On an absolutely beautiful early summer day, we hopped on a train from Grand Central and headed thirty miles north of Manhattan to the bucolic Stone Barns Center in New York. Blue Hill is a restaurant located on Stone Barns, their sister farm. We spent the afternoon nibbling on bites from the farmer’s market and the cafe and touring the grounds, with all the sheep, pigs, and chickens. And then we returned at night to dine at Blue Hill.
This was my second time experiencing Blue Hill at Stone Barns (see last year’s visit here), but it was still full of new surprises and exciting experiences, and we still have to go again to experience the farm in the fall. See our visit below– farm to table at its best!
There was a small farmer’s market in the side garden as we arrived. This cookie-scone was super delicious!
Everything about this farm is both functional and beautiful. And the skies were gorgeous on our farm tour.
Pigs, Rhode Island Red laying hens.
The hen huts are like luxury chicken hotels!
But the animals most enjoying their free ride are the Toulouse geese. Inspired by a Spanish farmer who produces foie gras without force feeding– just by nourishing the geese with a natural buffet– Dan Barber wanted to implement that method with their own geese. But several years in to the experiment, the geese have yet to produce any foie. They are just enjoying their luxury accommodations without any of the down side.
A mix of new turkeys, chicks, and goslings (baby geese)!
And in the greenhouse, some specialty greens like these purple peas.
Between our 2pm farm tour and our 9:30pm dinner, we headed into Tarrytown for a snack and some views by the Hudson.
And then we all changed from our farm clothes into our dinner outfits. We clean up nicely!
Slightly blurry photo by the valet.
Blue Hill offers one tasting menu that changes seasonally. The symbiotic relationship between the restaurant and the farm is clearly visible with every dish.
Very few of the dishes were familiar from our springtime visit last year, but this was one of them: a variety of garden veggies, raw and pickled.
Peony centerpiece! And the season’s first tomatoes presented on a little cake stand.
Loved the presentation of the second image below: slate platters that joined together all around the table to create one large circle with our whole group. So cool!
And then we went on a mini excursion as our whole table moved into the private dining room to the side. Chef Nick (usually the expediter) did a tableside presentation for us, putting together this awesome dish inspired by their chickens. It comprises everything the chicken eats, plus the perfect farm egg. Fresh as can be!
Finally, the last two dishes before dessert… with the tastiest pork I’ve ever eaten. But first, our host Patrick showed us this bug-eaten leafy green to demonstrate that just because an insect has nibbled on it doesn’t mean it’s not delicious (and it’s true, it was delicious).
Second-best presentation of the night: The placed a couple stacks of these clear hexagon dishes in the center of the table, and then rapidly expanded them out in this beehive-configuration. Settlers of Catan! And the very last dish, an eclectic collection of little desserts. Yum yum yum.
Thanks to Jesse for organizing and to Jen, Claudine, Christine, Jon, Denise, and Clarence for being the best dining companions! What an idyllic indulgence.
Anna is a wedding and portrait photographer based in San Francisco, but often in New York City and all over the world. Follow her on facebook or subscribe to her blog for the latest on her food, photography, and travel adventures.