Haute Eats

In three weeks we are flying to Tacoma to see our daughter and celebrate the successful completion of her first semester of graduate school. She is aiming for a Master’s Degree in Social Work from USC.  She has done very well thus far. If all goes according to plan, she will be done in May.

Daughter decided that the Washington wine country around Woodinville was the place to spend the bulk of our visit.  She booked a dinner there for us (at our expense, but we don’t mind) at a place called the Herb Farm for a nine course dinner lasting four hours, with foods and local wines sourced within 100 miles of Woodinville. She says we are taking Uber so we don’t need a designated driver. We will dine, in an intimate group,  with other people we have never met. I think it sounds fun, and possibly alarming.

Daughter hates fish, but is willing to try Geoduck with turnip, Dungeness crab with shiso, purslane, and cucumber, along with Fried oyster with spicy egg yolk sauce, not to mention Lummi Island Tribal Reef-netted sockeye salmon in Zucchini blossom and green coriander sauce. She says she can tolerate it because the portions are small, and she will be brave.

We are to dine on 7-year old, pastured Snohomish Valley Black Angus (I think that means tough, chewy cow) with black currants, bone marrow, beets, and bachelor buttons.  Let us not forget the marigold buttermilk sherbet, Skagit Valley purple barley malt Ice cream, Gravenstein apples, cabbage with crispy duck confit, green field-burned rye berries with mushroom sauce,  house-churned Holstein butter,  and sourdough loaf.  I have left out many other things we will be served, but you get the picture.

We never eat  like this, and I don’t expect we will do it again, but what fun!

What is the hautest of cuisines you have eaten? What makes for good food in your book?



23 thoughts on “Haute Eats”

  1. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I gave up “fine dining,” meaning pretentious restaurants or stuffy formality, years ago, simply because I felt so uncomfortable and on stage in such surroundings.. Now I love a restaurant with a casual atmosphere and wonderful food, such as Eatery 112 downtown. For the last decade that has been a big favorite for special occasions. At other people’s homes I love a buffet and a pot luck to which good cooks contribute (ala BBC).

    I used to belong to a group of people that hosted dinners, mostly potlucks, for each other. However, several people got carried away with the formality of it all, seating 20 people in a large dining room with grandma’s silver out for all to see. That was not my idea of fun at all. After the most formal, and uncomfortable of those gatherings, I drifted away from that group. The food was not even that good.

    So when I sold my practice and FINALLY had a signed purchase agreement, we headed off to Eatery 112 to celebrate. THat is about as “Haute” as I get. The food is wonderful, the atmosphere is fun and relaxed, and celebration is possible.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I have no experience with cuisine that could be fairly called haute. But l’m pretty happy with the not-so-haute if it’s simple and fresh. A soup that is well seasoned and served with a crusty bread makes a perfect meal.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. 20 years ago when we were still new here and our son lived up among you south Mpls horde, he biked down on a nice summer Saturday and we went out touring in our car. We went to New Prague (why is that New PRAYgue and not New PRAHgue?) so Sandy could put on her Czech cap for the day and not her Russian one; she can declare herself either. We dropped into the little hotel dining room, then famous for its chef. We could not eat but they had an opening for their x-course meal the next day. So we booked and drove back up. 2.5 hours. Don’t remember the cost. Was up there. We do not regret it. Fun to do once. A on-off for us. But it was just good food.
    Reading a English cultural commentator who made the comment how he hates it when poor man’s food becomes haute. I agree.
    We do on occasion go find ourselves a high tea, Sandy and I. She loves them. I think they are okay and fun to do for her. I am not sure women do not think I am invading a feminine stronghold when we walk in. Want to try the Arb one but it has a few items in it Sandy would be afraid to eat out on the road.
    Last night we tried the new Wings and Rings that opened here. Wow. Was that food repulsive. It was way beyond just having opened. De-Haute indeed.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Renee, have a great trip.

    I struggle with haughty cuisine. Once, down in Charleston SC we had a charcuterie plate. I didn’t know what I was getting and I was trying to be adventurous. The meat was OK. And now I know the word ‘Charcuterie’ when I see it. Even HyVee has a charcuterie now.

    We like ‘Five Guys’; they have good burgers.
    I like Smash Burger; their SmashFries are wonderful! And the various burgers they serve are great.

    Lynde’s Restaurant in Osseo is really good. When I’m up there I make a point of stopping to eat there.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ve experienced haute cuisine exactly once. Sooke is a tiny fishing and logging community village on the southeast tip of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island. Sooke’s claim to fame is that it has a hotel and restaurant, the Harbour House, that are internationally famous. We ate their once.

    Baboons would love the place (but would choke on the prices). The hotel is surrounded by gardens and and the hotel is filled with original art. The Harbour House is famous for pioneering the movement toward fresh, local foods.

