I had a little retreat in Maine earlier this week--a brief get away from Newport's hectic pace to the quiet of Ogunquit and Kennebunkport. It was delightful to walk about in another lovely seaside village with complete anonymity. I got some sun, read my books for school, and relaxed--the highlight was dinner at The White Barn Inn. If you have not yet eaten there, run don't walk, it is that good... To start, the savvy and charming barkeep, Drew, made me a delightful and refreshing St. Germain cocktail to get my taste buds alert and excited for that which was to come...and it worked.
I began my meal with a glass of the 07 Kistler Chardonnay. It is rich and full bodied, buttery without losing fruit, creamy and just a touch of vanilla. The wine has started to oxidized, and it has a caremel undertone that makes me think of French chard. I had first some locally baked rye bread and fresh salted butter and then an amuse-bouche--that is fancy for a lil' somethin' to get the dinner started. Okay, I am being silly, this was an elegant starter of smoked salmon pate, with a whipped creme fraiche, amazing because of the thin fingerling potato chip...and with the chard, perfect...
First course, two big beautiful fresh Maine scallops, bursting and herb crusted, seared dark on the top, but fleshy and soft, dripping with juice, so supple, and rich, perfect with the wine, really brings out the minerality of this chardonnay. There is a lovely soft bacon flavor, does not interrupt but reminds you how delicious bacon is, as if one could forget, and the celiac puree brings a interesting bite, something spicy, white pepper maybe, and then the sweetness of the corn. Each bite brings something new, some combination I had not yet noticed.
I should mention that I am dining alone, part of my new lifestyle, and it is, admittedly, strange to sit alone in this space designed for and full of couples, but I kind of like it. Feel like I am different, I am here with me, talking to myself, by way of this little device--I love my ipad, she is my date;), well she and my words, always have those...and, so I slip into that moment...
Next course: Corn chowder, but this is smooth and elegant, how does one do that? Not typically what I order, though I love it, Sometimes the cream is too much, but not this, no cream, and little tiny roasted potatoes at the bottom, thought it was corn, Peter said it was the best thing he had tried on the menu and I agree. So amazing. Texture like a thin broth, and yet this sublet smooth richness, I like food that are dichotomous complex and contradictory. (Peter is my dear friend, who is taking care of things in the front of the house at White Barn, he took very good care of me!)
And, so did the Chef, who sent out an extra course; what a treat, love feeling like I am special:). And, what makes one feel more special than some butter poached lobster. Yummmmmmmmm that is , hands down, the most tender piece of lobster I have eaten, and I have had my share. Seriously, that was so supple and luscious, like a vouluptuous woman who wants to pleasure you, and does. I am reminded of Jack Johnson's words, "she did and she does and she'll do it again." How can he follow this?
And there is more, now I am finishing the second glass of the Kistler, could not resists, and I am awaiting the 2009 Gros Nore Bandol Rouge, with my cod...and here it is, roasted cod, with fresh main lobster ravioli, asparagus and a creme frothy yumminess. Champagne froth made with skim milk adorns this dish and it is so lovely....too rich for the chard actually, dish outshines it....but the bandol is perfect!!! And by the glass is amazing:). That is a testament to their commitment to quality. Okay the roasted cod was simple itself, and delicious, I love that fish, maybe my New England sensibility but what ever it is, I love it, the texture is so satisfying and the subtle salty freshness is so delicious,and the addition of the lobster filled rviolo. This was not a filing, it was all lobster and perfectly prepared. I am nearly satiated, but there is still desert to come.
But what is this? Pre-dessert. Who gets "pre-dessert"? :). Oh, I guess, me. I love that!
I have been invited into the kitchen....what is a girl to do?... :). I am living my own dream, how could I ever complain?
After a quick visit to to meet the chef, I return to my table and wait for the dessert-dessert, banana souffle. Dark choc sauce, that is poured into the hot souffle at the table, served with a lovely scoop of a peanut butter ice cream. Well, what does one pair with that kind of decadence....cup of coffee....yes, wise choice, though I really want some port:).
Just when I think I can do no more, it has all be so fabulous, there is one last course, little bites, really? Should have run more than 5 miles today!
This meal was outrageous, from start to finish each bite satisfying and exciting. It was both familiar and innovative without being off putting...I am impressed and can't wait to return for more. It is so fun to indulge and be treated like royalty:) Thank you Peter and everyone at White Barn!
Hope you have eaten a meal lately that has rocked your world, and enjoyed some fabulous wine with it!