October 1, 2016

Farm Spirit x PDX

Farm Spirit x PDX

 

Even just typing this I am in high spirits. This restaurant was without a doubt my favorite part about Portland. And is the reason I’ve risen every morning with a desire to return. Honestly this meal could serve as the singular reason for a flight back. I desperately tried to recreate one of the dishes I had there, and the pathetic attempt is below. And I think I’m okay with that. I will just forever remember it as the most enchanting, decadent, flavorful, and creative meal of my existence. It was also 15 courses, so I left feeling stuffed with food and feelings of fine fettle. Here’s how it went:

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I was astounded by how inventive each dish was. And the entire menu was vegan! What it lacked in animal products, it made up in flavor. Seriously, this place would turn any meathead into a veghead. Here are some tips for when you go.

1. You can BYOB but you shouldn’t BYOB. The flavors and inventive nature of the whole experience will be soured with bad alcohol, especially if you bring cheap wine. PLUS the wine available pairs perfectly with each dish. The wine pairing is worth it. Just do it. (I say this because I brought cheap wine and the chef offered (highly encouraged) to put it on ice, knowing that it wouldn’t be right for the food experience I was about to take on). This was perhaps some of the best advice I’ve ever heeded. Even better than when my dad suggested I never wear jeans without pockets again.

2. Prepare for the experience of a lifetime. The menu changes daily, with all ingredients coming from local farmers markets. The bread was baked earlier in the day, and the fermentation master (who we so lovingly nicknamed Scoby Doo) even created a corn beet breakfast bread to hand to attendees when the meal was finished. He was also responsible for the golden raspberry kefir, amongst other dishes – the palate cleanser between the main courses and dessert. Light, tangy, bubbly, a little sweet, capped in the most whimsical little bottle that conjures images of Alice in Wonderland. I actually think this would be the perfect metaphor for the entire experience. Eating here was like being transported to the taste bud fairytale you’ve only envisioned in your wildest of dreams. And you come out of the (food) coma wondering if it really happened because it must have been too good to be true.

 

 

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3. It’s a chance to dress up and have fun but in the most unpretentious of environments. The purpose of the intimate and small seating is so that you can actually talk to Chef Aaron directly. He is friendly and set the tone for a relaxed evening, so as just the dishes themselves were the star of the show. Jk Chef Aaron you were the real star.

4. Learn to eat mindfully before you go. This isn’t an experience you want to just have. You want to savor it. I took a class called the Psychology of Eating and Wellness in my Master’s program, and it was all about eating slowly so as to consciously know each and every sensation while eating. While at times my eyes were overcome with excitement at how gorgeous the plates were, the taste is what I will remember most. It’s really amazing the chefs were able to execute both aesthetic and flavor so precisely and perfectly, rather than having one dominate. I looked like a raging lunatic at some points but it was nice to close my eyes and feel all of the different textures in my mouth (even typing this I feel uncomfortable because it feels so intimate). Because each ingredient has a distinct purpose, each one deserves mindful dedication, in taste, texture, and flavor. Even the butter was a delicacy, made from aquafaba (the cooking liquid from chickpeas). Rather than rush through, try to stay rooted all 15 courses of moments.

5. Go with someone you very much so enjoy / love. This experience catalyzes feelings of the “so this is why I was meant to be alive” variety. LOL #wattba. I know this sounds dramatic, but I left feeling so grateful. The food combined with ambiance, aesthetic, and wine buzz plastered the goofiest smile on my face for the entire evening. It’s the perfect spot for special occasions, and it turns any occasion into a special occasion.

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