I knew it was going to be a one of a kind dining experience - I mean 10,000 people don't call up a shop in the middle of nowhere Maine on April 1st for nothing right!? What I didn't realize was that my favorite part of the evening was not, in fact, the food, the ambiance, the company, the drink, but experiencing the humble, graceful, beautiful woman behind the stove that is Erin French. Kaleigh was one of the lucky ones who made it through the phone lines and snagged us a spot on the wait list for this weekend - our only weekend that we could have made it up here before she joins the U.S. Coast Guard this summer. Four days ago we got the call that our dreams were coming true!
Trying not to freak out at how beautiful the light was and the mill was and everything else.
We watched the Tastemade video the day before we arrived (you should too) and the beauty almost brought me to tears, but Erin in real life's smile sparkles just as much and her finesse and flair in the kitchen makes you feel like you are watching a performance. We were extra lucky too because her cookbook was just released and we each got a copy!
As each of the courses came out we were wowed by how she let the flavors of fresh local foods shine by seasoning with simple ingredients (mostly butter). We smiled so hard all night our cheeks hurt.
Things I learned: Radishes are delicious with butter and sea salt.
The biggest news of the night was that I ate my first EVER oyster. Yes, first in my life. And boy am I glad I waited.
The rhubarb shallot black pepper mignonette was amazing and I ate a second one for good measure.
"I've only ever seen this in movies" Exclaimed Maggie when the palate cleansing rhubarb rosé sorbet course was brought out in tiny jade chickens.
"We are celebrating tonight..." Erin toasted the forty customers before she began the dinner courses. "Spring, our cookbook and this space in this time".
"These are the first greens of the season and I pulled them out of the ground roots and all and yes, you'll have to use your knife to eat this - please don't leave a tripadvisor review and complain about roots being on your plate" - Erin
I put away my camera for the dinner course but we enjoyed a pan-seared line-caught Maine Halibut with black fried rice, mushrooms and fiddleheads. I was so full but my favorite was yet to come!
Baked vanilla pudding with rhubarb compote and whipped cream. "This is what I would want to have for dessert, so you will too" said Erin smiling when she was presenting the menu. We enjoyed the pudding immensely, and loved the super special secret blend of coffee from 44 North even more!
Here's Kaleigh trying really hard not too fangirl too much when she asked Erin for a signing of our cookbook and a photo. "Oh my gosh YES, I'm so flattered!" Erin replied, as though she was even more excited than we were!
We didn't want to leave, but we tucked the ginger cookies into our pockets for the road and headed east on 137. The moon was rising right above the road ahead of us and was bigger than we've ever seen. It was a fitting end to a magical night we will hold dear for years to come.