When the chef said that the evening's 9-course, 6-wine menu had three desserts, I almost had an excitement seizure. We were – for the first time (and probably the last time) ever – at the highly praised Seattle-area restaurant, The Herbfarm, and we were determined to return only clean plates to the kitchen. With a $500+ price tag for two, we'd be stupid to handle it any other way.
Much like the reason for our long overdue, inaugural visit to the Space Needle, we figured our (finally) legal marriage was an ideal time to get our butts to Woodinville for this fabled dining experience. The only mistake was scheduling our Ultimate Honeymoon to begin the day after. Nothing like a cross-country flight not long after a 5-hour meal.
Heading out to Woodinville, we felt like we were traveling further than 30 minutes.
It's a completely different vibe out there – one where wine tasting rooms are the biggest draw. We settled into our room at the (also lauded) Willows Lodge, which is on the same property as The Herbfarm. If we were going to do this, we we were going to do it right!
Snapping pictures and unpacking, we sipped the complimentary wine offered at check in. We're trying to learn more about wine so we'll take every bit of inspiration that we can get.
We toured the area but were most excited for the star of the weekend, The Herbfarm. Let me start by saying that, from the minute you hit the property, the service is beyond anything you could possibly expect. And by "hit the property," I'm not kidding. Someone is waiting for you outside with herbal tea and an invitation to attend the pre-dinner garden tour.
We did the tour for about 40 seconds but couldn't wait to get inside to check out the restaurant. They create lots of intrigue, bustling around on the other side of the dining room door.
When we were finally escorted to our table, look at what we found. All the glasses and goblets foretold of the culinary adventure to come.
As we snapped photos and listened to them introduce the meal, I kept reminding myself to 1) not eat too much bread and 2) drink water so as not to 1) waste $500+ dollars and 2) get shit-faced from all of the wine.
Wisely, they encourage you to move around whenever you need to. After the second course – a delicious tempura of I-won't-even-tell-you-what-or-you'll-vomit and pickled veggies – we got up to watch the chefs, led by Chris Weber, working. It was a very Top Chef moment.
Every course, not to mention the carefully curated wine pairings, was a masterpiece. We gobbled down fritters, miso custard, scallops, mashed potatoes, bison, tuna and more.
This course, the fifth, was a favorite – squash, strip steak, hazelnuts, saffron sauce...
At this point in the meal, you start to go a little stir crazy. We went for a walk to check out the outdoor oven (and got locked out) and then pretended to smoke the herbs on the table. You know, normal stuff like that. We weren't in a food induced delirium at all. Nope.
Next up, we had bread (that we watched them fire moments prior) and cheese and a tiny pear salad.
Our first of the three desserts was a rhubarb and rose geranium puff along with frozen yogurt. We finished it and every other course, as hoped.
Five hours in – and two more desserts later – we were ready to call it a night.
Before going to The Herbfarm, we were worried that, in doing so, we may be creating monsters in ourselves. We didn't want to get addicted to fancy, multi-course meals.
No need to worry. Although we loved the experience, we'll never do it again. As others before us have said, you've gotta go once, but going again only ruins it. Every course, and especially the overall service, was spectacular. While we didn't love the slightly holiday-ish feel and homestead-y vibe, that's about the extent of our criticism.
After a restful night across the parking lot at Willows Lodge, it was back to Seattle to prepare for the official first leg of our Ultimate Honeymoon – the east coast and, most noteworthy, Washington DC to fight for marriage equality at the federal level.