Stone In Love - A Journey to Blue Hill at Stone Barns

2013.09.07_Bluehillstonebarn-0087_WEB I normally blog about other people, their love and their life. But today I thought it would be fun to celebrate with my readers about my love, well my two loves. My husband, and my love of good food. My husband, Rob, and I have been married for 13 years as of August 20th. We have been an item for 18 years! Holy crap! 18 years????? Yes, and it really does feel like yesterday for us. My couples always ask me what it's like to be together for so long. I live for this question because I'm very honest with them about it. And for the most part, I can honestly say, it's awesome. But it's only awesome if you find the right person. I always say, "Ya know, I don't believe in THE ONE. I believe it's all about finding THE ONE who's shit you can deal with. Everyone has baggage. If your partner is coming into your relationship with a large size LL Bean Boat and Tote bag, you are good to go. If your partner is coming into the relationship with big ass Louis Vuitton Trunks of luggage, you need to enter with caution!" That's my analogy anyway. Rob, he came with a small duffel bag. Me, a little therapy and I eventually downsized from a medium suitcase to a nice weekender.

Marriage is great for me. We are great together. We are even great not together. I always tell my couples, "Listen, you need to have a life together and a life apart". What I mean by this is even thought I dig my husband's buddies from his past, they are his friends. I love them but I'm not really great friends with them. And why would I be? I don't have history with them like Rob does. He doesn't see them often, but I'm all for him going away on his bromance weekend every year to golf and get stupid with them. He loves it, and that matters. I went to school in Philly. I actually went to the High School for Creative and Performing Arts. I have vastly different idea of a good time than my husband does. His idea of a house party is kegs, bad cover bands and people getting "wicked hamahed". Me? A house party to me? Pay $5 bucks at the door, walk down the basement, bumpin' house music with a kick ass DJ (what do you think the 5 bucks was for), mix in a little hip hop and old skool, have a cocktail or something else, and DANCE YOUR ASS OFF! I would NEVER think of dragging my husband to a party like that. I would end being all kinds of co-dependent and saying typcial girlie stuff like "Are you having a good time? We can leave if you want" - which of course is so not what I would mean. So sometimes we fly solo. And it's great. It makes us miss each other. It makes us miss what we have. A life that's rich. Good life, good healthy kids (minus the autism but even that's not too bad these days) We have a lot to celebrate. So this year we put the pedal to the metal and crossed off a bucket list item. We left the kids with family and took off for Tarrytown, NY to eat at Blue Hill Stone Barns.

If you haven't heard of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, you don't know what you are missing. Located in Tarrytown, NY, minutes from the Tappan Zee Bridge, Blue Hill is the most amazing restaurant EVER! Well that's my opinion anyway. My husband is chef. Not a cook, but a trained chef. So when he is blown away, you know that meal was good. Trust me, his pallet is major. But I digress.

Blue Hill is a farm-to-table restaurant located on the Stone Barns estate of the famous Rockefellers. Everything you eat there is grown, raised and picked there. You don't get a menu, you get a farm journal. Each month has a listing of that's being harvested. So when we were seated we looked up September and found a listing of all things that we were going to experience that evening. We opted for eight courses instead of twelve. Twelve courses????? We actually really wanted to do twelve but we were unable to get a table until 10pm and didn't want to be eating until 3am. Yes, 3am! We were there until 1am as it was. But it was so worth it. Some of the items harvested during September are:  Harvesting hops, tomatoes (great white, rose brandywine, black krim and mountain magic) Lima beans, Winter squash, eggplants, mokum carrots, fennel, carmen peppers, sweet potatoes, kale, lettuce, kohlrabi (all from the fields)  Bershire pigs, finn dorest lambs, freedom ranger chickens, egg from their grazing hens.  They were harvesting honey from their hives, as well as heirloom apples, milking dairy cows and about 40 other things.  I could go on and on.

I'm so bummed that I don't have photos of our meal because photography is prohibited in the restaurant. Well, flash photography is, and it's just tacky to whip out a huge camera while dining. I wanted to experience all of it and be present in the moment.  Just like those people who shoot a wedding they are attending with their phones and point and shoots.  You are never really in the moment cause you are too busy with your face plastered up against your device.  Nope, didn't want to do that.  So I just ate.  And ate and ate.  But surprisingly, I was never totally grossly filled up because the plates were small, the majority of the menu was fresh harvested veggies and we took our time.  This allowed us to savor every second of the experience.  It also allowed for Rob and I, along with our friends Debbie and Dan who came along on our journey, to have real honest to goodness meaningful conversations.  Now there's a concept!  No phones, no distractions, just adult time in an adult world.  No kids, no TV, just us and our friends.  Simple and perfect.

Now, you didn't think I was going to tell you this story without any photos did you?  Come on now.  ;-)

The next day after sleeping in (well sorta cause since having kids, late for me like.....oh.....8am?  Actually we made it to 9, which is a feet unto itself for us)  We headed back to Blue Hill to have breakfast.  Yes, breakfast!  They have a cafe there, as well as a fantastic gift shop, and a farmers market on Sundays.  So the four of us strolled the grounds with our map, provided by the information desk.  We checked out as much as we could after enjoying our full meal from the cafe.  The weather was perfect and I shot as much as I could before packing up the car and heading back to reality.

My goal this year for 2014 is to photograph a wedding at Blue Hill at Stone Barns.  I wonder if that will happen?????

Time will tell.

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See this photo above?  Check out the title of the recipe.  Yes, that's my Rob.  We found the cookbook, Lucques Sunday Suppers, written by his mentor, Suzanne Goin. Rob was the Chef De Cuisine at Lucques in LA.  We found the book in the gift shop and the photo above is the hilarious story of how Rob overestimated the ingredients and there was enough coleslaw for weeks. He has a few recipes in there actually.  You should pick up a copy!  Seriously.