I dreamt recently about a restaurant meal that seemed straight out of Berkeley, CA in the 1970s. I was perched on a high hill, overlooking a blue bridge where cars glided across a river. There was a vase on my table with a daisy and some fresh mint plucked from the garden outside the restaurant that very morning. Every dish I was served was very simple, with simple adornments like a flower or some thyme from the garden. There were no busy plates; there was such deep respect for each ingredient that some things arrived completely solo, like the oregano bread (which is delivered when hot from the oven, or not at all).
After delivering a sorbet intermezzo, our busboy shyly asked if we’d like to smell something that “smells just like that pineapple in that sorbet.” He grinned when we said yes, and ran to the garden to snip us a green leaf. He delivered the leaf on a small white plate. We tore it in half to split it, rubbed it, and smelled our fingers. They smelled just like the sorbet! And then we ate the leaf, which tasted green and sagelike and grassy.
The owner drifted by, chatting with us about the musicians in the corner, the source of the extraordinary snails in a dish, her work and pride in the farm and the restaurant. She handed us a scroll tied with ribbon, containing a copy of our menu, and a bottle of housemade blueberry vinegar when we left. We floated to the car and across the blue bridge, stunned at our discovery, wondering when we could come back.
Did we just dream that dinner?
We didn’t. And you should go to Patowmack Farm in Lovettsville, VA soon and see for yourself.
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- June 13, 2008 / 10:00 am