It’s nearly three years since we moved to Walla Walla. For most of those three we have attempted to participate in a Fat Duck Inn dinner; my schooling and Hubby’s long commute each day foil our last-minute attempts on the Fridays we have called to see if they could squeeze us in. We had a wonderful opportunity in a friend’s 40th birthday celebration to attend on Saturday last weekend; finally! Worth the anticipated wait in all ways. I will share with you our courses and the wine at our end of the table to pair with them. This is a BYOB, no corkage fee, establishment so we had a smattering of imported and domestic, if not local, wines spread along the table. Chef Rich Koby works closely with local sustainably managed farms, particularly Frog Hollow Farm for our dinner, and regionally available meat sources. From the Pacific Ocean through the wetter coastal areas over the Cascade Range and into the high desert plains all the way into the Rocky Mountains in Idaho provides numerous combinations of seasonal deliciousness.
Knowing my food allergies (nightshade fruits and fresh cow dairy) Chef Rich had only the dessert to adjust for me; he said I was an easy work around, which made me feel good since I have been other places and been told I am difficult to feed. (My pudgy middle doesn’t make me believe I am hard to feed.) Not only that, there wasn’t an abundance of any seasoning (ahem, salt, cough-cough) to cover the flavors of the food. It is a joy to smell and taste my food for what it is, this is how I believe we all should cook and eat.
So, you want to know what we ate? Absolutely, you need to know. There were mostly red wines at our end of the table, but an occasional white would pass by. Sometimes these pairing were only with the first or last couple of bites, but they were the best ones. For simplicity the photo captions include what was in that course. Once we were seated large bowls of crusty sour dough bread were placed on the table with bowls of dipping olive oil and herbs, but the salad course was immediately served so I didn’t focus on that much: Smoked Salmon Salad that was wonderful with both the Villa Wolf 2014 Gewürztraminer and the Vire’ Clesse’ Domaine Michel. Conversation and laughter with photos, with props and without, kept things lively. Duck pastrami was amazing with Solarices Rioja (Tempranillo) – but then, I am a bit partial. Our main course of Wagu beef short ribs were braised 48 hours at 135*F with thyme, bay leaves and a smidge of rosemary. The table knife went right through the medium rare meat and it tasted spectacular. We drank Tamarack Cellars 2007 Cabernet Franc and Kerloo Cellars special edition Carbon Leaf ‘The Boxer’ Syrah with this; both were good in different ways with the beef. Ah, dessert, you will notice the dessert photo has two desserts. I am the only person to have the sorbet, due to my dairy allergy. Everyone else had cardamom ice cream with bread pudding and it looked scrumptious! My cranberry gin and Marion berry sorbets were exquisite, the perfect finish to the textures and flavors we had meandered through. A bottle of Champagne made the rounds for small pours with dessert: Champagne Veuve Cliquot: Cuvee Brut. It was the smoothest, most subtle and delicate bubbly I have ever had. Happy 40th Birthday Tim (Enology Instructor at WWCC EV)! We are all wine industry people, there was a lot more wine than I mentioned, but this is what I chose to taste with dinner. Cheers!