|Samish Bay Smoked Mussel|
|Crispy Crepe with Char Roe|
The 1st two bites had the whole room humming. Things moved along pretty quickly but with plenty of time to savour the aromas, appearance and taste of each dish.
|Crispy kale with Black Truffles|
Next up was my favourite of the evening; crispy halibut skin stuffed with halibut emulsion and bits of razor clams dusted with seaweed dust. This had everything going for it; incredible presentation, crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside and flavour that made you long for more.
|Crispy Halibut Skins|
|Spot Prawn poached in it's Roe|
Grilled Shitake Mushrooms
The lightly smoked oysters were so good, they delivered another order to our table. Don't they look amazing?
|Black Cod wrapped in Caraflex Cabbage|
The Black cod wasn't the most beautiful presentation of the evening but one of the tastiest. I happen to know from hanging around the smokehouse that the cod was lightly smoked and there was a sliver of very crisp cod skin along the top of the fish before it was wrapped in cabbage. My second favourite dish of the night.
|Pears Cooked in Embers|
Pears cooked in embers was the pescatarian swap for tartare of venison and wild lettuces.
I've eaten and cooked a lot of salmon and this is quite possibly the best smoked salmon I've ever eaten.
Things were starting to get a little foggy about now. We'd chosen the wine pairing option and the pours were generous. I don't know what the persimmons were in but it was refreshing and lively.
Only one other dish needed to be swapped out for our pescatarian request. It was pine mushrooms instead of pork chop in juniper with turnips buried in embers. Once again I loved the taste of the fire on the turnip and the mushrooms and juniper were earthy, deep and dark.
There was also roasted sunflower root, caramelized squid and charred radicchio, felicata squash and pine-flavoured cream, flax seed squares and bread from local grains with butter and onion drippings but my final favourite was goat's milk with grasses. The grasses were in a broth and I was actually reluctant to taste it fearing it might be a bad end to the meal but it was amazing. So bright it almost sang to me.
In all there were 11 courses and 9 snacks or surprises paired with 5 wines and 1 beer. I made a mistake and ordered a bottle of Capitello Oregon Brut before dinner and also chose the wine pairing option with dinner. I was drinking bubbly between courses instead of water and it may have had an effect on my judgement toward the end of the meal. I wasn't the last person in the dining room as I'd intended to be and I regret it immensely.
I've eaten at a couple of Michelin starred restaurants this year and some of Vancouver's best. I've had farm to table meals in Spain, Vancouver, Palm Springs and Montreal and this meal is definitely my favourite of the year.
I've booked it for same time next year.
Capitellp Methode Champenoise Oregon Brut
2013 Big Table Farm "Wirtz Vineyard" Edelzqicker, Willamette, Oregon
2011 Maison Bleue "Upland Vineyard" Grenache, Snipes Mountain, Washington
Longsdon Straffe Drieling Tripel, Hood River, Oregon
2011 Gramercy Cellars "Inifo Montoya" Tempranillo, Walla Walla, Washington
2012 Brook "Tehys" Riesling, Eola-Amith Hills, Oregon
I highly recommend Willows Inn. Book early so you can stay right on property.
Eat on friends. Cathy Moore
Eat on friends. Cathy Moore