Meanwhile in the 17,000 square foot Antrim 1844 mansion, preparations were under way for an extensive 9-course tasting menu, complete with wine pairings, amuse bouche, intermezzo and dessert.
I was beyond excited to indulge in the Smokehouse Restaurant's brand-new executive chef, Drew Fontaine's local, seasonally-inspired interpretation on modern French American cuisine.
A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Chef Fontaine brings his sophisticated interpretation of contemporary American cuisine from the gourmet kitchens of The Ritz-Carlton and Mandarin-Oriental hotel groups, including his previous stint in Napa, which plays host to more Michelin-starred restaurants per capita and is widely known as home to world-famous, The French Laundry.
There they were, all of my favorite things on one table. Silver plate flatware for each course, crisp linens and Riedel glassware. Aren't you in love with the ambiance?
You'll be delighted by the interesting history behind the architecture of the Smokehouse. The restaurant is housed in the estate's former summer kitchen and is also where meats were smoked, cured and stored. These kitchens were used in the 18th to early-19th centuries to physically separate hot kitchen activities from the rest of the house during the warmer months.
Perhaps one of the most unique features of this restaurant is the water that trickles through the weathered brick floors when it rains. This is the overflow from the cistern (the underground tank that stores fresh rainwater). A picture doesn't do justice, you'll have to see for yourself!
For the 1st course, we started off with Agnolotti with ricotta and English pea. Wine pairing: 2012 Chateau Graville Lacoste Blanc, France. This is something I could eat all day, every day—if I'm not careful!
Ahi Tuna with watermelon, tomato consommé and cucumber. Wine pairing: NV Alain Vincey Champagne, France. I can never get enough Ahi.
Foie Gras Torchon with huckleberry tomato, brioche and strawberry. Wine pairing: NV Alain Vincey Champagne, France. You'll want more.
Mero Sea Bass with corn and black truffle. Wine pairing: 2012 The Novelist, White Meritage, Napa. Absolutely delicious.
Spinalis Doris with homemade flour tortilla, chimichurri, peach salsa and avocado. Wine pairing: 2009 Chilensis Lazuli La Esperanza, Chile, Maule Valley. It wasn't even Tuesday and this was pretty divine.
Lamb with black mission fig, garbanzo and yogurt. Wine pairing: 2009 Chilensis Lazuli La Esperanza, Chile, Maule Valley. Highly suggest enjoying a bite of the fig and lamb at the same moment. Amazing.
Strawberry Shortcake. Wine Pairing: 2015 Evolucio, Tokaji, Hungary. Absolutely scrumptious.
Wrapping up this amazingly, well-orchestrated 9-course dinner at Smokehouse, I can't reiterate enough how amazing the entire staff at Antrim 1844 is. Flawless hospitality.