Recently I was invited by the kind folks at Himmel Hospitality Group to join them for a "Farm-to-Post" dinner at Post 390. For the last several months the team has been hosting dinners that showcase the produce or proteins from one of their partner farms and the evening I joined they were highlighting Sparrow Arc Farm in Unity, ME.
I had been to Post 390 before and had a wonderful experience. Their dining room and bar area is so cozy, the service is excellent and the food is always outrageously delicious.
The night I arrived for the Farm-to-Post dinner I checked in with the hostess and she lead me upstairs to the private dining room on the second floor. We would all be dining at one long table (I love family-style dining!) and right away I noticed the stunning arrangements running down the center of the table.
Each arrangement was a creative and beautiful mix of vegetables and flowers. As you can see here the near arrangement includes potatoes and the back arrangement is coming out of a squash.
These next two arrangements were some of my favorites. I want to try and recreate these ideas for my family's Thanksgiving table!
All of the floral arrangements were so beautiful I had to ask who created them. They came from Leonhards Flower Shop in Beverly, MA.
After I finished gawking at all the incredible flowers, I claimed a seat at the table. Each place setting had the menu for the evening placed right over the napkin.
We had a bit of a happy hour before the meal began and were treating to a specialty cocktail called the Provencal Gimlet. It was fennel infused liquor, basil and lavender syrup, garnished with a fresh sprig of thyme.
Each time you lifted the glass toward your nose and mouth you got the most beautiful whiff of thyme. It was a really nice touch that truly made the drink. I may have had three.
The food for the evening began with passed appetizers including a chicken liver mousse with winter luxury pumpkin mustard. I was served a vegetarian version that was fantastic. The kick from the pumpkin mustard was awesome.
Post-gimlets and pumpkin crostini, we took our seats and Chris Himmel of the Himmel Hospitality Group showed us a video of his trip up to Sparrow Arc Farm with Chef Eric Brennan. They explored the entire farm with owners Mark and Heather and for five minutes we felt like we were there too.
I happened to be seated directly across from one of the farm's owners, Heather, it was so nice to see her and her husband's work celebrated in this way. Often times when you go out to eat you have no idea where the food comes from. It was such a treat to not only seeing the growing, picking and delivery process, but to meet the woman behind the goods!
For each course Chef Eric came to the head of the table and described to us what we would be eating and which ingredients came from Sparrow Arc Farm.
We started with a Kennebec new potato, Gilfeather turnip and Golden Rutabaga rosti topped with house smoked salmon, fresh chèvre and pickled vegetables. My version was sans salmon, of course.
The rosti tasted like a potato latke and it was fantastic. I loved the crisp in every bite, especially paired with the creamy chevre cheese. The cheese was whipped with garlic (yes, please!) which added another depth of flavor. The rosti was garnished with three kinds of carrots from Sparrow Arc Farm. Come Hannukah time I may serve my potato latkes with chevre instead of sour cream. So good!
The next course was a Pennsylvania Dutch crookneck squash bisque with Brambly Farm eggnog custard. Yes people, you read that correctly, eggnog custard.
The green garnish atop the custard is fried sage. The soup was rich and buttery. The eggnog custard was silky smooth and made with Meyer rum! I would never have though to put the squash and eggnog flavors together, but it was perfect harmony.
Our third course was grilled veal sweetbreads and Dahlia root "Oppan Gangham Style." Chef Eric explained that his staff wanted to name this Asian style dish after the current, hot Korean dance craze!
My dish did not have the sweetbreads, but I still got to enjoy the slaw style dish. As a whole, the dish had amazing texture and depth of flavor. There was a definite spicy kick in there that I was loving.
At this point, I wasn't sure if I could keep eating. Let's be honest, I'd already consumed quite a bit of decadent food, but Chef Eric kept the plates coming so, when in Rome!
For the meat eaters the final savory course was coffee and cherry rubbed venison, gratin of Waldoboro greenneck turnip, foraged mushrooms, winter kale, black currant and game jus.
My version of the dish was basically the same, minus the venison of course. The turnip gratin was so rich and creamy! I loved the mushrooms and the kale as accents. I have really been on a kale kick for the last year or so.
At last, with our pants about to bust at the seams, we accepted the delivery of Musque de Provence pumpkin cake. This cake looked like and tasted very similar to carrot cake. It came with a side of dark chocolate ganache that was that extra cherry on the sundae with every bite.
Post 390's Farm-to-Post dinner was a beautiful, elegant, decadent ode to the specialties of Sparrow Arc Farm. It was so special to watch the video of the farm's day-to-day operations, meet co-owner Heather, share a meal with the wonderful team at Himmel Hospitality Group and of course, dine on Chef Eric's truly outstanding six course meal.
Thank you to Chris Himmel, Paul Dias, Chef Eric Brennan and Maura Graham for having for me. An extra special thank you to Chef Eric who made every single dish in a vegetarian version so that I could enjoy it.
The next Farm-to-Post dinner is this Wednesday November 14th, I look forward to sharing the next feast with you!