Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hank Shaw Dinner and a Diagram


When I saw that Hank Shaw was coming into town I could barely contain my excitement. Then I saw that it was happening at a time we couldn't make it. Then I saw that he was also coming to Rhode Island to Farmstead and Laiterie. Afterall, a dinner made by Farmstead 's Matthew Jennings and New Rivers, Beau Vestal could not be missed. Especially if it were Hank Shaw inspired. I grabbed reservations for Dr. Foods birthday. I can't tell you how happy I am that I did.

I need to tell you that it is my policy that when I go to dinner I don't take pictures. A) My pictures never do the food justice and I don't wanna hurt the chef's feelings and B) I don't want to fiddle around while my food gets cold and I am not just enjoying it in the moment. Ok, so I am lazy. You have stuck with me this far. No use turning back now. So, I will describe the course and then draw you a picture. Ok?

So, let me paint the first picture for you. We get to Farmstead and walk into the room. Right off I see Hank Shaw. I also see a table of wild mushrooms. Before I know it I am eating appetizers that thrill me and sipping on Elderberry Spritzer. This is what the stuff looked like:


Amazing. I have to say that my favorite was the waffle with the mushroom. Wait, I also loved the clam. The spritzer tasted fantastic. We continued to learn about the mushrooms and schmooze. Hank signed books (which Dr. Food told me to bring mine and I didn't and I should have) and chatted with all of us.

Time for dinner!


First course was "Pasture and Knoll". It was Connecticut Pheasant Terrine and Rhode Island Rabbit Mousseline. It was served with spicy ale mustard, Concord grapes, and American Chestnut bread. I have to say that they were a notch above certain Charcuterie that I may have tasted in the past few weeks. No, I will not divulge any names but it may be someone that I know VERY well...


Course II was amazing as well. "Coast and Shoreline" It was Wild Spiced Swordfish Belly with rosehip puree, smoked ham and Sea lettuce dashi, and periwinkles and sea beans.

I don't know how to say this so you can see me swoon. The periwinkles were something new to me and now they go on my list of new obsessions. Right up there with the Geoduck. They look like snail but taste like clam. They were hard to pick out of the shell but I would have smashed that shell to get to the morsel. Oh wait, I did. I wanted to steal the little fork thingys that were given to get the perwinkle out of the shell. It was a silver pig pick. No, picture and I couldn't draw it but WAIT! I stole a shell to show you. See what I risk to share with you all? I could have gotten in trouble from Hank or the chefs for this.


Ooops, a little blurry. Ok shut up. It was a wine pairing and I may have had some wine. This shell is now proudly displayed in my kitchen next to Goober and Gretchen.


Main Course. Woodlands and Forest! Pan Roasted Guinea Hen with hen of the wood, wild rice, pickled autumn berry and ramp bulb, and egg yolk and horseradish powder. It was all so good that I am running out of adjectives.


And last but not least there was dessert "Sweet and Savory". I had the Peppergrass Ice Cream with warm, salted sassafras caramel and Biscotti. Dr. Food had the Selection of Three New England Farmhouse Cheeses with spicebush berry and candied nuts. I might have stolen most of the spicebush berry from him because it was one of the most unusual but pleasant tastes. It was new to me. Obsession #2 of the dinner. Uh oh. If you see someone in your backyard looking through your weeds, just ignore the short woman rooting around. She is harmless.


  1. Nicely done, Janis! I completely agree about photos at dinner. I think all sites should just use drawings like these!

  2. Ok, so I thought that was a picture of an olive. It's a shell, huh?  

    Like David, I'm so glad you drew us your dinner instead of taking pictures. While I would have loved to have seen all those dishes, especially since I have no idea what half the stuff is, this was way more fun. What is peppergrass? and spicebush?

  3. Heh. I was one of the ones taking photos, but your sketches may have come out better. I will let you know when I am going spice bush hunting because I have a list of things I want to do with them now. All in all an amazing dinner. The chefs did an amazing job, and Hank did a great job of making sure he chatted with everyone there.

  4. Um, not sure what Peppergrass was other than tasty. Spicebush berry was a peppery tasting berry. Yum!

  5. It was great seeing you there.

  6. Holy Foraging Goodness. I love this post.

  7. I want to try them in tons of things. Especially bitters.

  8. Sketches = totally awesome post.