    To my shame, I can’t remember what we ate. The menu was like the one Renee describes. I do remember my fresh cut salad, half of which consisted of flowers. It was the prettiest thing I ever ate.

    How far I have fallen! Because of the difficulties of shopping, I eat simply and with the absolute minimum amount of cooking. There is a restaurant that caters food to this place (a “community” of senior citizens). They will deliver a dinner to my door, which is sure convenient. But the food? I’d describe it as not so haute. 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Your resturant on Vancouver Island reminds me of the ‘Captain Whidbey Inn’ on Whidbey Island out there… We got a gift certificate there for our wedding since we went to Seattle on our Honeymoon. (and Vancouver Island too). I don’t remember the food either. I remember the waitress spilling a glass of wine.
      And the Navy base with the fighter jets taking off every 4 minutes from the runway that must have ended at the head of our bed!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Like Linda, I have no experience with haute cuisine.

    It’s hard to beat a simple dish made with excellent ingredients. For instance, compare a BLT made in August with perfectly ripe tomatoes from the farmers market or your garden and a BLT made in January with a supermarket tomato. No comparison. The August BLT is not haute cuisine, but it’s hard to think of something better while you’re eating it. Then there’s super fresh corn on the cob…

    I also think going in the backyard and picking raspberries and popping them right in my mouth is about as good as it gets.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. Due to my job I’ve had some pretty amazing cuisine experiences. But I’m not sure the favorite things that I remember were actually haute cuisine. I remember once in a restaurant in Cancun (a sushi restaurant that my client wanted to go to); when I told the waiter that I was a vegetarian he disappeared and he brought out the chef, a little Japanese guy who clearly didn’t speak any English and I’m not even sure any Spanish. He and the waiter went back and forth, asking me if I liked this or that and I ended up with the most amazing huge basket of vegetarian sushi, It was wonderful. My all-time favorite meal I think I’ve mentioned here before was in a winery outside of Rome. Massive amounts of food, veggies ,fresh cooked and the most amazing tiramisu I have ever eaten.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The best food I’ve eaten was the fare served at a B&B near Park Falls, Wisconsin. That would have been about 1990. Paul and Barb ran this remarkable B&B called the Jagerhutte. Barb was born in southern Germany. I worried about the meals before we got there, as German cuisine is one of my least favorites. Boy, was that stupid. Barb was a sensational cook who drew heavily on produce and herbs from her own garden, and I never had a weekend of similarly excellent food.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Perhaps better known as Rijstaffel. An elaborate Indonesian meal.

        Two of my friends from high school married two brothers, Ruud and Riem originally from Indonesia. We met them on one of our summer bike trips staying in youth hostels along the way. Ruud and Riem were known as The Blue Diamonds, and for a short while had much success in Europe. I can’t attest to what happened to them or their marriages later as I departed and we didn’t keep in touch.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. This is really weird. Let’s try it again.

          In case this turn out to be the same as above, I give up.


  9. I have a sense that for a lot of people the term “haute cuisine” has a negative slant: pretentious, over-priced food, usually in tiny portions. Guess that’s not how I think of it. To me “haute cuisine” denotes fresh, top quality ingredients prepared and served with great care, a certain amount of expertise, and attention to detail. It can be expensive, but not necessarily so, and the satisfaction is in the flavor and not the quantity of the serving.

    Using my definition of the term, I’ve had quite a few such meals. A few in restaurants, but mostly in private homes. I’m very lucky to know some extraordinary cooks.

    My favorite Twin Cities restaurant meals were at the now defunct La Belle Vie and Ristorante Luci. Strangely enough, Hans enjoyed the La Belle vie experience, but the charm of Ristorante Luci was completely lost on him. (At the time, La Belle Vie was located in Stillwater. We never went there after it moved to the 510 Groveland location.) I had lunch once at the 510 Groveland restaurant (not La Belle Vie) and was not impressed: xpensive, pretentious and not particularly inspired food.

    I’ve mentioned in past posts that my friend Anne, who now lives in Bellingham, but for years lived in Northfield, is a French trained chef. Eating at her house is, and has always been, a culinary experience.

    Another friend, Tuula, is a Finn, who lived many years in France. Her meals are always exquisitely simple, elegant, and so tasty.

    I agree with ljb that it’s hard to beat a BLT made with a fresh tomato straight from the garden and preferably with bacon from a local farm.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. PJ’s comment led me to look up “haute cuisine” in my little compact dictionary – “the elaborate preparation of fine food; also the food so prepared.” By that definition, I’ve eaten haute several times, but not probably since being wined and dined in France 3 years ago. I consider simple food to be elegant at times, and usually opt for a casual atmosphere – I hate not knowing what all the silverware might be for.

    Liked by 4 people

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