If anyone is planning to attend an Outstanding in the Field event this year, it would be a good idea to bring a sandwich and a bottle of wine just in case your experience is like ours. We were looking forward to a delightful evening of local produce and other fresh food, accompanied by wine pairings--this was how previous dinners had been described on the website and here on Chowhound--and I am sure that past dinners have been excellent. We left disappointed and hungry.
Here's what we got for $200 per person:
A beautiful setting--a vineyard on a hill.
On arrival at 4 p.m, 1/2 glass of a chilled, crisp Riesling. At 5 p.m., platters of sliced salami and mortadella were set out. We had one slice each of 3 meats on a paper thin cracker. We didn't take more because there were 140 people crowding around one table, and we didn't realize that this was the "first course".
We then had a nice presentation from the rancher, who led all of us to see his pigs. He didn't talk about the pigs once we got there, but we all looked at them.
We sat down for dinner and after 1/2 hour we were served (family style for each eight diners, so we had to politely share and not be greedy or someone else wouldn't get anything-- I'm describing one portion):
(2nd course) A delicious crostini: fava beans, pea sprouts on a 1/2 slice of bread. Enough salad greens for us to get about 8 small leaves per person. Accompanied by 1/2 glass of lovely Chardonnay.
(3rd course) A nicely grilled portion of lamb, about 2 ounces once trimmed of fat. No sauce, no salt or pepper available. 1/8th of a coil of lamb sausage (the coil was scored so we'd know where to cut it in the eight pieces) Served on a few veggies--my share was 2 cherry tomatoes and a spoonful of corn. Accompanied by a 1/2 glass of Pinot Noir for 6 of us--they ran out. Later, after we requested more wine, we got more Reisling.
(4th course) A berry tart served with cream chantilly. We loved the tart. Our group didn't finish all the tart we were served. When one of the staff came to take it, we said, "No, we're not done!" and she said she had to take it because others hadn't gotten any yet.
We also had bread and butter. No coffee or tea.
There were 140 diners at $200 each, and we were given tiny portions of meat, almost no vegetables, and the feeling was of scarcity, not abundance. I had thought we'd be talking about sustainable agriculture or CSAs, but there were no presentations.
Oh, they sold cookbooks.
I do not recommend!