Chef Maria Hines, owner and Executive Chef at Tilth, was a featured chef on Iron Chef and Top Chef Masters. It is always exciting to see people from Seattle on TV, but I was really intrigued by her approach to cooking. She is a proponent of eating local and organic. She is also incredibly methodical; so much so that on Iron Chef the commentators did not think she would complete all her dishes because she was so calm and collected vs. the usual chaotic atmosphere that most guest chefs inspire when on the show. She not only finished all five courses, but she won against the King of all Iron Chefs, Chef Morimoto!
I was the star struck dork that asked the waiter to meet Chef Hines. He said she is really shy and doesn't usually come out to the dining area. My mom, bless her soul, told them "but it's her BIRTHDAY"! So, Chef Hines pretty much HAD to come out then, right? And she did. She was so humble, kind and interesting. I love meeting chefs at cool restaurants--they have replaced my teeny bopper crushes in recent years. Can you see my giddy geekiness in this photo??
We decided to do family style rather than the tasting menu, which appears to be the recommended way to go. Problem with the tasting menu is that all guests have to do it, so you all get the same food and don't get to try other dishes.
They brought out these yummy spoonfuls of goodness as a gift from the kitchen to start out our meal. It was a delicious peanut ginger soup that left me wanting a whole bowl to slurp up!
Look at the colors in this salad! It featured a tangy, spicy mustard vinaigrette, rogue blue cheese and Full Circle Farm greens.
This was one of the more innovative dishes I have had the pleasure of tasting. It is the white local corn flan with nasturtium, corn kernel, and pop corn shoot. The corn custard was savory and addicting and the corn kernels were sweet to give a nice contrast.
These are the amazing duck sliders, a signature dish at Tilth. There was a lovely onion relish and homemade ketchup that made the burger really pop. The homemade potato chips were phenomenal.
The Eel River sirloin with cheesy grits--the grits were creamy and smooth and the perfect accompaniment to a delicious steak.
The Skagit River Ranch Poussin with romesco, goat horn pepper, and baby chickpeas. The skin was crispy, just the way I like it!
The sockeye salmon was wonderful--there are two dishes I don't typically order at restaurants because I think my dad makes the best versions: salmon and steak. Why pay for something you can make at home? But both the steak and the salmon were well worth the price tag!
Alright, here we go...put on your seat belts for a recap on some awesome desserts! This is the Theo Chocolate Ganache cake with a chocolate cookie, cocoa cream and sea salt. It was rich and dense--one bite packed all the flavor and chocolate of a whole 7 layer cake.
The huckleberry tart with pastry cream, butter crust and black pepper. YUM!
The peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Tilth style, with blackberry ice cream, peanut butter cookie and toffee peanuts...I think I am going to try something similar at home--it was such a comforting and nostalgic type of taste that was at the same time, truly original.
This was the highlight of the meal for me! The White Corn Creme Brulee with corn nut, maple syrup and candied bacon. It was like a sweet breakfast dessert that played into my favorite sweet-savory flavor profile I love!
As if we needed more sweet treats, they give you these delicious chocolates as a parting gift along with your bill. I happily indulged in one last bite of goodness!