OKAY. I am ready to talk about the farm-to-table meal that was so good, I cried. It has only taken me seven months. But before I get there, let me start from the beginning.
After I had my birthday picnic late-April, I wanted a quiet getaway with Danny, with green, with all the flowers. I desperately wanted OUT of a city that I haven’t left in YEARS.
And so we ended up on a farm.
Glasbern Country Inn had everything I needed, and still does. The air so clean; it’s green in Spring punctuated with big-headed dandelions. These were meant for big-time wishes let me tell you. Walking trails, garden, a few ponds, cows that are free to roam around, and what I really wanted: a farm-to-table dining experience. The room? It included a fire place (which Danny and I kept lit the moment we entered the room), Jacuzzi, plush robes, a desk, a beautiful view.
We had about an hour and a half before our 7PM dinner reservation, so we decided to explore the land a bit. We went the Garden Way which is a lovely way. There were sweet bird houses lined up in a row. Happy bees at work. Danny had on the sort of bright, boyish smile he did during our first date, when there was really nothing but us.
Several times I was close to tears. Close to the pond, we stumbled upon hundreds of fallen leaves that the child in me wanted to pick up.
Every fallen leaf turned to skeletons, all completely intact. All unique. This particular spot must’ve been untouched for quite some time and all I wanted to do was collect every single one and build some sort of structure out of ‘em like I was roaming around Glasbern in the spirit of Andy Goldsworthy. It felt so good to be hands-on with earth again. This, right here, was the moment I fell into immense calm. Transitioning from city to THIS was work. I needed to let go of my to do lists, the voices of my boss(es) and co-workers and family, responsibilities—everything. It wasn’t too difficult, though. I was with my love and I knew I was “here.” More here than I’ve ever been. When we moved on, I told myself I’d return to this same spot to collect more leaves tomorrow morning. I thought they would still be here considering they had been for two seasons now. They weren’t. And this was the first lesson/reminder I got out of our time here: while there’s a spark in you–an idea–go with it NOW. Don’t wait for tomorrow. It’s a lot like putting ourselves in a cage, really. Though I’m glad Glasbern leaves theirs always open.
By the pond, Danny was photographing a hissing duck. Yes. Hissing. We couldn’t figure out why the drama, until I started photographing the surrounding area by the pond and found a lady duck seated inside this enormous tree. Hissing in the name of love. I get it.
After this walk, hunger hit us like mad and we rushed our way to the restaurant. We sat close to a fireplace. I think we both viewed the menu skeptically. He wanted a burger and there was none. In fact, there were few things to order, accompanied with big prices. But we don’t get out much so we tried our best not to care too much about what we’re spending.
We began with beer. Mine real dark and his a crisp white called Wicked Hijinx. Our waitress came out with a small white plate in which she drew an S with roasted garlic paste, then filled up the curves with a glorious olive oil that tasted both fruity and herbal. She lit up the plate with the tip of freshly cut rosemary, then sprinkled sea salt over it. This was served with soft, hot bread fresh out of the oven. Danny looked at me and said, this place is really winning me over.
And I was won.
Maybe even one.
Our salads came out first which we immediately devoured–not without discussing what was in them first. A raisin from his accidentally ended up on my heirloom beet salad w/ goat cheese and it was a spectacular moment for me. I wanted to give them a heads-up on this beautiful discovery but decided I’ll simply revise this recipe in my own kitchen and share it with you. Part of the reason it went so well together is that the beets themselves were surprisingly tart but so entirely earthy. The sweetness of the raisin brought out what was missing for me from these (still beautiful!) red and yellow beets. They tasted as if they had just been plucked from deep-bottom, scrubbed clean and cooked minutes before serving, and I appreciated that most. Danny was surprised to see me finish an entire salad for once.
I’m getting to the part were I lose my shit. For the main course, he ordered their free bird chicken breast w/ leg confi over a bed of sauted greens, red pearl onions and fingerlings. I, a grass-fed beef tenderloin with port reduction over whipped potatoes, a side of green and white asparagus, topped with swiss chard micro-greens YES.
FIRST of all, who the hell is the chef of Glasbern because this meal made me want to quit my job, move here, and cook by this being’s side.
Every bite of every thing on our plates was precious. I chewed slowly. That beef was like buttuh. The asparagus was perfectly tender with a crisp bite. And I have to say, as I was eating from my dish I did not think Danny’s chicken would be WOWing. It actually wowed me to tears. In that one bite I felt that free bird was a very happy bird…I felt it was truly taken care of because how the hell could it taste this wonderful. It was tender and juicy and contained a perfect, crisp skin around it. I became hyper-aware of the farm vs. my city. I became hyper-aware of the man sitting across from me who I have always loved eating with. I could think of no other sitting across from me at that moment, sharing this beautiful experience with. It was the first time I felt we were seriously moving towards the right direction, and for the moment, we were both okay asking ourselves if we could imagine our lives in a setting like this. We were excited at the idea that we can plan more trips, discover new places, eat more delicious things together wherever we go. I wish I could’ve lived in that moment.
Next day made me realize we’ll be eating Spring during the rest of our stay here. Breakfast included more fingerlings (I adore these babies.) And after some more exploring of the area, we came back for dinner and cared even less about money.
This time our bread came with smoked sea salt, which was nice, though I totally wish they roasted up some more garlic for us. For starters, we had a cheese plate and a beautiful bowl of pea soup. It tasted so YOUNG. So fresh. Was there mint? I’m trying to remember. Then he ordered scallops which were seared to perfection, and duck, and I, a good ol’ fashioned meat loaf with mash.
We ended that meal with cappuccinos and three scoops of their gelato. One really stood out to me..it was a Jack Daniel Dark Chocolate scoop and I almost died of happiness.
Next day we were in a mood. It was in part because we were leaving Glasbern and about to enter the hell that is Times Square, and, I think, in part because it was back to reality. Back to our jobs we kinda didn’t like. Back to working out our stuff (individually but also together), which I didn’t think needed too much work anymore but, I don’t know. I just know that this trip made me realize that when you take out all the other outside noise that leads to certain, personal anxieties, you can achieve peace with anyone, anywhere, most importantly in yourself. I left Glasbern wanting to remember this, wanting to work on this, wanting to protect my love from NOISE because that’s all it really is, a certain negative buzzing we develop in our brains due to the stress of being a social being who has to figure shit out on the daily… because, really, whatever problems we did have, we didn’t have them in each other’s company. Never when eating together. Never with our first hug and kiss after a week of not seeing each other. Never in bed or in a park or during a walk or while cooking. I am always astonished when an argument arises, because they only do when a part.
Writing this is making me remember another important lesson I got out of our trip, and I’ve a sudden urge to go back just to learn some more. I want to taste what their Autumn is like. What their winter is like. I want the warmth of the fireplace. I want this right here, right now, in NYC which will forever be my home. I want that warmth inside me, always, Lit. That’s THEE home. Sometimes I forget I have such a thing. But I do. It blazes with a love that will never, ever, leave me. It kinda looks like the flower he captured so beautifully. And it probably grows just like that. With water, with care, with time.