To celebrate Rocky's birthday with proper pomp and circumstance, a few days after Christmas, we left Rocky's family farm in East Millers Cove and drove the five minutes to West Millers Cove. We drove past the community cemetery, the country church and a few farm houses until we hit the famed white fence of the Inn at Blackberry Farm.
I started to feel giddy. It was pitch black as we curved the bend, passing a dozen black SUVs. We registered at the front desk where we were escorted to our own luxury vehicle to make the trip back up the hill to the barn to dine. I made a few asinine comments to our driver about Vanderbilt basketball. I think I was trying to prove to our escort that we weren't just two kids that don't belong. After all, I'm sure he's driven Mark Zuckerburg a time or two so why would he care if it's just me and my farm boy?
We entered the barn into a winter wonderland. It was dark and rustic with an enormous fir tree in the middle of the room. I scanned the room searching for a Mark Zuckerburg or a Trisha Yearwood or a Mitt Romney. No dice. It was a room full of middle-aged parents who must have also left their barnacles with the grandparents.
We ordered the tasting menu and enjoyed a few items I never would have considered otherwise, things like guinea and squab. Every morsel I ate was superb, even the guinea and the squab, and the beef and the beets and the bass and the feta and the chocolate and the brussel sprouts.
If they can make amuse bouche (Guinea Croquettes in a Thyme Nest) look like this you can only imagine what the rest of the meal entailed. And you will have to imagine because I was too nervous to pull out my camera for beautiful course after beautiful course.
The evening was a divine experience from start to finish. I've had many great meals, but never in my life did the food, the ambiance and the service all exceed my expectations. Now that I've had a taste of Blackberry, I hope I can have a facial and a skeet shoot and a shut eye. While I was able to cross off Blackberry Farm from my Bucket List, I just put it back on. I'm looking for more excuses to celebrate.