how I see human relationships. This is about our night at The Herb Farm (http://www.theherbfarm.com/). You can read part one here.
When it came to The Herb Farm we had a better handle on what we were going to experience. After all, when you book a table, they tell you the theme and expectations on their site. This meant we knew we were going to eat with others. We also knew the food was going to be in our ideal taste range (smokey). As well, we were still flying pretty high from the amazing meals we had earlier in the week. Even if this turned into a bust, we would be happy.
A couple of hours before our reservation Jennifer received an ominous text, “Come early and we’ll give you a snack”. Now, as an adult, when was the last time you heard the word “snack” and started running? Of course we made sure to get there early.
We were the first ones.
As we sipped our “rose drink” (rose hip tea with rose water), we marveled at the sheer amount of detail in the decor. Several other couples trickled in. The hostesses told everyone that we could walk around anywhere we liked before the garden tour. They even made note to check out the library and the wine cellar. Like kids in a 50’s mystery novel we couldn’t help but snoop. After all, they did offer.
We checked out the Chef’s library that covered everything from rare cheeses to mushroom hunting from Asian inspiration to Norther European desserts. There was even a few “for dummies” books. The collection was a site to behold. The library also overlooked the dining area. We got a sneak peak at our home for the evening. The anticipation grew stronger with each passing moment.
We headed downstairs towards the direction of the wine cellar. We noticed everyone was in the same spots we had left them 15 minutes prior. In the Cellar, much to our surprise the Sommelier was finishing some minor stocking. We had never met somebody so dedicated to their craft. He was knowledgeable and enthralled in his life’s work. After several minutes we felt guilty for monopolizing his time, but we said that we would leave once another couple came and he was delighted to have the conversation.
No one ever showed.
We had a brief parting with the Sommelier and headed out to the main lobby. Everyone had left to check out the garden. The Chef was standing there waiting for us. He walked us and a couple “regulars” out. All the other guests passed us as they headed back into the restaurant. It appeared that they didn’t want to spend much time outside. Considering we had the chef with us, we knew we could take his lead. He would know when we had to head back in.
The herbs were amazing. The most memorable was cinnamon basil that tasted like a stick of Big Red. There was also a flower that tasted just like a head of fresh garlic. Plus there were some juvenile pigs that we couldn’t help but fawn over their cuteness.
We followed the chef back inside. Everyone was standing where they were earlier! No one explored! Many people were on their phones or quietly standing. They began calling us one reservation at a time.
We could see nearly everyone. Most could see us. We could hear many of the conversations around us. We don’t think anyone paid attention enough to what we were talking about.
Throughout the night we could see people on their phones. There was one couple taking pictures of each course, but remained silent throughout the night. We could hear one couple complain about work, relationships, and life. One couple left early. As far as we could tell, everyone enjoyed the food. The staff had made an effort to talk about the history of the restaurant and the intentionality of the food. It was a nice show as the cooks got our first course prepared. We had even noticed all the wine pairings were from women owned vineyards (this we found out was intentional. “raising voices up”). Yet, it seemed that only half of the guests cared to pay any attention at all.
Much like Canlis, we commented on how we had grown and how we knew people that couldn’t survive the night. Our favorite course we nicknamed “lembas bread” that held a distinct umami satisfaction. We noticed a sacrilegious couple that didn’t bother to finish theirs. We both laughed and lemented. The entire evening we sat in such a public setting, but we felt we were invisible.
We could see everyone, but they couldn’t see us.
As we walked to the car we could hear people complaining. One gentleman indicated that there, “wasn’t enough liquor” and “would rather have had a steak”. Seems there isn’t a way to please everyone.
I really hope that these last two posts don’t make us sounds pretentious. Due to our appreciation, we felt we received more. Due to our gratefulness, we felt like we enjoyed the food and each other.
I wanted to press these thoughts to anyone willing to read. For God’s sake, if you spend more than $100 per person, at least try to enjoy the night. That is not a difficult task.
As always, I hope you found something to add to your everyday rhetoric repertoire and thank you for reading. Let me know if you noticed the details in the post’s picture.