Friday, May 8, 2009

Up close and personal, part two.

During our visit to Stone Barns, Cristin and I managed to cover a lot of ground. Walking to and fro across a hilly farm helps you work up an appetite, so after a visit to the lambs, ducks, geese, pigs and greenhouses, we headed to the (very, very crowded) cafe for some lunch.

After a good fifteen minutes in line (which gave us lots of time to browse the preserves, baked goods and for me to pick out my new, giant coffee mug), we made it up to the counter. We ordered salads (parsnip and beet), sandwiches (beet and bologna) and dessert (macarons) and headed for a picnic table outside.

We settled down in the shade to enjoy our booty. For me, an open-faced sandwich made with house-made bologna, pickled vegetables, and a generous slice of house-baked focaccia. The bread was spread with a rich, grainy mustard, which, together with the pickled cauliflower and carrots, contrasted gorgeously with the rich, meaty meat and the buttery bread.

On the side, I had a little of the beet salad (dressed with dill), and we both tried the cold curried parsnips - Cristin liked those more than I did, but I have to admit they were really, really interesting. Sweet and cool, but not crunchy - toothy, you might call them.

Cristin's sandwich was a winner - the same focaccia, topped with creamy goat cheese, thinly sliced beets, sauteed ramps, and a lemon vinaigrette. Stinky and pungent, thanks to the ramps, and sweet and cool, thanks to the beets. All in all, a major, major win.

For dessert, we each tried two macarons: one raspberry with chocolate filling, and one parsnip. The raspberry was a bit too sweet for either of us, and the parsnip was just kind of...there. The macarons themselves were really well done, with the perfect chewy-crunchy texture, and a beautiful sheen on them. Maybe I've just been too spoiled by Bouchon's masterpieces?

All in all, a pretty fantastic lunch. And my new coffee mug? It holds the equivalent of two normal cups of coffee, which of course means I love it. All hail the gods of caffeine!

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